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KERRY'S EYE THIS WEEK - Published Thursday 2nd April, 2015

 

Jim O Gorman

Sports Editor

Email: sports@kerryseye.com

Kerry's Eye Sports Supplement

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HEADLINES

New format for County Championship agreed

This year’s County Championship will be run under a new format after the proposals of the County Championship Review Committee, chaired by Tony O’Keeffe, were voted on at last Monday’s County Board Meeting.

The basic principle of reducing senior clubs from 11 to 8 had been agreed at the November Meeting and the method of doing so was accepted by a 45 to 27 majority after robust debate from the floor. An alternative proposal by John Mitchel’s was rejected by 54 to 18, while a proposal to allow further time for discussion by clubs was ruled out as clubs had already voted on the substantive issue in November.

The finalists in this year’s Senior Club Championship will be exempt from relegation. The nine remaining clubs will play off in groups of three, with the bottom team in each group relegated (subject to review if such a team reaches the County Final).

Winners of the Intermediate, Premier Junior, and Junior competitions will not be promoted this year.

In the Intermediate, the eight teams that lose in the opening round will be drawn against each other in a loser’s round, with four teams relegated. 32 teams will compete in the opening round of the Premier Junior, with the first round losers competing in the Junior competition (the former Novice Championship).

It should be noted that these changes apply to this year’s County  Championship only, and from 2016 on, the usual one up, one down, promotion and relegation system will apply.

Kerry ready for the Ras

The  Kerry Group Ras Mumhan International Cycle Race will get under way on the roads of Kerry on Good Friday, 3rd April and will finish on Easter Monday morning, April 6th.

The total race distance for the 4 days is close to 500km and includes 23 categorised climbs.

210 elite riders representing teams from Ireland, England, Scotland, Holland and Lithuania will face the starter. With a prize fund of over €7,500, this year sees the biggest field ever to compete in the long history of this great Race.

Stage 1 on Good Friday April is the Killorglin-Sliabh Luachra-Killorglin run starting in Killorglin at 15.30pm. Saturday’s Stage 2 is the Kenmare- Beara - Kenmare loop leaving Kenmare at 12 noon.

On Easter Sunday it’s down to Waterville for the Waterville and Coom an Easpaigh Stage. This stage has a 11.30 start. The final stage on Day 4, Easter Monday is the well known Beaufort and Killorglin Stage starting at 10.00am.

After 3 laps of the Killorglin–Beaufort-Killorglin circuit, the riders will go on to the Donal McKenna circuit for 10 laps which will take them up the famous hill in the town centre each time, a total distance of 117km.

The expected finish time of 13.00.

Mr O’Sullivan informed delegates that the Tralee stadium will be closed from the end of May  until March or April 2016 to enable a new sand-based pitch to be laid and also that the lighting would be upgraded. This will mean senior football and hurling championship games will have to be moved elsewhere this year.

Expanding on Kerry County Board’s plans, Mr O ‘Sullivan explained that the board were talking to Abbeydorney in relation to playing SHC games there and that alternative venues would not be a problem for SFC.

“At the moment the pitch at Austin Stack Park is clay based surface which is not fit for purpose and what we are going to do is replace with a sand based surface, to bring it up to the same standard as the Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney,” said the chairman.

“This will mean that we can continue with our games programme and also teams will be able to train there regardless of the weather.

“We aim to put in new floodlighting after the pitch is completed so as to enable us play night games. The total cost of the project is going to be close on €800,000 and we will put in half of that and we are hoping that the people of Tralee will row in with the rest.”

Dismissing suggestions that Killarney had been favoured for big matches Mr O’Sullivan added, “This year, we had four home NFL games and two were played in Killarney in February and two in Tralee in March. If it’s three home games, we are giving a commitment that it will be two in Tralee and one in Killarney”.

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye

Kerry County Board Chairman Patrick O’Sullivan announced a significant revamp for Austin Stack Park at Monday night’s County Board meeting.

Sheehan back for Tyrone

Bryan Sheehan, Paul Murphy and Jack Sherwood will all return to the Kerry panel for their crunch Allianz League clash with Tyrone in Omagh on Sunday.

Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy did not completely rule out the possibility of a return for Paul Galvin or Colm Cooper. “It is highly unlikely that Colm or Paul will be part of the panel” Sheehy said. “I know Paul played for Finuge last weekend and did well but we’ll sit down later this week and discuss all possibilities.

“Bryan Sheehan, Paul Murphy and Jack Sherwood are all back but we have a serious concern over Paul Geaney’s hamstring. There is still a possibility that Paul might make it but we will not know until later this week. Mikey Geaney is still out also with a disc problem in his back so we’ll look at all our options before selecting a panel for Sunday.”

The prospect of Kerry making the semi-finals of the League is a highly unlikely outcome unless Mayo and Donegal draw their game or Monaghan beat Dublin. A win for Kerry against Tyrone would see them on 8 points but with inferior points differential.

To avoid relegation the scenario for Kerry is simple. They need to avoid losing to Tyrone by anything greater than a 2 point margin.

Meanwhile Darragh O Sé returns to management as a selector Joe Kernan’s International Rules team.

Read the full story in Kerry's Eye

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