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SURVEY: Costly Dublin trip turning Kerry fans off Mayo game



A survey carried out by the Killarney Advertiser has revealed that a significant portion of Kerry fans will not be attending next weekend’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo as travelling to Dublin is “too expensive”.

The majority of supporters who responded to the survey and said that they would not be going to the game cited financial reasons.

“The cost of fuel if I drive or the train [is too much],” one reader said. “The late throw-in means a hotel which is the price of my mortgage.”

Hotel prices in Dublin have extremely been high of late; the Kerry hurlers were forced to travel up and down the same day when they were unable to secure affordable accommodation for their recent Joe McDonagh Cup final in the capital.

As for followers of the football team, 86% of people who are going to the Mayo game said they would not be staying in Dublin overnight.

The timing of the match itself – 4pm on a Sunday – is also a deterrent according to those who won't be attending. “The game is on too late on Sunday,” one person claimed. “If it was Saturday evening then I definitely would have gone.”

One third of fans travelling alone say they expect to spend between €100 and €150 on the trip to Dublin, while 22% are expecting to spend less (€50-100). Others anticipate spending much more, however: 22% say the trip will come to somewhere between €151-200 and 13% believe they will part with €200-300 to attend the match. These estimates do not include any money spent on alcohol.

Naturally, those travelling with children expect to spend even more. 30% of adults heading to the match with at least one child say it will cost €100-200 and roughly a quarter plan on spending up to €300. Around one in ten fans in this category anticipate shelling out as much as €500-600.

When the Kingdom drew Mayo in the last eight, some locals were hopeful that the GAA would stage the game in nearby Limerick, possibly as a double-header with a minor match that features the same two counties. Instead, the senior match was fixed for Croke Park on Sunday next (June 26) with Galway v Armagh taking place at the same venue at 1.45pm.

When asked if they agree with the GAA’s practice of playing every All-Ireland SFC quarter-final at HQ, 80% of Kerry supporters said that they did not.

Despite the concerns expressed in our survey, the GAA announced on Tuesday that they had already sold 35,000 tickets (at a cost of €40 for the stand and €30 for the terrace) for next Sunday’s games. It is not known how many of those tickets were snapped up by Kerry fans.

Armagh – considered All-Ireland contenders for the first time in a number of years - are expected to be well represented at the famous Jones’ Road ground. Mayo’s fanatical supporters are also likely to travel in good numbers.


Rising cycling star selected for Belgium Project

By Sean Moriarty Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders […]




By Sean Moriarty

Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders with ambitions to turn professional.

Northern Ireland-based Belgian Danny Blondell is the man behind the project.

For the last 15 years Blondell selects between four and six Irish riders and sends them to Belgium where they stay with local families and contest pro and semi-pro races.

As a race commentator Blondell is well placed to decide who is deserving of inclusion in the project.

Over the first six months of the year he makes decisions while attending early season races.

Those lucky enough to get selected go to live and race in Belgium for the second six months of the year.

Bolger, from Lewis Road, was selected after winning the junior race in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in Mayo in March and the Orwell Stage Race in County Wicklow in June.

“He is delighted, it is a very big deal,” his father Paul told the Killarney Advertiser.

“He has had a very good year and the wins in Mayo and Wicklow secured the Belgium Project.”

Bolger will head to Belgium in late July and after to the Junior Tour of Ireland which takes place in County Clare between July 12 and 17.

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The flying Kerryman who never forgot where he came from



by Eamonn Fitzgerald

Tom O’Riordan RIP

Tommo (as he was affectionately known) died last week at the grand age of 84. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s for a number of years but the Ardfert native was as resilient in the face of his illness as he was when he was running.

He succeeded on many occasions in track and cross country races in Ireland and far afield, and he dealt with that health hurdle with typical stoicism, accepting the irony of his doctor’s prognosis: Parkinson’s won’t kill you but you will die from it.

I first met him in Belfield in the early seventies. While we were training hard with UCD football team he was on a training spin on the same campus.

His competitive career was over having represented Ireland in the 1964 Olympics. He didn’t make the final and he always said in later life that he was disappointed he didn’t make it because he knew he was good enough.

After those Olympics he was appointed as athletics reporter for the Independent. He also covered a lot of football matches and that’s where I got to know him. He was highly respected by players and managers. They trusted him, knowing that he wouldn’t betray confidentiality and publish half-truths or training session secrets. In particular, Mick O’Dwyer gave him carte blanche to the Kerry training sessions. He became a great friend of Páid Ó Sė, who was a regular visitor to his home in Dublin. I have no doubt that he convinced Páidí to use some of those merciless runs up hills to build stamina. Ask the Westmeath men! Tom used these quite a lot in his training for cross-country races.

Heffo didn’t give him the same open-door policy as O’Dwyer did. At Parnell Park, the Dub’s boss operated a closed-doors system for the Dublin training sessions.

Tommo first hit the headlines as a student in his native Kerry and then secured an athletic scholarship to  Idaho University. He impressed, winning races in the majority of the US states.

He was a winner in Ireland on track and cross country, breaking at least 14 Irish records.             

He was very influential as manager of the Irish  cross country team in Limerick preparing John Treacy for victory. They became great personal friends and Treacy often stayed with O’Riordan.

He was a fine journalist and stories abound of him running and double jobbing by covering the particular race for the Indo. More often than not he was writing about a race where he was the winner but he was anything but a self publicist.

He had deadlines to meet so he would create the report and then seek out the nearest telephone to file his report while still wearing his running gear. His son Ian O’Riordan is also a very fine reporter of athletics for the Irish Times.

May Tommo rest in peace.

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