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Templenoe to test Crokes in last eight

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Former Dr Crokes and Kerry goalkeeper Eamonn Fitzgerald previews all four of this weekend’s Kerry SFC quarter-final ties.

“It will be great weekend of football and some close ties. Some games may go to extra-time and shudder the thought that any game will be decided on a penalty shoot-out, the last resort. There must be a final result to each game on the day. Which team has been practising penalties?”

That was the final paragraph in last week’s preview of Round 1 of the Kerry SFC. That was the fate of Spa on Saturday last. Legion beat their local rivals 5-4 on penalties after a very well contested local derby.

Champions East Kerry’s bid for their third title in a row came unstuck in Tralee as Stacks prevailed in a very low scoring affair (1-7 to 1-5). That scoreline would indicate a very close affair. It was, for a brief few moments near the end. But East Kerry were never in this game. A late 1-1 flattered them in a match that Stacks dominated from start to finish.

Elsewhere, a winning scoreline of 0-13 to 1-3 appears one-sided, but it took Crokes a long time to assert superiority. They won well without playing well against a very limited opposition in West Kerry. Crokes are building a new team giving senior championship debuts to Mark Cooper, David Naughton and Evan Looney. They were in from the start and can be well satisfied with their debuts.

QUARTER-FINALS

So, what of the next round? With just a week since they last played, the team managers will be hoping that any injuries sustained will be cleared up for this weekend’s fixtures.

Legion v St Brendan’s (Sat 7pm, Austin Stack Park)

This is a tough one for the Legion, a club team meeting a district board team. St Brendan’s did well to get over the fancied Kenmare Shamrocks in Round 1.

Dominance at midfield will be crucial in this game, where the Kerry and Na Gaeil stars Diarmuid O’Connor and Jack Barry will be expected to exert superiority. Which big men will Legion play there to avert that dominance?

If Legion do well here, they will expect Conor Keane, James O’Donoghue and Jamie O’Sullivan to tack on those winning scores. O’Donoghue went off injured so Legion will be hoping he has recovered. They will also look to Jonathan Lyne, Brian Kelly, Billy McGuire, Rob Leen, Chris Davies and Darragh Lyne to stifle St Brendan’s.

Dingle v Kerins O’Rahillys (Sat 5pm, Austin Stack Park)

This looks to have the makings of the best of the weekend’s matches. Both teams came through the last round in style.

Former Kerry star Tommy Walsh was excellent against St Kieran’s, winning so much possession and scoring six points in total. Was his retirement from intercounty football premature?

Dingle impressed me in Tralee. Powered by no fewer than five Geaneys - they aren’t all brothers - they had a right battle with Mid Kerry, the beaten finalists from last year. Right corner forward Conor Geaney scored the match-winning goal in the very last minute when extra time seemed certain. One must allow for the bad weather, but even so a final tally of 1-7 to 0-8 was a disappointing score. Mid Kerry missed two great goal opportunities. After 20 minutes, Cathal Moriarty’s penalty shot hit the woodwork and went over for a point instead of the expected goal.

Later, Seán O’Brien was clear through on his own, but a superb save by Gavin Curran denied him the goal they needed. Conor Geaney’s superb finish was the difference. Kerry colleagues Tom O’Sullivan and Paul Geaney set up this winning score. The latter sent in a speculative shot that was misjudged by the Mid Kerry rearguard and Conor fetched a great ball before using the ciotóg to crash the ball low past Seán Coffey. The injured Gavan O’Grady did not start for Mid Kerry and his scoring potential was missed. After the Geaney goal he pointed a free.

Templenoe v Dr Crokes (Sunday 12.45pm, Fitzgerald Stadium)

Templenoe are backboned by their four Kerry senior players and when these two teams met in the Club Championship, Templenoe shocked the Crokes with a five-point win. Two early Templenoe goals rocked the Crokes that day and they were chasing the game (unsuccessfully) thereafter.

Templenoe learned nothing against a woefully weak Shannon Rangers team and will be without Killian Spillane this season. That will blunt their scoring power, but it will take a step-up in performance by Crokes to overturn the result of their last encounter in Templenoe.

It will be interesting to see if Crokes will take Gavin White out of his customary centre back position to partner Johnny Buckley at midfield, releasing the towering Mark O’Shea to number 14 where he would be expected to revel in high fielding.

Austin Stacks v South Kerry (Sunday 2.45pm, Fitzgerald Stadium)

Stacks are the bookies favourites not alone to win this game but also to do the Club and County Championship double. They have a very good, disciplined defence, rarely committing fouls, and hey break at speed. Even their full back line add on the points. Their midfield is strong, but the forwards are wasteful. Still, they will have enough to outscore South Kerry.

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Lakers add Boahen as Miller returns to Canada

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Scotts Lakers (St Paul’s) have replaced one Canadian with another this week as Division 1 graduate Godwin Boahen replaces the outgoing Ben Miller.

Miller impressed despite the team’s slow start to the season and he will certainly be a loss as he returns to his native country.

However, the club have a ready replacement in former University of Illinois player Boahen. The 5’11” guard from Toronto made his debut against the Panthers last weekend as he and Miller shared minutes in a six-point defeat. Boahen scored 16 points.

“The club would like to wish Ben Miller well as he returns home to his native Canada this week,” an official Lakers statement read. “We would like to acknowledge the impact Ben had on the club through his involvement with the National League senior men’s team and his coaching of the club’s juveniles.

“We would like to thank him most sincerely for his time and effort.”

The Lakers face the Limerick Sport Eagles and the Limerick Celtics at home in December along with an away derby game against the Killarney Cougars at the end of the month.

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Relegation battle has town divided

By Sean Moriarty This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town. After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle […]

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By Sean Moriarty

This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town.

After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle that is sure to divide the town.

In sporting terms, the outcome of the big game, set for December 5, is simple enough. The winner stays in the Senior Championship next season and the losers will have to play in the Intermediate Championship.

Fans of the black and amber or the green and white face an anxious week. Winning the county title is one thing – consigning your cross town rivals to second division football in football is altogether a bigger prize.

Senior officials from both clubs are being very guarded on a potential outcome as both sides know the significance of this play off.

“It is a pity that two Killarney clubs, with a long tradition of playing football in the top tier, find themselves in the position of having to play off to avoid relegation,” Matt O’Neill, Cathaoirleach of Dr Crokes, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Both teams will fight tooth and nail to stay in the senior ranks. I am confident that on Sunday week our lads will do themselves and the club proud, as always, and give their all in the quest to keep the black and amber to the fore.”

Crokes are based off the Lewis Road with Legion a short distance away on the other side of the bypass.

“Everyone has an opinion on this,” Legion PRO, Elaine O’Donoghue, told the Killarney Advertiser. “Both sides will be nervous – may the best team win. There are a lot of questions, are the Crokes suffering after defeat to Kerins O’Rahillys [in the semi-final]? Are our lads suffering after losing to St Brendan’s for the third year in a row?”

Every football fan will be keeping a close eye on next weekend’s Intermediate County Final too which takes place on December 4.

The winners of the match between Beaufort and Tralee side Na Gael will be automatically promoted to replace the losers of the Killarney play-off in the Senior Championship next season.

Should Beaufort prevail, a (relatively) local team could replace a town team in the top flight.

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