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‘Super League is the goal’ – Rheanne O’Shea says Paul’s are aiming high



by Adam Moynihan

National League Division 1

St Paul’s v Limerick Celtics

Saturday at 7.30pm

Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre

Word around town was that St Paul’s had assembled a squad capable of challenging for silverware but no one predicted a 40-point victory away from home in their very first game of the season.

Paul’s are back in the big leagues after a 10-year absence and last weekend’s facile win in Kilkenny against the Marble City Hawks was eye-catching to say the least. American Yuleska Ramirez Tejeda and Canadian Sofia Paska finished with 35 and 23 points respectively for the Killarney outfit as they ran out 82-42 winners. Kerry footballer Lorraine Scanlon chipped in with 11 while veteran Lynn Jones added 9.

With accomplished coach James ‘Boo Boo’ Fleming at the helm, the team are clearly aiming high. They have signed a number of players who previously lined out with St Mary’s, the Castleisland club who withdrew from the Super League last season.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser this week local player Rheanne O’Shea said the team’s primary goal is promotion to the top table.

“With the calibre of players we have, winning the league out and getting promoted to the Super League is top of our list of priorities. We have a panel of 14 with players like Lorraine Scanlon, Denise Dunlea, Aisling O’Mahony and Síofra O’Shea coming in. Leah McMahon is on board as well. All these players have experience at international and Super League level.

“This level is really step beneath what a lot of this team are used to. We should be pushing on, while also bringing some of the younger players through as well.

“The club put a lot of work in to assemble a squad and they made a big investment by bringing in two top-class foreign players. They both played in the league last year so they have great experience; Yuleska was probably the league’s best player last season with UL. She’s a guard. And Sofia is 6’5”, she played with the Celtics last season.

“They have both made a massive impression already. We have a well stacked up team.”

Next up is the visit of the Limerick Celtics, a fixture that will mark Paul’s first home game at national level in a decade. O’Shea, who missed last weekend’s match due to football commitments with Dr Crokes, says the Celtics will be a “big ask”.

“Then after a two-week break we have Portlaoise who will be one of the top tier teams this season. We’ll be hoping to build some momentum, starting with this home game on Saturday.”

After a long period with no National League basketball to enjoy, local basketball fans now have three teams to keep track of: St Paul’s in the women’s Division 1 and the Lakers and the Cougars in the men’s. O’Shea and her teammates are hoping to grow a good following, taking the lead of the Lakers who have attracted large crowds to the Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre since returning in 2017.

“The more you’re winning, the more support you’re going to get, the more people are going to come and see what the buzz is about” O’Shea said. “I think moving forward they’re going to try and get the men’s and women’s games on the same night if they can so that will be nice.

 “Hopefully we’ll draw a big crowd this coming Saturday.”



If Big Sam hates the present so much, why should we entrust him with Ireland’s future?



by Adam Moynihan

Yesterday, by complete coincidence, I consumed two pieces of media that focussed on brash, larger than life Englishmen.

The first was a Second Captains interview with football manager Sam Allardyce and the second was a 2006 Channel 4 documentary about Roy Chubby Brown, aka Britain’s rudest comedian.

For those unfamiliar with Brown’s work, “rude” is a very kind way of describing his frankly awful brand of outrageously offensive comedy. Many of his jokes cannot be repeated here but the narrator of the documentary sums him up well when he notes that, “on stage [Brown] uses themes that most other comedians discarded several decades ago”. He developed a significant following regardless, making millions of pounds off his live gigs, VHS tapes and DVDs.

I was struck by the many similarities between Allardyce and Brown, two controversial celebrities whose success has never been greeted with the acclaim they feel it deserves.

Allardyce is considered one of the leading candidates for the vacant Ireland managerial post and, when prompted by host Eoin McDevitt, he willingly threw his hat into the ring at a Second Captains live show in Dublin. The former Bolton, West Ham and England boss was initially given a warm welcome by the audience but McDevitt and co-hosts Ciarán Murphy and Ken Early subsequently pointed out that the atmosphere soured as the interview wore on.

Allardyce certainly has a tendency to rub people up the wrong way. He and Roy Chubby Brown have that in common. But that’s not where the parallels end.

Perhaps the most tangible link is both men’s aversion to foreigners. Brown frequently takes jabs at immigrants as part of his routine, while Big Sam is vociferously opposed to non-English managers and owners coming to the Premier League and, in his words, “pinching our jobs”. While Allardyce is obviously nowhere near as overtly xenophobic as Brown, that particular remark is exactly like one of Brown’s gags, albeit without the punchline.

Like Brown, Allardyce rails against modernity and refuses to accept that times change. He claims we have all been brainwashed into thinking that possession football is good in much the same way that Brown believes we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that taking the piss out of minorities is bad.

