Trip to Castlebar beckons

County Board PRO John O'leary with all the GAA news

"JOB done" would probably be one way of describing Kerry's McGrath Cup victory over Tipperary in poor conditions in Tipperary Town on Saturday last.

With Darran O'Sullivan helping himself to 1-3, Kerry made all the running to run out comfortable winners 112 to 1-7. The four games in this competition have been ideal preparation for both management and players ahead of the commencement of the National League on Sunday next. This was Kerry's fourth final victory in the competition having previously been successful in 1996, 2010 and 2011.

The competitive season gets underway in earnest on Sunday next when Kerry travel to Castlebar to take on Mayo in the first round of the Allianz Football Leagues. Mayo, of course, were defeated finalists in both the League and Championship in 2012, and no doubt with home advantage they will prove formidable opposition for a Kerry side who are still without a number of household names such as Colm Cooper, Eoin Brosnan and Paul Galvin (clubtied with Dr Crokes and Finuge respectively) Kieran Donaghy (honeymoon) and Declan O'Sullivan O'Sullivan, Donnchadh Walsh and David Moran, all recovering from injury.

Still Kerry have been up and running in the McGrath Cup for the last four weeks in contrast to a Mayo side, who have only recently resumed training and with competition for places sure to be as fierce as ever, Kerry will be very eager to get their campaign off to a winning start. Adding spice to the occasion will be the presence of Kerry man, Donie Buckley on the Mayo sideline and former Mayo trainer Cian O'Neill parading the line for Kerry.

Kerry play Dublin in Roud 2 on Sunday week (February 10) in Fitzgerald Stadium and there is a break then for third level competitions before they resume with an away fixture in Kildare on March 3 the first of four League outings during that month.

The Kerry Supporters club will, as usual, make the journey to Castlebar on Sunday.

This is a day trip and bookings must be made from the usual sources not later than this Wednesday, January 30.

Bus times are as follows: Farranfore 6:45 a.m.; Tralee 7:00 a.m. and Listowel 7:30 a.m. Sideline Numbers THE new regulations from Croke Park drastically limiting access to the sideline on big match days trialed during the recent pre season provincial competitions will not be welcome news for many team managers and administrators.

Following some unruly behaviour at club championship matches he attended in the latter end of last year, Uachtarán Liam O'Neill made no secret of his intention to remedy the situation. However, it is the drastic nature of the cure that has surprised most people with a limit of five officials being allowed on the sideline during the course of a game. Granted, there were excessive numbers of officials allowed access to the sideline previously, but have the GAA gone to the other extreme now?

Only the team manager, maor fóirne (a selector), one medical official and two water carriers will be allowed on the sideline during a game from now on. County committee chairman Patrick O'Sullivan, and Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice, as well as some other high profile managers, have expressed their reservation to the new ruling, but Croke Park is not for budging on this one.

Obviously it will be interesting to see how the logistics of implementing the new regulations will work out.

On big match day in Croke Park for instance, the ruling can be easily accommodated. However, at locations such as Tralee's Austin Stack Park and many other provincial venues, it would be impossible to implement under present infrastructure.

Given that the ruling cannot be applied across the board, I am sure we have not heard the last of this issue. Referees Courses THERE are two major Referees courses being organised by Kerry County Committee in conjunction with the Munster Council one for serving referees and the other for new referees as follows:

In Service - Existing Referees, all at 7:45 pm.

On Thursday January 31 for Kenmare and East Kerry Divisional Boards in the Dr Crokes Clubhouse.

On Monday February 4 for Mid Kerry, South Kerry and West Kerry in the CYMS Hall Killorglin.

On Wednesday February 6 for North Kerry Hurling and Football, St Brendans and Tralee Divisional Boards in Austin Stack Park.

Foundation Level - New Referees, 4 night course 8 to 10 pm.

On February 13, 18, 20 and 25 in all in Austin Stack Park.

Tutors are Pat Sheehy and Denis Richardson.

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