Donaghy Would Love To Play On Sunday, But Stacks Need Him Now

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Kieran Donaghy, in the aftermath of the 2014 All-Ireland Final. Photo by Dermot Crean.

IT’s hard to imagine how the next year can go better for Kieran Donaghy than 2014 did.

He starts the year, with a 4th All-Ireland medal, county and Munster medals for Stacks and the Kerry captaincy that comes with those successes.

It’s a cruel irony that the performances that won him the captaincy, will now keep him out for at least two games of the national league because of All-Ireland club commitments with the Rock.

“I’d love to be out there playing for the first day of the league, but you have to give the team that’s in the most serious stage of competition the benefit,” said Kieran Donaghy at the press conference last Friday, ahead of Sunday’s national league opener against Mayo in Killarney.

“It’s unfortunate. I’m looking at it now that I’m going to miss two league games and if fellas start well you could be fighting an uphill battle the rest of the year to get your place back in the team!” he said.

“To have the honour to lead this county for the next 12 months is quite remarkable. I tried not to think about the captaincy going into the county final because I’d have another depressing think about if we lost,” said Kieran.

“I wasn’t one of those talented fellas who was scoring 1-8 in county minor finals or anything. I was playing in a minor final when I was 17 and almost getting in the way at full-forward. So to go on and play senior football for Kerry was a huge achievement for me in my career. And obviously to go on and captain this great county is an unbelievable honour,” he said.

“I would be doing a fair bit of barking around the place anyway, so it’s not going to change me that much,” he said.

This new season has Kerry followers licking their lips at the prospect of Tommy Walsh returning to the fold after five years down Australia with the AFL.

“I’m mad about Tommy. It’s great to have him back. I’m mad about him as a fella and as a footballer, he’s a great person to have around the dressing room as well,” said Kieran.

“He’s not in it for himself, he’s in it for the team. And he’s already shown us a bit of inspiration because he could have got another contract with another team and hung out around out there making money, but he wants to come home and give it a real go. He’s shown that to us already inside in training with the way he has approached it. He’ll be a great addition to us because he can play in numerous of positions, far away from full forward!” said Kieran.

“He’s in frightening shape at the moment, but he’s not going to come in and set the world alight early on. From what I’ve seen so far it won’t take him long,” he said.

• Kerry play Mayo in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney on Sunday at 2pm.

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Mayo could be short-handed for rematch with Kingdom

by Cliona Foley

Aidan O'Shea is expected to miss the Kerry game

Aidan O’Shea is expected to miss the Kerry game

MAYO could be without a handful of first-choice starters when they face All-Ireland champions Kerry in their Allianz League opener in a fortnight.

It will be the sides’ first meeting since their epic two-game tussle in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, which climaxed in that thrilling extra-time replay in Limerick.

Mayo’s new joint-manager Pat Holmes has admitted that the Connacht champions, who suffered a shock defeat to Roscommon in the FBD League last weekend, could be missing a handful of their most experienced men for the big re-match.

“Aidan O’Shea is still a bit away and Ger Cafferkey has a back strain,” Holmes said, describing the likelihood of having either as “50-50 at this stage”.

The Westerners will definitely be without former captain Andy Moran and Alan Dillon for another month.

One good bit of news is that new captain Keith Higgins is expected to make his return next weekend, but perhaps the most galling and costly absentee will be Cillian O’Connor.

He hasn’t played with Mayo yet this year because he was college-tied with UUJ, where he is doing post-grad studies.

Stages

But the Ballintubber All Star will miss Mayo’s league opener because he was sent off in the late stages of that All-Ireland semi-final replay as his red card carries over into this season.

Losing to Roscommon in Castlebar last Sunday – the first time they’d lost a senior game to the Rossies in MacHale Park since 1986 – has created worries about Mayo’s readiness for the NFL.

Holmes, though, is determined do well in the league.

“It’s the second most important competition in the GAA calendar so of course we’ll be going out to win every game,” he said.

Elsewhere, Liam Lawlor (29), part of the Waterford football team that shocked Cork last weekend to reach the McGrath Cup final, said he is delighted to have been recalled by new manager Tom McGlinchey.

His last championship appearance for the Deise footballers was in 2009. He won a Munster hurling title a year later but was not part of either panel last year.

But, on his return, he played the key play-making role when they beat Cork last week for the first time since 1960.

“I love the county jersey and I will never turn down the opportunity. I was over the moon when Tom rang me to represent the county again,” Lawlor said.

Waterford play UCC in Saturday’s McGrath Cup final, hoping to maintain their unbeaten run ahead of their Division 4 campaign which will open against Wicklow.