In taking that stance, they both reveal how out of touch they are with the majority of the population. (The classic Principal Skinner line “no, it’s the children who are wrong” springs to mind.) Instead of adapting their approach and moving with the times, they remain devoutly true to their methods, however outdated the rest of the world deems them to be. Emboldened by a small cult following of Little Englanders, they lack the self-awareness to realise why they are out of favour with everyone else. And they’re not for changing.

Allardyce, who lost his England job after just 67 days due to alleged professional malpractice, favours a direct style of football. There may be a time and place for such an approach but most people prefer to watch possession-based football, and most players prefer to play it. It’s not a global conspiracy to do old-style managers like Allardyce out of a job. “Tippy tappy football”, as Big Sam calls it, is popular for a reason.

In the documentary, Brown (then 61) laments the fact that he hasn’t been on TV in 18 years. The audiences at his live shows are dwindling and the money coming in isn’t covering his expenditure. But, of course, he and his material are not to blame. Society is the problem.

(The Middlesbrough native is still performing, incidentally, although earlier this year a number of his shows were cancelled. His manager accused venues of “bowing to the woke/snowflake pressure”.)

Allardyce’s best days are more than likely behind him too. His career peaked in the mid-2000s when he brought Bolton all the way to Europe. That was a fantastic achievement but in football terms it’s a lifetime ago.

As I reflected on the interview and the documentary, it occurred to me that giving the Ireland job to Sam Allardyce would, in a way, be like giving The Late Late Show job to Roy Chubby Brown. What message would that put out? What values would it promote?

More importantly, why should we entrust the future of Irish football to someone who clearly despises the modern game?

If that’s how he feels about the present, imagine how he’ll feel about whatever comes next.


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Fossa on cusp of history as club from ‘nine square miles’ eyes senior status



Kerry IFC Final

Fossa v Milltown/Castlemaine

Sunday 2.30pm

Austin Stack Park

Never before in the history of Kerry football has an Intermediate final attracted so much attention.

On Sunday, two clubs go head-to-head with a trophy and promotion on the line – but this high-profile encounter has far more riding on it than that.

In fact, the consequences of the outcome of this second-tier decider are going to be massive. If Fossa win, they will graduate to senior for the first time in their 53-year existence. It would represent a monumental achievement for the club from the small parish to the northwest of Killarney; few, if any, believed it would ever be possible given their lowly standing as recently as a few years ago.

With two generational talents at their disposal in the form of the Clifford brothers from Two Mile, they have rapidly risen through the ranks. Now they are seeking their second successive promotion following on from last year’s extra time win over Listry in the Junior Premier final.

And if the idea of Fossa going out on their own in the Kery Senior Football Championship wasn’t intriguing enough on its own, there’s more. A Fossa win would mean that East Kerry, winners of four of the last five titles, would lose their Fossa contingent for 2024. Most notable amongst that cohort are Paudie and David Clifford, unquestionably the district’s two most influential players.

There is plenty of intrigue from Milltown/Castlemaine’s perspective too. The Mid Kerry side are aiming to get back to senior level for the first time since being relegated in 2016 following defeat to Kilcummin in a playoff. They were not considered to be amongst the frontrunners for this competition before a ball was kicked, and possibly not after the group stage either, so victory this weekend would be sweet.

Of course, a Milltown/Castlemaine win would also have a huge bearing on the 2024 County Championship. Mid Kerry (runners-up in 2020, 2022 and 2023) stand to lose five starters if Milltown are promoted: Pa Wrenn, David Roche, Gavin Horan, Cillian Burke and Éanna O’Connor. Such a loss would greatly weaken their hand and widen the gap that already exists between them and the reigning champions. Add to that the fact that East Kerry will keep the Cliffords if Milltown/Castlemaine win, and the significance of this game is magnified further still.

There is so much at stake for all the invested parties in East and Mid Kerry, and there is plenty to consider for the neutral fan as well. Many would welcome the weakening of East Kerry’s squad as it would potentially lead to a more competitive County Championship. However, there is serious concern amongst Kerry supporters that the Cliffords are in need of a rest after a long couple of years with club and county. If Fossa prevail they will advance to the Munster Championship and possibly beyond if they manage to keep on winning. This would likely interfere with their star players’ off-season.

There’s no doubt that the nature of Fossa’s matches to date have whetted the appetite for this final. They were involved in exhilarating extra time victories over Castleisland and Austin Stacks in the previous rounds and more excitement of that nature would be more than welcome after a largely disappointing County Championship.

Milltown/Castlemaine also bring plenty to the table and although the momentum from their own semi-final heroics against Legion may have dwindled somewhat over the many weeks between then and now, they can certainly take heart from that result against one of the pre-tournament favourites.

It’s all set up to be a fascinating match-up and a large crowd is expected in Tralee for this one.

The match will also be streamed live by Clubber.

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