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.”
Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s
By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]
By Sean Moriarty
Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.
Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.
The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.
Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.
His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.
“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.
Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.
The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.
“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.
The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.
The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.
“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.
The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.
Soccer coach licensed to one of the highest levels in Ireland
By Sean Moriarty A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week. Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.The UEFA B Licence is a […]
By Sean Moriarty
A Killarney soccer coach has been praised by the FAI for her contribution to soccer in the county and on the occasion of her being granted a UEFA B Licence this week.
Ramona Keogh of Mastergeeha FC has qualified for one of highest-ranking coach licences in Europe.
The UEFA B Licence is a coaching licence mandated by UEFA, the official governing body of European football. The licence is one level below the UEFA A Licence and allows holders to be head coaches of amateur clubs, youths up to age 16, and assistant coaches for professional clubs.
Ramona started her training in November 2019 and continued, when restrictions allowed, on several block weekends taking place in FAI Headquarters Dublin, Foto Island in Cork, and final assessments in NUIG in Galway.
“Ramona played a significant role in the course group, supporting the younger coaches and challenging those more experienced, ensuring that the group was dynamic, engaging, interactive and a real positive learning environment,” said the FAI’s Head of Coach Education FAI Niall O’Regan.
“Ramona has been a significant role model for not only female coaches but also males coaches in the Kerry region and has done phenomenal work in her previous club Killarney Celtic and more recently with Mastergeeha. It is so important to have such role models and the motivation Ramona has shown is infectious and many coaches will continue in the same vein.”
For Ramona, this week’s award was the culmination of months of hard work, seminars and study.
“It was really tough at the time, final assessments had been submitted, everything had then switched to Zoom and we were so eager to get it finished. Luckily enough I got to finish off a lot of the course content online and then had individual assessments with my tutor Richie Holland current Cork City Men’s Assistant Manager,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Then when we returned to outdoor sports in July we got our practical assessments finished with Galway Utd in NUIG.”
The final assessment took place at Mastergeeha FC pitch – the first time ever that a UEFA coaching assessment took place in Kerry.
“I was coaching in Mastergeeha FC in Killarney pre covid and based on logistics and other coaches’ locations in Munster on my UEFA B I was delighted to coordinate a UEFA B assessment with the FAI to be held in the Mastergeeha with the help of the committee,” she added.
“Tom O’Connor FAI Coach Educator and former Interim Republic of Ireland’s Head Coach was really impressed with the setup, the standard of really good footballers and the fantastic committee that ran it so smoothly.”
It was the first time UEFA B assessments were ever held in Kerry and the facilities, committee and the Mastergeeha U16 Boys team were outstanding that day.
She received mentoring and support from some of the biggest names in Irish soccer.
“I was delighted and honoured to receive my UEFA B Diploma Licence,” she said. “Throughout the diploma I’ve had some great tutors, mentors and some great guest speakers from Robbie Keane, Vera Pauw, Stephen Rice and Ruud Dokter FAI High Performance.
“There was a great core group of us on the course from Irish Senior International Players like Katie McCabe, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahy and I’ve made some amazing friendships with all the ladies on the course. From the start it was a group of huge experience, drive and determination was something we all had in common and it’s great to see us all complete it together.”
She could not have done it without the help of her home club.
“On a personal note, I just want to thank Mastergeeha FC for all their help and support, with special mention to all the management committee, teams and coaches. Must give a mention to Allan Moynihan, Brendan Buckley, Paul Lenihan and Ulick O’Sullivan also. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Academy training in the next two weeks,” she added.
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