Irish Independent

Eamonn Fitzmaurice brings in new faces to face Mayo in Allianz League

Kerry’s David Moran and Séamus O’Shea of Mayo will renew acquaintances on Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kerry’s David Moran and Séamus O’Shea of Mayo will renew acquaintances on Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

With players missing through injury, club duty and extended periods of rest, Eamonn Fitzmaurice has been able to call on just six players that started against Donegal in September: defenders Fionn Fitzgerald and Paul Murphy, midfielder David Moran (who will captain the team), plus Johnny Buckley, Stephen O’Brien and Paul Geaney.

Four more players who did appear as substitutes in the final (Shane Enright, Bryan Sheehan, Michael Geaney and Barry John Keane) are also named to start. James O’Donoghue (injured) and captain Kieran Donaghy (club tied) were not considered. Killian Young was in contention to start but picked up a groin injury at training last night.

Five-year spell

Walsh, meanwhile, is now poised for his first appearance for Kerry since 2009, as he is expected to play some part from the bench, having returned from a five-year spell in Australia fit and eager for action.

Opponents Mayo have named a more familiar looking team for what is a replay of last August’s epic 160-minute semi-final. Captain Keith Higgins starts at corner back, and Séamus O’Shea at midfield, although there are some new faces, including Evan Regan, Mark Ronaldson and senior debutant Patrick Durcan.

O’Shea has spoken about the familiarity of the new management pairing of Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly and having previously played under the pair when they managed the Mayo under-21 team form 2006 to 2008 (winning the All-Ireland in 2006).

Still involved

“There’s quite a few of us still involved from that team actually, such as myself, Kenneth O’Malley, Keith Higgins, Barry Moran, Chris Barrett and Colm Boyle, plus Mark Ronaldson, who is back there on the panel at the moment. Mickey Conroy too. So there’s a good few of us. There must be seven or eight of us,” said O’Shea

“It’s early days, but I wouldn’t say there is any major change yet. We’ve only gotten back in the last couple of weeks. We’ve Donie Buckley back as trainer so that’s good to have, a bit of continuity there. But ultimately you wouldn’t notice any major changes.”

Dublin will come up against a full-strength Cork side when they begin the defence of their Allianz League title in Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday – a repeat of last year’s Division One semi-final, which saw Cork collapse under a late Dublin onslaught.

Cork manager Brian Cuthbert is obviously not in the mood for any repeat of that result, nor indeed any experimentation – at least not at this stage – as he includes all but four of the team that lost their All-Ireland quarter-final to Mayo last summer. Back into the team come Donncha O’Connor (introduced as a substitute against Mayo) and also Jamie O’Sullivan, Tomas Clancy and Donal Óg Hodnett, who have all made several previous occasions.

Clancy, from Fermoy, will line out at corner back, with his namesake Tom Clancy from the Clonakilty club alongside him at full back. Eoin Cadogan, who has committed to football only this season, is named at centre back. Dublin manager Jim Gavin is due to name his starting 15 tonight, as his team start their look to win a third league title in succession.

Cork’s hurlers are also in action tomorrow night in the Waterford Crystal Cup decider against Limerick in Mallow (7.0) and manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy has named a more experimental team, with Patrick Collins, for example, continuing in goal in place of Anthony Nash. Neither the CIT nor UCC players were unavailable.

Westmeath manager Tom Cribbin has confirmed that Ger Egan will captain his team for 2015, and is named at centre forward for their Division Two opener against Laois at Cusack Park.

Elsewhere, Dermot Molloy has opted out of the Donegal football panel, and will play no part in their league opening against Derry tomorrow night. Molloy made 50 appearances since 2010, but had become frustrated with a lack of regular game time.

  • Gavin Duffy: became a legal Mayo panellist on January 12th. Photograph: INPHO/Ryan ByrneGavin Duffy ineligibility another ‘messy situation’ for Mayo county board
  • Tommy Walsh spent five years in the AFL but his career was badly disrupted by injury and he made only five appearances in total. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho Tommy Walsh eager to pick up where he left off before Australian adventure
  • Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor is doing a masters in sports exercise and psychology. Photograph: Brendan Moran/SportsfileMayo’s Cillian O’Connor says quitting job to focus on GAA sends out wrong message
  • Guess who was Kerry’s star man?

    Posted on  by John O’Mahony

    Conor Keane: in terrific form

    NOT for the first time this season, Killarney Legion’s Conor Keane was the stand-out player as Kerry booked their place in the Plate final of the Hastings Cup Under 21 invitational football tournament.

    The opportunist Keane – easily the most exciting prospect in the game – knocked over six dead-ball points as Darragh Ó Sé’s side registered an emphatic 3-12 to 0-8 victory over Monaghan in the semi-final in Portlaoise on Saturday afternoon.

    Keane converted three early scores to give his side the lead and, although Monaghan fought back to level the game at 0-4 each, Glenflesk’s Dara Roche and Michéal Burns of Dr Crokes both pointed before Jack Barry pounced to blast home a goal to put Kerry four clear at the break, 1-5 to 0-4.

