Éamonn Fitzmaurice has all but ruled out a return to managing the Kerry senior football squad, and the All-Ireland winning player and manager has also said he could never manage another county football team to play against Kerry.
It was put to Jack O’Connor in Sunday’s post-match media briefing that on the night he was ratified at the Kerry County Board meeting there had been misgivings from some delegates about the choice of Paddy Tally coming in as a coach.
Before ‘lots’ or ‘many’ there has to be ‘one’. Most of the 23-year-olds playing senior inter-county don’t have an All-Ireland medal, and when they reach 33 they still won’t. But David Clifford isn’t your average bear, and so at just 23 years of age it felt like there was a giant Celtic cross shaped hole in the Fossa man’s life. Not any more.
He is 61 years of age now, and yet somehow he comes across younger than the 43 years he was when he sat in this seat for the first time. Yes, the lines on his face cut a little deeper these days, and there is a stiffness in the hips now that wasn’t there back then, but there is a lightness to Jack O’Connor nowadays that wasn’t obviously manifest back in 2004.
Tralee jockey Phillip Enright was among the winners at Tipperary on Sunday where he partnered the Mark McNiff-trained For Everyone to win the two-mile one-furlong beginners’ chase. Owned by Brendan Flynn, the 15/2 shot raced clear between the final two fences to win by four and a quarter lengths from the Edward O'Grady-trained Act Of God.
Would it be fair to say the story of the All-Ireland semi-final revolved around two men: one, Sean O’Shea, who scored an early goal, had a penalty saved, converted two points from play and two frees – the last of which had planted itself into Kerry GAA folklore as it went over the crossbar –, and the other, Con O’Callaghan, who never put a boot to the ball on Sunday?
Though not entirely unexpected, the decision of Declan O’Sullivan not to seek to stay on past his two years served as Kerry U-20 football manager opens up one of the key managerial positions in the Kingdom, with GAA chiefs understood to have already started the search for a successor.
When Kerry battered Dublin by 17 points on August 3, 2009 – a game that is remembered as much for Pat Gilroy’s description of his own players as ‘startled earwigs’ as anything else – it marked the eighth consecutive meeting between the counties that Kerry had not lost.
Jack Kennedy and trainer Gordon Elliott won the second race on the card at Tramore on Sunday having narrowly lost out in the opening contest. Up And Out took the runner-up spot in the four-year-old maiden hurdle but the pair were winners again as the Ray Stokes-owned Dartington took the rated novice hurdle by half a length from the Liz Doyle-trained Tom McGreevy at odds of 13/8 favourite. It was a third success of 2022 for the five-year-old.
Perhaps the most telling takeaway from Cork’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Dublin didn't come during the 70-odd minutes of play, but after it. After the handshakes between the opposing players, and a gentle acknowledgement between the managers, the Dublin players trundled off down the Hogan Stand tunnel while Dessie Farrell went to do his post-match interview with Sky Sports.
"I thought our lads were fierce gallant and left everything out on the pitch, we couldn't ask for more from them, but look, ultimately Dublin were the better team and the scoreline doesn't lie, we were well beaten."
A late goal for Austin Stacks – driven to the net by Darragh O’Brien from a somewhat controversial free kick – earned the Tralee club a 1-11 to 0-14 draw with Legion and gave the Rockies a valuable point that keeps them in contention for the Division 1 title with one round of games to play. This was the second 1-11 to 0-14 draw Stacks were involved in over the course of a week, having drawn by the same scoreline with Tralee rivals Kerins O’Rahillys in a round 8 back game in Connolly Park.
By our crude count, there were slightly more seagulls at the Dublin versus Cork game on Saturday evening than attended the Kerry and Mayo quarter-final 23 hours later. For the first 15 or so minutes of Saturday’s second quarter-final it was actually difficult to spot the ball at times from our vantage point in the upper Hogan Stand such was the number of birds circling around the stadium. By the time the second half of the Dubs versus the Rebels game got underway most of the feathered interlopers had fecked off, doubtless having seen enough as Dublin dished out an 11-point defeat on Cork.
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