THERE may be no All-Ireland Final to look forward to this September but West Kerry promises the next best thing with the likes of Dara Ó Cinnéide, Darragh Ó Sé, Seamus Moynihan, Diarmuid Murphy, Killian Burns and Mike Hassett togging off in the Tommy Griffin Over-35s Tournament on Saturday September 15.
Having managed to coax many of the county's biggest footballing names out of retirement, the invitational tournament, which has been devised and organised by retired Kerry star Tommy Griffin and Padraic Corcoran of Muiris Dan's Bar in Dingle, has also attracted some big names from across the country including Padraic Joyce (Galway), Glenn Ryan and Anthony Rainbow (Kildare), Liam Honohan (Cork) and even sports commentator Joe Brolly, who is expected to act as a referee.
Along with the slew of former inter-county greats the tournament, which will be contested in Dingle and Lispole, will also include a host of well-known college and club players.
Eight teams will compete in Lispole's Páirc Uí Bhairóid and Dingle's Páirc an Ághásaigh on the day and good football, high spirits and perhaps the re-ignition of some old rivalries is to be expected.
A combined team from across the country will play West Kerry at 12noon in Lispole before a Tralee selection, drawn from Kerins O'Rahillys, John Mitchel's and Austin Stacks, take on the Cork selection at 12.45pm.
Back in Páirc an Ághasaigh old rivals An Ghaeltacht and Dingle will contest the opening match, which will see the return of many footballing names to the fray, including former Dingle player Jack Ferriter, who captained the last Kerry Minor team to win an All-Ireland Final.
A St. Brendan's College team, made up mainly from the All-Ireland Colleges Hogan Cup winning team of 1992 will see the likes of Breandán Fitzgerald and Conor O'Donnell (Dingle) and John Dorgan (Lispole) take to the pitch alongside Seamus Moynihan and Killian Burns as they take on Coláiste Eoin from Booterstown where tournament organiser Padraic Corcoran went to school.
The semi-finals take place at 2pm and 2.45pm in Dingle before the final is contested at 4.45pm.
The Tommy Griffin Over-35 Invitational Tournament was officially launched in Muiris Dan's on John Street last Friday night before a packed house. Joining Tommy and Padraic in launching the tournament were South Kerry Independent Deputy Michael Healy Rae TD, Donnacha Walsh, Marc Ó Sé, Diarmuid Murphy, Chairman of Dingle GAA Mícheál Ó Conchúir and other footballing luminaries and local stalwarts.
In launching the festival, Deputy Healy-Rae quipped that football was in many ways like politics. "There is always a campaign to be fought and you are always trying to up your game," he said.
Dingle GAA Chairman Mícheál Ó Conchúir said the over-35s competition was a great idea and that the level of interest was so high that younger players wanted the age limit lowered so they could compete!
Money raised at the tournament will go to the Tit Bonhomme Union Hall Tragedy Fund.
Muiris Dan's will put on a barbecue and reception after the tournament and Donal Moran of Adam's pub will also provide much needed sustenance throughout the day. Anyone who wants to get involved can contact Muiris Dans on 0860785575 or 087-9177413.