    Points in the second half from Brian Crowley, Burns, Keane (two) and Roche eased the Kingdom into a 1-10 to 0-6 lead and then they struck for two opportunist goals to seal the tie, with Cillian Fitzgerald and the impressive Dara Roche both finding the target.

    Kerry scorers: Conor Keane 0-6; Dara Roche 1-1; Jack Barry and Cillian Fitzgerald 1-0 each; Brian Crowley and Micheál Burns 0-2 each; Kevin McCarthy 0-1.

    Kerry: Darragh O’Shea (Ballydonoghue), Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), Gavin Crowley (Templenoe), Sean T Dillon (St Senans), Cathal Murphy (Rathmore), Denis Daly (St Marys), Cathal Ó Luing (An Ghaeltacht), Jack Barry (Na Gaeil), Eanna Ó Conchúir  (An Ghaeltacht), Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes), Brian Crowley (Templenoe), Matthew Flaherty (Dingle), Dara Roche (Glenflesk), Cillian Fitzgerald (Churchill), Conor Keane (Legion).

    Subs:  Killian Spillane (Templenoe), Liam Carey (Beaufort), Donal Maher (Kilcummin), Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin), David Foran (St Senans), Paul McMahon (St Pats).

    Enda helps wishes come true

    Posted on  by John O’Mahony

    Enda Walshe: sprang into action

    WHEN Killarney Legion official Enda Walshe is asked to do something, the impossible is available immediately – miracles might just take a little longer.

    He had a central role to play in a feelgood story that saw a dream came true for a sports-mad English teenager whose uncle brought him back the best present he could have wished for after enjoying a short holiday in Killarney.

    Although rugby and soccer are his sports of choice in London, 14-year-old James is a passionate Kerry fan as he has close relatives living in Killarney.

    And as he appreciates sheer brilliance on the field, James is a particularly big supporter of ace Legion and Kerry attacker James O’Donoghue.

    His uncle, Kevin McCarthy, was on a brief visit to Kerry when he read about Jameso’s serious shoulder injury and how he was rehabilitating at home.

    He duly made his way to the Legion clubhouse at Dereen on the off-chance that he could get an autograph from All-Star O’Donoghue to give to the teenager at home but he was disappointed to learn that the player was on the Kerry team holiday in South Africa.

    Kevin was duly directed to Legion vice chairman and the club’s Mr-Fix-It Enda Walshe at his place of work in Quills and, although they had never met before, Enda sprang into action.

    Faster than it takes to tell, the club official ensured that a thrilled Kevin had a signed photograph and poster of the Kerry corner forward in his possession – in addition to a commemorative medal the club had to mark special occasions.

    A chuffed Kevin declared: “Enda is a welcoming, understanding and generous person. He demonstrated all that is good in a sporting setting and in a responsible position.”

    Kevin, a social worker, has put pen to paper to thank Enda and the Legion club and, of course, a delighted young James would also like to thank the club for the souvenirs of his sporting hero who, he believes, is a class act in more ways than one.

    And Enda Walshe is now right up there alongside him in the happy London teenager’s estimation.

    ‘We had a scrap’ – Joe Brolly and Kieran Donaghy are friends again

    by Declan Whooley

    Kieran Donaghy and Joe Brolly

    Kieran Donaghy and Joe Brolly

    It appears that Joe Brolly and Kieran Donaghy are back on good terms again judging by today’s photograph of the pair.

    The Kerry forward gave one of the lines of the summer in the aftermath of the Kingdom’s All-Ireland defeat of Donegal when he responded to Brolly’ suggestion that the talent simply wasn’t coming through for the Munster kingpins.
    “Joe Brolly told us the production line was finished in Kerry? Well Joe Brolly, what do you think of that?” he said.

    The phrase has been used extensively and today ‘Star’ posted a picture on his Twitter account to suggest the pair are back on friendly terms.

    “We had a scrap , I won of course , were friends again . #welljoebrollywhatyouthinkofthat,” he tweeted.

    The Austin Stack’s forward was a key figure in Kerry’s unlikely success, having being introduced into the drawn semi-final with mayo. He caused huge problems for the James Horan’s side in the replay victory in Limerick  and netted a crucial goal in the win over Donegal when he caught out goalkeeper Paul Durcan who attempted a short kick-out.

    Donaghy picked up a third All Star for his exploits in 2014.

    Conor Cox

    Clubs: Listowel Emmets

    Senior Career: 2013 – 2014
    League Appearances: 5
    Junior Appearances: 5
    U21 Appearances: 4
    Minor Appearances: 1
    Scored: 0-12 in League. 0-27 at Junior level. 1-24 at U21 level.

    3 full League appearances. 2 appearances as a substitute.

    2013 League

    2014 League

    5 full Junior appearances.

    2012 Junior

     4 full U21 appearances.

    2012 U21

    2013 U21

     1 appearances as a substitute.

    2010 Minor