Kerry's Eye Sports

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KERRY'S EYE THIS WEEK - Published Thursday 29th January, 2015


Jim O Gorman

Sports Editor


Kerry's Eye Sports Supplement



Sugrue takes South Kerry reins








As the search for success in 2015 begins in earnest with the news of the various County League and Club Championship draws this week, the managerial merry-go-round continues apace.

Former Kerry senior trainer John Sugrue has taken over as South Kerry’s senior manager for 2015. Sugrue played a huge role as a player in South Kerry’s 4 county championship wins in the previous decade, but the Renard native faces a tough rebuilding process with a panel of players who have struggled at county championship level in the past couple of seasons.

In other managerial news, it has also been confirmed that Peter Keane will stay on for a second season with Legion despite contrary reports late last week. Another South Kerry man and former All-Ireland club winning manager, James Mike O’Sullivan, has returned to manage his local club St Michael’s Foilmore after a 4-year stint in charge of John Mitchels.

Ger Dan Dennehy has taken over from James Mike as John Mitchels manager and the physical trainer for the Intermediate side will be Anthony O’Leary. In west Kerry former All-Ireland Junior club champions Castlegregory return to the Junior grade in 2015 and they have appointed current Kerry Minor selector Micheál O Sé as their new trainer.

Ardfert opt to go senior

Ardfert Football club have opted to go back into the senior ranks for the 2015 championship season. The Cathedral men won the Kerry title, beating Spa in the final, and progressed to another All-Ireland final, their third in nine years, when they narrowly got past Derry’s St Peter’s Warrenpoint who were the overall favourites for the competition.

After their All-Ireland Intermediate final victory over Eoghan Rua in 2007, Ardfert left the St Brendan’s Board to compete at senior level.

After some soul-searching inside the club once again they have decided to go it alone.

Chairman Joe Wallace explained the thinking behind that decision.

“As the rules stand we’d have to apply to Kerry County Board to remain an Intermediate club. Were we to win the Intermediate again we’d have to apply to Munster to be permitted to represent the county.

“Anyway, we feel we have some very good young players coming through and we hope with the mix of young and older players, they’ll learn a lot, playing senior sides.”

They will meet Laune Rangers at home in the first round of the Senior Club Championship.

Meanwhile, Brosna face another trip up to Ballinasloe for their All-Ireland Junior Club Championship replay against Rock St Patrick’s. The Tyrone side also started as overwhelming favourites but Brosna clawed back a three-point deficit in the final minutes and neither side could find the winner in extra time.

That game throws-in at 2.00pm on Sunday.

Tommy needs time

Former Young Player of the Year and 2009 Celtic Cross winner Tommy Walsh made his season debut in the Tralee District Final on Saturday night in Austin Stack Park. He played in midfield against Austin Stacks scoring a long range point.

But Kerry senior manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has asked for fans to be patient with Walsh who has been playing Aussie Rules for the last five years.

“Tommy is training, full steam ahead. He is settling back in and he is doing well. He is feeling his way back.

“Look, the bottom line with Tommy is  we are going to be very patient with him.  We are not expecting him to be back to where he was in 2009 by the time the second League game comes around.”

Walsh’s club colleague Micheál Quirke echoed those sentiments this week.

“Tommy has a huge amount of work to do before his kicking gets back to the high standard we saw in the All-Ireland final of 2009.

“You’ll see him jumping too early or getting trapped under the pitch of the ball until he gets his eye in. We won’t see him near his best until the back end of the League and championship beckons. Be patient with him, he’ll get there.”

Tommy’s close friend David Moran may well be given the captaincy in the absence of Kieran Donaghy who is away on club duty, for the opening match of the Allianz League this Sunday in Fitzgerald Stadium, throw-in at 2.00pm.

News of Darran O’Sullivan is less good. The Glenbeigh/Glencar flyer has been plagued with hamstring problems. He has been diagnosed with another serious tear and is not expected to take any part in the League programme.

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye

Valentia Young Islanders make club history

Eighteen months ago it was all Valentia could do to get a senior football team out on the field. Not from any lack of commitment, but only from a lack of bodies. They were a poster team for the problems of rural depopulation in Ireland.

The Islanders kept soldiering on. They lost out to St. Senans by a point in the Novice Championship. They had a tough battle to get past Clounmacon in the opening round of the Novice Shield, and then an even tougher one against Fossa. There were bonfires lit the night that they beat Ballydonoghue to claim the Novice Shield title.

Then off into Munster – some Valentia footballers could have been entitled to ask if they needed passports, such was their leap in fortune. Cratloe’s second string were easily disposed of in a great year for that club too, but Kildimo Pallaskenery were always going to be a hugely daunting proposition.

The heirs of Mick O’Connell are not easily daunted. It was a great battle, a ferocious match of skill and strength and voracious hunger, but Valentia emerged victorious on a 0-12 to 1-8 scoreline as Munster Champions.

“It’s a huge win for us,” said Valentia chairman John O’Sullivan. “Everyone knows that we were struggling for a while but this really galvanises the whole club, it brings huge confidence and is a great incentive going forward. We are all looking forward to 2015 now. I couldn’t praise Linus Burke or all the players enough, they were fantastic.”

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye

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