Top plays bottom as Kerry welcome league leaders Galway to Tralee
LOI First Division
Kerry FC v Galway United
Tonight at 7.45pm
A formidable task awaits league newcomers Kerry FC tonight (Friday) as they welcome top-of-the-table Galway United to Tralee.
Galway have been on a rampage since the start of the season, winning all nine of their games while scoring 29 goals and conceding just three in the process.
Their biggest victory so far came against Kerry in the reverse fixture when John Caulfield’s side racked up a record-breaking nine goals, with the men from the Kingdom only managing one in reply.
Kerry will need to keep a close eye on Ed McCarthy; the former Treaty player bagged a first-half hat-trick in that 9-1 drubbing.
The match will be shown live on LOI TV.
Billy Dennehy’s charges are still looking for that elusive first win but they can take heart from last weekend’s narrow 1-0 defeat to second place Waterford. The visitors showed resilience at the Waterford Regional Sports Centre as their hosts created a string of first-half chances, but they were eventually undone by a Ronan Coughlan goal in the 70th minute.
This result means that the Tralee-based club drew one and lost eight of their first round of fixtures. They will be hoping for a better return from the second round, which gets underway tonight against Galway.
Despite the scoreline in the previous encounter, the match is expected to be a sell-out or very close to one.
Kerry’s average attendance in the first round was 1,194 - the fifth highest average in the division after Waterford (2,238), Galway (2,064), Finn Harps (1,575) and Cobh Ramblers (1,394).
The official capacity at Mounthawk Park is 1,200.
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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