As we prepare for the opening round of the senior county championship, a brief preview of the teams involved and their key players.
We begin with an opening game vs Shannon Rangers on Saturday night next 16th Sept in Austin Stack Park where throw in is @ 17.30
Shannon Rangers are composed of 6 clubs based around the Shannon Estuary, namely Asdee, Ballylongford, Ballyduff, Ballydonoghue, Beale and Tarbert.
They are managed by former Ardfert player and manager Pat O’Driscoll and one thing is sure that he will have his side well prepared for the task in hand.
Pat managed Ardfert to the county and All Ireland titles in junior football in 2005 and remarkably repeated the feat the following year when competing in the intermediate grade.
Shannon Rangers can call on current Kerry senior, Jason Foley along with former player Shane Enright; they have had a number of under age talents in the past few years who have represented the county, namely Robert Stack ( Beale), Jack Kennelly ( Ballydonoghue), Adam Segal ( Ballyduff) and Jack Goulding, also Ballyduff.
The timing of the county championship may not be to their liking given that Beale & Tarbert contested the county junior semi final last weekend with Ballyduff being involved the previous week whilst Ballydonoghue were involved in an intermediate relegation play off with St Mary’s.
The format of the groups will see the first round winners have home venue the following week against the other first round losers and the game between Spa and Mid Kerry is a hard one to call.
Mid Kerry, last year’s beaten finalists will be intent on going one better this year and can draw on players from intermediate clubs Beaufort, Milltown/Castlemaine, Glenbeigh/Glencar and Laune Rangers plus junior sides Keel and Cromane.
Their better known players are Mike Breen, Pa Wrenn, Eanna O’Connor, Keith Evans, Fiachra Clifford and the emerging Cillian Burke who will undoubtedly be part of Jack O’Connor’s senior set up in 2024. They would be seen as favourites to top the group.
Spa are the other club side in the group and they too will fancy their chances of advancing - they had a stellar club championship campaign, topping a group which included Kenmare Shamrocks, Templenoe and Na Gaeil. They are a solid well balanced outfit with star players in Evan and Shane Cronin, Dara Moynihan and Dan O’Donoghue.
As always in the county championship, the stakes are high and games can turn in the blink of an eye - the competition is keen and there are recent rivalries in all games.
Though we are outsiders to advance, it's often in adversity we thrive and an opening day win would be the perfect start on Sat, giving us a home game the following weekend.
Let the games begin!