Kerry set to play integral part for hurling and camogie Féile

Hiamh Gentleman from Causeway, Rory Caltallin, Ballyheigue, and Lauryn Garcia, Causeway, at the launch of the Féile na nGael at the Kerry GAA Centre of Excellence in Currans
Hiamh Gentleman from Causeway, Rory Caltallin, Ballyheigue, and Lauryn Garcia, Causeway, at the launch of the Féile na nGael at the Kerry GAA Centre of Excellence in Currans

Jason O'Connor

Three years after playing host to the Football Féile, Kerry will be hosting the hurling and camogie version this weekend for the first time ever alongside the county of Cork as the 2019 staging of the event takes place in the South-West region. Last Thursday evening in Currans say the fourth and final launch of the event after previous launches in Croke Park as well as two events in Cork.

Kerry senior hurling manager Fintan O'Connor, Bryan Murphy along with Kerry camoige team captain Niamh Leen were among those on hand last week to launch the event locally along with several other dignitaries.

O'Connor spoke of his respect earned for the event from working with senior hurlers and how highly they speak of it. He said not only would he hope the weekend would inspire friendship but also to inspire the players to want to keep playing the sport into the future. Murphy spoke of his own experience of having played in Féile in the past in Cork and was acutely aware of what was involved in the event from an organisational point of view with his mother involved in the local organising committee in Causeway.

Master of ceremonies last Thursday was Kerry Coiste na nÓg PRO Damien McCarthy as Donal Barry conducted interviews with the players and representatives from the Munster Council, Kerry GAA, Kerry Camoige and Rebel Óg spoke at the information evening where information booklets were distributed to host clubs. Munster Council Chairman and Limerick native Liam Lenihan spoke of his happiness of the vision of hurling and camoige spreading into the county of Kerry with the expansion of the event from the predominantly Cork base.

He said former Munster Council Chairman and Féile founder Seamus Ó Rian would be delighted would be delighted with the progression of the tournament from its founding roots as he believed the playing of the game from aged 12-16 should primarily be about enjoyment. Having been involved in the Football Féile with his own club three years ago he remembered the excitement of the visiting clubs coming off the bus and finding out who would be staying with who as one the more exciting memories of three years ago for himself personally.

Kerry GAA Chairman Tim Murphy expressed his delighted in welcoming everyone to Currans for the launch saying the Centre of Excellence was a centre for everyone and not an elitist venue as he encouraged everyone to look around the facility. Kerry Camoige Chairman Ger McCarthy said he had the privilege of being part of the first Kerry side to take part in Féile back in 1971 but said he was delighted that on the 45th anniversary of camoige first being included in the Féile programme in 1974 that it was taking place in the county.

McCarthy also thanked the host families in particular for the important contribution they make to the staging of the weekend. Chairman of Rebel Óg John Purcell meanwhile thanked Kerry for their co-operation with the staging of the event and said when they needed assistance with the staging of this year's event, they were delighted to call on their best friends next store in the Kingdom to help them out!

One hundred and 28 clubs (80 hurling and 48 camoige) will host a further 128 clubs as part of the extravaganza which is the biggest youth sports event of its kind in Europe with play from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. Ballyduff and St Brendans will take part in Division 4 of the Hurling event as Lixnaw and Crotta O'Neills are in Division 6, Tralee Parnells and Kenmare/Kilgarvan in Division 7, Ballyheigue and Abbeydorney in Division 8, Kilmoyley and Causeway in Division 9 with Firies and South Kerry in Division 10.

The camoige sees Causeway and Cillard in Division 5 with Killarney and Tralee in Division 6. The highlight of the Kerry staging will come on Saturday afternoon when Currans plays host to eight quarter-final matches in the various grades.