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KERRY'S EYE THIS WEEK - Published Thursday 28th May, 2015

 

Jim O Gorman

Sports Editor

Email: sports@kerryseye.com

Kerry's Eye Sports Supplement

SPORTS

HEADLINES

O'Donoghue Faces Race

for Fitness

Kerry Jockeys on the up

It has been a good week for a trio of jockeys who hail from the Kingdom with Bryan Cooper appending a major stable to his associations while two young riders had their first successes in their new surroundings.

Cooper, the son of the trainer Tom Cooper, has now affiliated with the strong Gordon Elliott to supplement his association with the Gigginstown Stud as retained jockey and this will help to give him a very strong hand in his challenge to earn the crown of Jockey’s Champion by the season’s end.

In the meantime, the career of Dingle’s Jack Kennedy continues to float upward after he recorded his first-ever winner under the Rules of Racing on Funny How for the Pat Flynn stable at Cork on Friday last.

Jack’s prolific record in the pony circuit meant he was obliged to move up to the big time and his debut winner came home at 33/1. He has had 11 rides in May already, so his talents are already apparent.

Meanwhile Oisín Murphy, a nephew of the legend that is Jimmy Culloty, also had a really significant winner last weekend when he guided home the winner of the German 2,000 Guineas, Karpino at the course in Cologne.

Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy has confirmed that he expects James O'Donoghue to be fit and ready for Kerry's Munster Championship opener on June 14th after heightened fears that injury would force the Legion man to miss the game.

“James should be fine, he needed this time to recover from the injury but we fully expect James to be ready in two weeks time. There are a few lads with knocks, Paul Galvin, Marc Ó Sé and Johnny Buckley are all carrying niggling injuries but none are too serious and we’re hoping to have everyone fit and raring to go for the Championship.”

The Kerry squad travel to Portugal for a training week on Monday next and Sheehy is adamant that this will be a crucial week in Kerry’s pre-championship preparations. “I obviously have only sampled these types of trips in the past three years but I have to say that they have become a crucial part of our preparations. The lads get to live like professional athletes for a week and it is also hugely important from a team-building point of view. This is a time to really get our focus right and a time to zone in on the Championship. After an extended run where the players are involved with their clubs, this will be a vital week for everyone to get together and focus on the task ahead.”

The Kerry team fly out on Monday and return on Saturday seven days ahead of their Munster Championship opener on June 14th.

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Mid Kerry game off,

Ardfert one at risk

The proposed meeting of West Kerry and Mid Kerry in the second round of the Garvey's SuperValu Kerry Senior County Football Championship in Beaufort on Friday evening next will not now take place.

The Kerry County Board issued a statement on the matter on Tuesday last as follows. “Bórd Chiarraí Thiar have informed the Runaí of the Kerry County Committee that West Kerry will not be fulfilling the Senior Football Championship Round 2 fixture against Mid Kerry that was scheduled to take place in Beaufort on Friday evening next. They have cited the non-availability of An Ghaeltacht players, who are involved in the Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta tournament in Donegal over the weekend, as the reason for this decision. Therefore, the game does not go ahead and the matter will now be referred to the CCC of the Kerry County Committee.”

The CCC have a number of options including awarding the game to Mid Kerry. There is also a serious doubt that Ardfert’s County Championship clash with Feale Rangers on Sunday in Listowel will not take place if Kerry win their Christy Ring semi-final against Kildare on Saturday. Ardfert have five players involved in the Christy Ring Cup squad.

In the event of a Kerry semi-final win, Eamonn Kelly’s side would then face a final in Croke Park on Saturday week. The Ardfert players are unlikely to be asked to play a championship football tie just six short days before such a crucial inter-county hurling final.

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Munster Hopes to Return to Winners' Enclosure

Munster will be hoping to remedy a trophy famine that has lasted for four years by defeating Glasgow Warriors at the home of Ulster Rugby, Kingspan Stadium on Saturday. The reds' last trophy win was the PRO12 title won at Thomond Park in a 19-9 win over Leinster in 2011.

On that occasion, Munster had beaten Ospreys at the semi-final stage, and having repeated this last Saturday, will hope that a similar outcome will arrive on Saturday evening in Belfast.

The Scots won the first League encounter, by 21-18 in December but in the return in Cork in February, Munster had a 22-10 victory so the sides are very evenly matched. Glasgow ended Munster’s involvement last season with a win at the semi-final stage at Scotstoun, by 16-15.

For the faithful though, it may well be the last time that Paul O’Connell graces the red jersey and it is also a farewell for JJ Hanrahan, the Currow man who is joining Northampton next season.

Win or lose, O’Connell’s departure is likely to overshadow the day as his long and fruitful career comes to an end.

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