Kerry GAA’s inter-county teams all resumed training this week. Peter Keane’s senior inter-county squad met up collectively for the first time since lockdown on Wednesday evening.
It has been confirmed by a source close to the Kerry camp that there will be some new additions to the panel of players. True to his word, Peter Keane has rewarded some of the players who impressed in the recent Club and County Championship action.
It will be another week before all the playing pitches at the Centre of Excellence in Currans are fully operational.
Due to a re-seeding project that began two months ago on three of the pitches, it will be next week before they are all fully in use. County Board chairman Tim Murphy has also confirmed that the use of dressing rooms has resumed in a limited form.
Causeway manager Stephen Goggin admits that getting back to the County Final was the main goal for 2020. “For sure, obviously we didn’t take any game lightly, we focused on every game, but that was the goal to get back into the County Final, which is great. Two years in a row is fantastic for our club.”
Stephen admits it was relief when the word came through that they could resume training again after lockdown.
“We were delighted to get back, to get that phone call that we were to go back training. It was great. After winning it last year, we wanted to get back into it. We felt that if the Hurling Championship wasn’t played, there’d be a year missing for us where we could achieve something special again. Once we got back training again, we tried to get as many challenge games as we could. We got a few challenge games and in the North Kerry Championship we were in a right good group, we knew we were going to get top class games against Kilmoyley and Lixnaw. Obviously, we didn’t play Ballyduff because that was doubled up with the Championship the last day. We topped the group in the North Kerry Championship and the Championship then the first day, obviously we weren’t at our best, but always in control of the game I felt. I knew we could always up our performance and the last day then we started slow, but really got into our groove and we seem to be improving as it goes along.”
A small but significant piece of history attached to this meeting as it is the biggest County Hurling Final in any grade involving a Killarney vs Tralee team since 1969.
That year saw a Killarney side featuring renowned Kerry footballers Johnny Culloty and Derry Crowley defeat Austin Stacks in the final by 2-6 to 2-5 as it also marked the last time a North Kerry team did not feature in a senior final in the Kingdom.
The roles are slightly reversed here over 50 years later, Tralee Parnells are the combination of players from neighbouring football clubs like Killarney while Crokes are the singular club side in the way Stacks were back then. There might be no trip into a Munster Junior Club Hurling Championship for the winner this year unfortunately but both will probably view a success as a potential to develop the game further in their local areas.