National League

Kerry start the National League against Cork in Tralee

February 2nd, 2011
by Weeshie Fogarty

Next Sunday's opening round of the National League between Kerry and Cork will certainly bring the faithful from both counties flocking to the Austin Stack Park for what is a mouth watering kick off in this competition.  It's a rare event to have Cork as All Ireland champions visiting Tralee in a league game and I wonder if it has happened before? A lot of water has flown under the mythical bridge since Kerry lost to Down in the All Ireland and in my opinion Cork will go into this game as favourites having more to lose in defeat than the kingdom. They certainly will not want to begin the defense of their league title with a loss to a Kerry side that in many ways are rebuilding a panel capable of having a good run in the championship. And let me emphasize its all about a panel not a team. The recently completed McGrath Cup was a good help to Kerry. They played four games and tried out twenty nine player and Jack o Connor and his side line men will have sat down and had long and lengthy discussions on what prospects they have seen emerging.

So how have both counties prepared for their first clash of the year? Well its must be relevant that when Kerry were defeating Cork in the McGrath Cup in Killarney the opposition had also fielded a second and near strength first fifteen against Meath in a challenge that very same week end. They also played Laois in mallow last Saturday.  This signifies that the All ireland champions have a very in dept panel of players to call from. That McGrath Cup game featured new comers by both sides in a match that will be best remembered for a brilliant display of goal keeping by Brendan Keeley the Kilcummin man who will hold the number one position for next Sunday. It remains to be seen how many of their All ireland winning side Cork will begin next Sunday. I expect at least twelve. On the other hand Kerry will be with out Paul Galvin, Tom o Sullivan, Tommy Griffin, Killian Young and Michael Quirke. None have made an appearance so far and we wonder how "how have they wintered"? Mike McCarthy has retired and Brian Sheehan is club tied.

So really we have only the McGrath Cup performances to go on and next Sundays game will be a completely different kettle of fish and a real test for a few of the younger men some of whome will more than likely be handed a starting jersey. Is a big step up from club to county but it's even a far bigger step up from a McGrath Cup game to a national league against the All Ireland champions. Jonathan Lyne and Padraig o Connor two emerging talents from my own club can feel well satisfies with their form, David Geaney the hightly promising Dingle corner fordward will definitely start, Garry Sayers has shown promise and Michael o Donoghue of Spa will only improve under the shrewd direction of Jack o Connor. Centre field will be a big focus of attention. David Moran had his best outing for a long time there against Clare, Seamus Scanlon as I have often said needs plenty games to bring him to match fitness while Anthony Maher still has to nail down a definite starting position. The two o Se's will man the center back positions and both look extremely fit while Darren o Sullivan is reveling with the space afforded him on the forty and of course Kieran Donaghy's return to full fordward will bring even better movement from those around him.

Dr Crokes heart breaking defeat to Nemo will strengthen Kerry hands and make a number of extra players available to the Kerry panel and hopefully we will see Colm Cooper lead his men for the first time as captain next Sunday. All In all everything at the moment is pure speculation ands only league games will answer the questions which has been asked for generations in relation to all Kerry footballers, "are they championship material" and "has he still got what it takes". Only time will tell and it is speculation such as this which has captivated and fascinated generation of Kerry follower down the years and it all begins again next Sunday as men and women, young and old flock to Tralee to become the best selector of them all. The hurler on the ditch. Enjoy the year folks.  A Kerry victory would be a bonus.

In My Opinion:
So Richard Keys resigned and Andy Gray was sacked from their posts on Sky Sports following their off air comments in relation to the assistant lady referee Sian Massey in the Liverpool/Wolves match. Now since the news broke I have heard and been involved in several discussions re the rights and wrongs of these events and many people believe that what they said did not deserve the loss of their jobs. Nevertheless for what it is worth I believe their positions had become untenable and the station had no option but to dispense with their services. Not alone were those sexist comments on the day of the game made public but both men were reveled for other derogatory remarks they had previously made in relation to women in football.  How, we must ask would they react to comments such as theirs if it was passed about their wives or daughters?

Much has been made of the fact that Keys and Gray were there a long time and were as you might say "out of touch with modern thinking" of women and their involvement in football. Also the case has been put forward that remarks such as they were accused of are in fact made on a regular basis off air and on side lines.  This to me is a completely spurious argument. I have been around longer than both these men, I have stood on side lines with others reporting and watching ladies football and I have sat in commentary boxes with different people giving my views on ladies football. Now I can say with hand on heart that I never once heard some one in my presence pass derogatory remarks on any of those women playing the games. Ladies football and camogie games have been broadcast in this country for a long time and I never once heard any commentator make snide or insulting remarks during commentary. The two Sky reporters had I  believe become a little bit arrogant in later years and their series of sexist comments have no place in sport in this day or age. Indeed there is a lesson here for all of us. Treat others as you would like to be treated your selves, derogatory comments sexists or other wise, about others have no place in sport or  for that matter have no place in life in general.

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