The Marys are Munster Intermediate Club Champions

December 1st, 2015
by Weeshie Fogarty

A gloomy bleak brooding November day in Fitzgerald Stadium last Sunday, dark clouds  pregnant with rain scurrying across the Killarney sky's as St Marys Caherceiveen turned  in another power packed performance to capture their first ever Munster Intermediate Championship defeating a game Cork side Carrigaline, 1-16 to 0-6. The result really was never in doubt and when you realise that 1-13 of the winners scores came from play it tells its own story and proves if proof was needed that they have superb scoring forwards and it will take a real good team to stop them going the whole way and winning their second All Ireland title. They won the junior All Ireland back in 2010. It's certainly the stuff of Kerry football dreams for those Marys players who only the previous Sunday helped South Kerry capture the senior county championship and let us again remind ourselves it was the St Marys contingent who score 1-13 also that day as The Legion were put to the sword. 

The foundation for this latest victory was laid at mid field, however on this rare occasion it was not the immaculate Brian Sheehan who stole the show but his mid field partner young Denis Daly. He was outstanding from start to finish, covering every blade of grass in the stadium and he finished up with 1-3 to his name while his brother Daniel at full forward had a brilliant outing raising four white flags all from play. Corner backs Ian Casey and Liam Sheehan and Aidan Walsh were other who stood put.

However it must be said that from one to fifteen the Marys were rock solid and manager Maurice Fitzgerald's finger prints are all over this excellent side. Fast and lively, moving the ball quickly by hand and mostly foot, relaxed, skilful when in possession they constantly run into open spaces to make themselves available for the pass. Their Kerry Intermediate final against Spa which I wrote about here was easily the best game of football I have seen anywhere this year.

A lot has been said and written in relation to the Caherceiveen players on the South Kerry team which allied to their demanding St Marys commitment one might believe should have a tiring, draining and exhausting effect on them.  Nothing has been further from the truth; in fact the opposite has been the case. Their flat out district/club obligations have brought them to a peak of fitness allied to the skill levels being honed to near perfect pitch. Success breeds success and one competitive game is worth all the training sessions in the world.

But for me it is the manner in which the players have been handled in relation to rest, recovery after matches etc.  by the men in charge which is I firmly believe is one of the real secrets behind the double success to date, Maurice Fitzgerald, an inspirational figure in any mans (or woman's) language manager of St Marys, John Sugrue, manager of South Kerry (he trained Kerry to win a senior All Ireland), James o Sullivan selector/trainor of St Marys, (he trained South Kerry to win three –in-a-row senior county championships). Here you have three of the shrewdest men in Kerry football, add in their selectors, Noel Cournane, and Seamus Fitzgerald, St Marys and William Harmon, South Kerry and it proves one thing which all clubs/county's should aspire to, knowledge highly experienced men on the line.  The St Marys warriors are in good hands, whether they go on and win the All Ireland club title is a story for another day, but to date they continues to follow in the footsteps of the legendary club men who have gone before them. Names such as Jerome o Shea, Donal "Marcus" o Neill, Jack o Shea, Ned Fitzgerald and many more. These are heady days for "The town that climbs the Mountain and looks out on the Sea", and the biggest test of all still awaits, no, not the All Ireland series but the holy grail of Iveragh football, the South Kerry Championship. Now that's going to be some battle and the final is fixed for St Stephens Day. I for one won't miss that.

William (Billy) Martin – R I P
The 22nd November was a beautiful autumnal Sunday in Killarney, as South Kerry took the 2015 County title and the Bishop Moynihan cup back through the towns and villages of the picturesque peninsula that has produced many wonderful footballers. Supporters and patrons came from far and wide to see the current pantheon of Kerry players like Bryan Sheehan, Killian Young, Declan O'Sullivan, James O' Donoghue, Jonathan Lyne, and Brian Kell to mention just some of the current  household names with  'green and gold' pedigree in their makeup.

One such supporter that came to Killarney for the replay was Billy Martin from Marion Place, Glin, Co. Limerick, a seasoned and regular attendee to Fitzgerald Stadium. Billy loved everything that had a bit of Green in its colors, including his native county Limerick, his country Ireland and his next door neighbor and 'adopted county' Kerry.  He had of courses more than a hint of Kerry blood in his veins though his mother Madge Roche from Killorglin and the legendary Kerry Lucey brothers, Jimmy, Noel and Paul. He was a proud GAA Dad when his sons Gerard and Billy donned the precious green and white of Limerick as underage dual players.

Billy, a regular listener to my Radio Kerry Monday program Terrace Talk, played with his native Glin throughout the 1960's and was a frequent visitor to tournaments across North Kerry during those long hot summers when local Carnivals were part of the social fabric of Shannonside and beyond.  He will be missed at games in the future but will be fondly remembered in Kerry for traveling to matches, often under his own steam, to North Kerry and County Championships games and many All- Ireland's including earlier this year for Dublin's win over Kerry.

However the game on Sunday 22nd November 2015 was his last game in this world as Billy passed away unexpectedly on his way home from the game. Our heart–felt condolences to his loving wife Anne, sons Pat, Billy, Gerard and Joe, daughters Jackie, Claire and Georgina, his extended family and a large circle of friends.

"May the soft sea breeze from the Wild Atlantic make its way up the Shannon Estuary and gently warm his final resting place at Kinard Cemetery".

"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam"

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