The key dates for Kerry as they plot another All-Ireland charge
All-Ireland champions Kerry get their title defence up and running next Saturday, April 22 with a Munster semi-final at home to Tipperary. Throw-in at the Fitzgerald Stadium is at 4pm.
Victory would tee up a Munster final against Clare or Limerick on Sunday, May 7 with the decider expected to take place in Limerick regardless of the opposition.
Kerry have an alternating home and away arrangement with Limerick that includes Munster finals. Last year Kerry hosted the Treaty in Killarney.
Kerry and Clare also have an alternating home and away arrangement but this excludes Munster finals. The last two Munster finals between Kerry and Clare (1992 and 1997) took place at the Gaelic Grounds.
The Munster Championship itself remains unchanged in 2023 but the revamped Sam Maguire/Tailteann Cup structure means that things are a little more complicated thereafter. This year, for the first time ever, league standings will play a role in the championship.
The new format will see 16 counties competing for the Sam Maguire Cup while the remaining teams will take part in the Tailteann Cup.
The eight provincial finalists will advance to the All-Ireland round robin series (four groups of four) where they will be joined by last year’s Tailteann Cup winners Westmeath and the next seven highest ranked teams in this year’s National League. (If Westmeath reach the Leinster final, it will be the next eight highest ranked teams.)
This means that even if Kerry are defeated by Tipperary in next week’s Munster semi-final, they are still guaranteed a spot in the last 16 thanks to their fifth-place finish in Division 1. In this event, they can be drawn in any of the four groups.
The draw for the round robin series will take place on Tuesday, May 2 - before the provincial finals are played.
If Kerry reach the Munster final and lose, they will qualify for the round robin series as a provincial runner-up (second seed). They can be drawn in any group not containing the Munster champions.
If Kerry win Munster, they will advance to the round robin series as first seed. They will be joined in a group of four by a runner-up from another province and two other teams who will qualify via their league placing (or Westmeath).
If they are a top seed, Kerry’s first match will be at home to the third seed on May 20/21; their second match will be away to the fourth seed on June 3/4; and their third match will be against the group’s provincial runner-up at a neutral venue on June 17/18.
The top team in each group advances to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Second and third in each group advance to the preliminary quarter-finals on June 24/25 with the second place teams getting home advantage. The fourth-place team in each group is eliminated.
The All-Ireland quarter-finals will be staged on July 1/2.
The All-Ireland semi-finals will be staged on July 15/16. If the provincial champions qualify for the semi-finals then Munster will play Connacht and Leinster will play Ulster.
The All-Ireland final is fixed for Sunday, July 30.
April 22 Munster Semi-Final
May 7 Munster Final
May 20-June 18 All-Ireland Round Robin Series
June 24/25 All-Ireland Preliminary Quarter-Finals
July 1/2 All-Ireland Quarter-Finals
July 15/16 All-Ireland Semi-Finals
July 30 All-Ireland Final
Killarney man Maye pockets national pool title
Local lad Matthew Maye was the standout Kerry performer at the recent All-Ireland Pool Championships, which were staged at the INEC in Killarney.
Maye navigated a competitive field at the U23 grade to reach the final, but his All-Ireland hopes appeared to be slipping away when he trailed European finalist Aaron Doherty of Cork by two frames to six. The Killarney player battled back impressively, however, and he eventually prevailed 7-6 to clinch the title.
Matthew is still only 21 years of age and last year he won the All-Ireland Junior Championship. Following his latest victory he has now shown himself to be one of the top players in the country for his age.
Another Kerry Pool Association representative, Darragh Breen, had a great run by making it to both the All-Ireland Junior final and the U18 Singles final. With 410 competitors in the junior section, reaching the final was an outstanding achievement. Darragh has put in a huge amount of time and dedication to the game in the last couple of years and he is now reaping the reward of that work.
Over 800 participants from 27 counties took part in this year’s championships. Kerry had 36 players in total – more than they ever had before – with one team in the intermediate section and two teams in the junior section.
Kerry also had two Over 50 teams and an U23 side.
Cup glory on the double for Killarney Celtic
There was cause for celebration on the double for Killarney Celtic last Sunday as both their youths and senior teams captured silverware in Tralee.
The youths enjoyed a comprehensive victory over Killorglin in the Premier A league final with Eoghan Crowley (two), Dara O’Shea, Jason O’Sullivan and Cathal Kelly all finding the target in a 5-1 win at Mounthawk Park.
A little later at the same ground, the club’s senior team had a resounding win against Tralee Dynamos in the final of the League Cup. A 21st-minute rocket from the boot of Wayne Sparling sent Celtic on their way and further strikes by Witness Odirile and Cathal O’Shea (penalty) helped secure a 3-0 win. Veteran captain John McDonagh accepted the trophy on behalf of his teammates.
Celtic can now look forward to their Greyhound Bar KO Cup final on Sunday. They will take on the same team at the same venue at 6pm.
Their attention will then turn to a mouthwatering Premier A league final against crosstown rivals Killarney Athletic. That match has been fixed for Friday, June 2 at 7.30pm.
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