Killorglin promoted to J2
They may not always get the headlines but last weekend was all about Killorglin Rugby Club as they secured their first promotion in Munster Junior Rugby.
After failing to win promotion two weeks ago, the men from the Kingdom brushed aside any nerves during their last league fixture of the season – beating Ballincollig 18-9 at the Cork side's home venue.
The win not only sees the Kerrymen elevated to the second tier but it sees them do it as champions, which always helps the confidence as a team prepares for the next challenge.
"We had the best night since Laune rangers won the All Ireland back in 1996," club president Leslie West said. "Our boys have done a great job this season, we were unlucky not to go up last season so the lads deserve great credit for the way they bounced back and won promotion for the first time since the club was reformed back in 2000."
While Mr West didn't want to single out anyone for special mention there were some people that he couldn't help but acknowledge.
"Great credit has to go to our coach Gareth Sheehan. He has been at the helm now for two years and we may not have had this success without his input. John Healy and Tom Curtayne also deserve great credit for all their work over the years with most of these players as they rose through the ranks.
"We may have won with our senior lads this weekend but our future also looks good after our U13 beat Tralee in the West Munster on Sunday. We have a great club and things seem to be going in the right direction so we will hope that continues. One player that I have to mention is our Captain Chris O'Sullivan, the no.8 has been immense all year and he proved himself to be a real leader."
Killorglin started well and led by 12-3 at the turn thanks to tries from Barry Sheehan and Peter Slattery with Luke O'Shea converting one from two. Denis Galvin responded with a penalty for the home side to keep things nervy at the interval.
Killoglin have been the dominant side in the J3 this season and they were able to see out this tie and collect their reward on 80 minutes thanks to a clinical display after the break and a third try from Noel O'Reilly. The home side also bagged a try in the second period but to be fair the spoils went where they should have gone and Killorglin were able to celebrate a little piece of local history.
The historic promotion means that next season there will be plenty of local derbies for the Kerry men to look forward to as they will face Killarney and Castleisland in the J2.
While this prospect may whet the appetite for rugby lovers in the county there is the small matter of a well earned break first all the Kerry sides will take the summer off before they prepare to do it all again next September.
While Killorglin players, management and fans will be raising a glass to their side's achievements, the same can't be said for Castleisland as their challenge for promotion to the J1 fell at the final hurdle away to Muskerry.
Castleisland came into this clash as the outsiders as the home side were attempting to go the whole season without defeat and earn promotion as champions.
There was a huge crowd in attendance for this one with a large home contingent swelled by visitors from both Castleisland and Mallow. The north Cork side also had an interest in this one as the outcome had a bearing on their finishing position.
As it transpired the two Cork clubs left the venue smiling while the Kerry team was left pondering what may have been.
Muskerry showed their intent early on and had secured a six point lead at the break, 13-7, thanks to a brace of tries by the clinical Jonathan Buckley.
Castleisland responded with a try from Matthew Ahern which Connie Reynolds converted.
The second half was all about the mid Cork men as they held the visitors scoreless while adding a try by Martin Muldoon and a drop goal by John Herlihy.
This was a sad way for Castleisland to finish this campaign but to be fair to all concerned there are few that could argue that the two most consistent sides of the year were the two that went up.
While the disappointment on the Castleisland faces was clear for all to see the future does look very promising for both Castleisland and Killarney as they look forward to next season's campaign.
The only other Kerry side in action on the final day of the season was the other J2 side Killarney. After surrendering their challenge for promotion to Castkesialnd a week previously, Killarney had only pride to play for and credit to them they showed plenty of that as they defeated Thurles 19-15.
Tries from Brian O'Leary, Declan Foy and Timmy Dudley did the damage for the home side with two conversions by Paudie Sheahan giving Killarney the points and forth place in the final standings.
While tries from Jason O'Mahony, Enda Callinan and Ian Stanley may not have been enough to take the spoils for the Tipperary men the losing bonus point gathered on the day helped secure their status as a J2 side for another season.