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Tangney: If it wasn’t for the GAA community, I don’t know how I would’ve coped

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The following article was written by Joe Saunders, a Dingle native who is studying journalism at the University of Limerick.

 

In this day and age, everyone has been affected by the virus, but few more so than Fiadhna Tangney. The 20-year-old footballer from the Black Valley has seen first-hand what the virus can do, with her father Gene (56) being hospitalised for months with one of the first severe cases in Ireland last March.

A fit and healthy man who loves nothing more than being outdoors was bed-bound for three months in an induced coma in University Hospital Kerry (UHK). Thankfully, he has returned home since and is on the mend. The work done by all those who looked after him didn’t go unnoticed by Gene’s loved ones; they raised €27,000 for the hospital through the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle.

Those few months were a difficult time for the family. Fiadhna went from studying sport science at UL one week, to being in lockdown and worrying about her father, whom she couldn’t even visit, the next.

“Thinking back on it, it was a really tough time - like a nightmare,” Fiadhna says. “Sometimes I look back on it and think, ‘did that really happen?’ We couldn’t go into the hospital because of COVID so we were just having phone calls to see how he was getting on.

“There was one time where we got a call and they told us that he mightn’t make it through the night. That was the harsh reality of it.”

As Fiadhna spoke over the Zoom interview, you could feel her sense of relief that they have overcome the worst of this whole situation, and she spoke of how much of a crutch the messages of support and love she received from the football community as a whole was.

“I was getting messages from big players that I didn’t even know, it was unreal. We were all completely blown away. I was getting jerseys in the post and all, my room was like the O’Neills shop. The likes of Aishling Moloney from Tipperary and Grace Kelly from Mayo checking in to see how I was doing… It was just class.”

“Getting those messages from players that I idolised myself was something else. I used to tell Dad who was asking for him and all that and he’d be like, ‘Jeez that’s great, do they know I’m sick?’ That’s his line now these days. If it wasn’t for the GAA community, I don’t know how I would’ve coped.”

Football has been a huge part of Fiadhna’s life, lacing up her boots in the famous green and gold of Kerry from a young age. Her footballing talents were evident early on and she made her Kerry senior debut at the age of 16. Her passion for the game shone throughout the interview, and she spoke out on many important subjects surrounding the ladies’ game.

“I think that it’s time now that the GAA and the LGFA came together under one umbrella. If I’m going to training and so is my brother, at the same time in the local club, we’re both playing for two different associations and it doesn’t really make any sense at all. We’re not living in the dark ages anymore. We’re all playing the same game and putting in the same effort.”

With the turmoil of 2020, Fiadhna has decided to give the Kerry jersey up for the time being but remains open to returning in the future. Instead, she’s focusing on running her own coffee trailer business near the Gap of Dunloe for the summer, once the college semester ends.

“It’s stuff like that I have realised I’d just love to do. I want to travel around Ireland a bit too and who knows what the world will be like after I graduate next year.”

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Killarney Races celebrates 200 years

Killarney Races celebrated 200 years of racing yesterday during the opening day of AugustFest, an exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival that will run until tomorrow (Saturday) inclusive. Kerry Senior Football Captain […]

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Killarney Races celebrated 200 years of racing yesterday during the opening day of AugustFest, an exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival that will run until tomorrow (Saturday) inclusive.

Kerry Senior Football Captain Sean O’Shea, with a host of fellow teammates and back-room staff, escorted Sam Maguire to the racecourse arriving by jaunting cart to take part in the bi-centenary celebrations.

Racegoers of all ages were thrilled to get up close with the Sam Maguire Cup and our fantastic Kerry football legends.

AugustFest at Killarney Races offers patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse. A special bi-centenary admission package was available on the opening day offering patrons admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20 which went down a treat with punters. With many bringing their jerseys and cameras along to make the most of the double celebrations at the Kerry track.

The first race at Killarney Racecourse was recorded in 1822. In the early days, the meetings were supported by Lord Clanmorris and the Earl of Kenmare, the feature race being the Kenmare Stakes from 1826 to 1830. The current racing venue located at Ross Road held its first race meeting on 20 July 1936 and Ontario was the first ever winner at the track, winning the 1½ mile handicap hurdle, in the hands of jockey Willie O’ Grady.

During the August racing festival, a special commemorative marquee featuring a wonderful collection of memorabilia and photographs from the last 200 years is open to all in attendance for the duration of the festival.

“We celebrated a major milestone here at Killarney Races, two hundred years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations during AugustFest!

With two more fantastic days of racing in store and lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Patrons are advised to book online and come along early to enjoy the stunning views, facilities, delicious food, live music on the lawn and soak up the boutique festival atmosphere for which Killarney Races is famous.

Adult tickets and packages are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the punter’s pack is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options. For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Glorious weather for Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships

It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough […]

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It was a day of glorious sunshine yesterday (Sunday) as Flesk Valley Rowing Club hosted the 2022 Kerry County Coastal Rowing championships for the very first time in beautiful Castlelough Bay on Lough Lein.

Hundreds flocked to the Valley shore to see the coastal clubs of Kerry race in crews from Under 12 to Masters. As well as clubs from around the Ring of Kerry, there was a strong representation from the Killarney clubs with the Workmen, Commercials and Fossa wearing their colours with pride. The atmosphere, colour, fun and fierce competition produced a spectacular day that will live long in the memory.

The event was opened by the Councillor John O’Donoghue, vice chair of the Killarney Municipal District who congratulated Flesk Valley on their centenary, which occurred during 1920, and wished all of the clubs a successful day’s racing.

The first race was preceded by a special blessing of the boats by Fr Eugene McGillycuddy, who also remembered Brendan Teahan of Cromane Rowing Club in his prayers.

Afterwards John Fleming, chair of Flesk Valley, expressed his immense pride and satisfaction with the success of the regatta.

“It’s our first time ever hosting a regatta, but we wanted to do something special to mark our 102 years in existence,” he said.

“It was a lot of work, but we have a fantastic hard-working committee in Flesk Valley who really pulled out all the stops to make it happen, and we received fantastic support from our members, parents, other clubs and local businesses.”

John also thanked the Kerry Coastal Rowing Association, in particular Mary B Teahan and Andrew Wharton, and the staff of the Killarney National Park for all their support and encouragement in hosting this event.

This was a qualifying event and the Kerry clubs will be heading to Wexford next weekend to complete for honours at the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships.

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