Saturday 7 December 2019

Man ‘spotted trying to spy on closed Kerry training session from tree'

Colm Keys and Majella O'Sullivan

A MAN was spotted by members of the Kerry backroom team perched on a tree while a 'behind closed doors' training session was taking place.

The Kingdom have played down the significance of reports that the session was 'spied on' in Killarney on Tuesday night.

The man is understood to be resident in Kerry but has links to Co Donegal.

He was spotted in the tree in the grounds of St Finian's Hospital, overlooking Fitzgerald Stadium.

He is believed to have disappeared when a member of the support team went to investigate, but was later confronted.

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has closed the gates to training since taking over last year to allow for privacy and planning.

Ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland senior and minor football finals, jeweller Des Byrne was giving the final polish to the Sam Maguire and Tom Markham cups before he retires.

Kilkenny-based Mr Byrne (72) made the replica Sam Maguire Cup in 1988 and ever since has been responsible for getting rid of any dents or scrapes before the final. But the jeweller revealed he could be enticed out of retirement every September to make sure his masterpiece is in tip-top condition.

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"It's been on the go now for 26 years which is a long time for a cup but it could have another 25 or 30 years or maybe even longer if it's treated properly," he said.

"Sometimes when I get it back there might be a few dents from slips and falls. It weighs 8kg and nobody damages it deliberately, it's just normal wear and tear."

One school that's looking forward to getting a close-up look at both is Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in Dingle which is closely connected to both Kerry teams.

Six of its students are on the minor panel - Conor Geaney, Brian O Beaglaoich, Tom O'Sullivan, Mark Diony O'Connor, Brian Rayel and Cathal Bambury - while teammates Barry O'Sullivan, Matthew Flaherty, Tomas O Se and Rob O Se only did their Leaving Certs at the school in June.

It is also where Kerry senior manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has taught history and geography since 2001 and where senior players Marc O Se and Mike and Paul Geaney all went to school.

Principal Padraig O Firtear said the outcome of Sunday's games could be the icing on the cake in what has been an excellent sporting year.

"We want Eamonn to put cream on his year. It was no mean feat for him to pull off the school winning the Hogan Cup for the first time so this is his second All-Ireland this year," Mr O Firtear said.

"Everybody is very proud of him here."

The principal is hoping that winning the finals could be the final push to raise the €35,000 the school needs to develop its €300,000 football field and running track.

Kerry is a splash of green and gold to show its support for the teams and Beaufort farmer Brendan O'Connor has got into the spirit even painting his sheep, ducks and cow in the county colours.

Weather conditions should be perfect for the All-Ireland, according to Met Eireann.

Meteorologist Gerry Murphy said: "It should stay dry and it will be a lovely day for football."

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