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Kilmoyley One Win From Making More History For Kerry Hurling

Kilmoyley One Win From Making More History For Kerry Hurling
By PJ Browne
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The ongoing pandemic forced Kilmoyley Hurling Club to forgo their usual church gate collection. With the club on a run to an All-Ireland final, funds were needed. So, they set up a GoFundMe page, and raised over €20,000.

"There was money coming in from people from abroad with Kilmoyley connections," says corner-back Flor McCarthy.

"And people from neighbouring parishes as well - I'd mentioned Ballyduff and Ardfert. You'd be surprised at some of the names, they'd be diehards with their clubs."

Last month, Kilmoyley became the first Kerry club to win the Munster intermediate hurling title when they defeated Cork champions Courcey Rovers. Along the way, they'd beaten Moyne-Templetuohy of Tipperary, and Dunhill from Waterford. For a Kerry club, it was a major hurdle cleared. Three times previous - Ballyduff in 2011 and 2012, and Kilmoyley themselves in 2016 - sides from the Kingdom had failed to jump the last in Munster.

"I don't know where to start with the atmosphere [around Kilmoyley]," says team captain McCarthy.

"I try to keep off social media a small bit. But I just saw pictures of the school, boys and girls alike, from the ages of 4-12, they're carrying hurleys to school now.

"The bunting is out around the place. It's massive. There doesn't go a day here, if you're in the shop, the church or the local pub, without someone talking about hurling. It's like it's bred into us down here. It's either the weather or hurling."


Hurler Flor McCarthy of Kilmoyley, Kerry, pictured ahead of one of #TheToughest showdowns of the year, which sees Kilmoyley face off against Naas of Kildare in the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Final this Saturday, February 5th at 5pm. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

On the line for Kilmoyley this weekend will be John Meyler. The former Cork manager has an association of over two decades with the club.


"John is like one of the parish members at the moment," says McCarthy.

"He's been down here for so long, he's like a permanent fixture at this stage now. Banna beach is only over the road from us and he loves going over there to unwind before training.

"He's been here since 2000/01 - he's been involved most years since then - and he's taken a few of us for underage. So, we've known him since then. And it gave him an opportunity to see who's coming up. That’s massive for a coach because you know then who you can blood for the forthcoming year, when fellas get to the senior ranks. And the conveyer belt continues of talent coming through. If you can get one or two a year and some years you might get lucky and get three or four.


John does create that atmosphere where if you're playing well, you're playing and if you're not, you're not. If things aren't going well, he can put a hand over your shoulder and have a chat as well."

'It's good sign for Kerry hurling'


Kerry hurling is in a good place right now. Traditionally, hurling has been restricted to eight clubs in North Kerry with Kilgarvan an outpost down south. In recent years, the larger population centres of Killarney and Tralee have taken a greater interest in the game.

"Dr Crokes came up [to senior] and gave a good account of themselves, they put it up to Abbeydorney," says McCarthy.


"Crotta did give them a small bit of a beating in the second week. But overall, that bodes well for them. They must be happy with their first year out in senior level.

"Then, you've Tralee Parnells coming up, they've a few players involved with Kerry, as have Crokes. Then you've Kenmare, Kilgarvan keeping the hurling going out that direction, down in South Kerry.

"Underage, the minors were playing Tipperary last year, they put in a really good performance in the first half. Tipp had that experience and that spread of players that kept them at arm's length in the second half. And the U20s were playing Clare in Tralee. I was watching that match on a stream and they put in a very good performance.


"It's good sign for Kerry hurling. If you can keep producing good talent, you'd be hoping in a couple of years time, we'll be really, really competitive."

20 September 2020; Matthew O'Flaherty of Kilmoyley celebrates with manager John Meyler following the Kerry County Senior Hurling Championship Final match between Kilmoyley and Causeway at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

On Saturday, Kilmoyley face Naas at Croke Park. Whoever emerges victorious will be the first club from their county to win All-Ireland hurling title at intermediate level.

"I don't think we were thinking at this time of year we'd still be playing hurling," McCarthy says.

"We probably thought we were going to be starting training for this season. But to still be playing last season's games, it's massive.

"Looking at Naas, they have 10 -12 players that are involved with Kildare. They are going to be strong anyway. Kildare hurling has been coming on well the last couple of years. Kerry have played them a few times in Christy Ring, and they've always given a battle. We've looked at a few of their players, and they're good operators.

"Naas had a really impressive win against Glenmore, Kilkenny champions. It was mostly Cork and Kilkenny teams over the last 10 years who've been winning the intermediate titles. To get over that, and beat Wexford opposition, they're a very good team.

"We're from one of the less traditional counties as well. Maybe some teams took us for granted, that we're from Kerry, and maybe that worked in our favour a small bit. We know what's coming against us with Naas. We know it's going to be a hard game."

This is one of four AIB GAA Club Championship finals which will be decided at Croke Park this weekend, with Ballygiblin, Kildare, taking on Mooncoin, Kilkenny, at 3pm on Saturday in the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Final. On Sunday, the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Junior and Intermediate Club Championship finals will take centre stage, with Kilmeena, Mayo, taking on Gneeveguilla, Kerry, in the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Club Championship at 1.30pm while in the Intermediate decider, Trim GAA, Meath, face Steelstown Brian Óg’s, Derry, at 3.30pm. All four games will be streamed online on Spórt TG4 YouTube, while tickets are also available on gaa.ie/tickets/.

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