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O’Connor may return for 2nd stint as Kerry boss

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

O’Connor had guided Kerry to two All Ireland titles in the space of three seasons before himself stepping aside in 2006, but according to sources within the county, he is once again in line to coach the senior team in the wake of Under 21 manager Sean Geaney’s withdrawal from the race.
It appears than an announcement of O’Connor’s candidature for the post has been delayed by his continued involvement with Kerins O’Rahillys who drew their county semi-final with South Kerry last weekend.
It is also believed that Mick O’Dwyer and the former Laois coach Liam Kearns are currently on the Kerry shortlist.
Meanwhile, on the club front, St Oliver Plunketts failed in their bid to win a first ever Dublin football championship when they were defeated in last Monday’s replayed final by Kilmacud Crokes on a scoreline of 3-6 to 0-13 at Parnell Park.
Crokes, who were securing a sixth title, had a fair slice of luck with their three goals all of which came via the hand. Jonny Magee scored two, with the second controversially awarded by the umpire, while Mark Davoren rowed in with the third.
All that was against the backdrop of an individual masterclass from Plunketts’ Bernard Brogan who tormented the Crokes’ defense with a personal total of 10 points, including seven from play. In the end, Brogan’s superb performance wasn’t enough as the winners’ goals saw them through.
Clonoe took the Tyrone title with a 0-10 to 0-9 victory over Dromore after extra-time in Omagh. The game finished in controversy with the Dromore manager, Noel McGinn, appearing to strike a Clonoe sub with his head after one of his own players was head-butted.
McGinn, who could now face a ban of up to 12 months, apologized for the incident saying he was very disappointed with his actions. “I know exactly what I did and I’m going to have to take full responsibility for that, but in no way should the club suffer,” he added.
A vital seven-point contribution from Mark O’Sullivan paved the way for Celbridge’s 1-9 to 0-10 win over Sarsfields in the replayed Kildare decider at Newbridge. O’Sullivan’s total included three frees while Tom Fitzgerald scored an early goal.
In Limerick, Drom Broadford were convincing 2-15 to 1-8 winners over Ballylanders at the Gaelic Grounds, while Eire Og were too good for old rivals Palatine on a scoreline of 2-9 to 0-11 in the replayed Carlow final at Dr Cullen Park.
There was another replay in Roscommon where Castlerea edged out Padraig Pearses by 0-9 to 0-8, and in Tipperary, Galtee Rovers celebrated a first title since 1981 with a 0-7 to 0-5 victory over Cahir in Cashel.
Meanwhile, in hurling, Cork manager, Gerald McCarthy who was re-appointed for a two-year term last week, was remaining defiant in the face of mounting criticism of his stewardship by a majority of his players.
McCarthy had a meeting recently with a deputation of players who requested that he step down, and since then, 27 out of 29 members of the squad have insisted that they will not continue with McCarthy at the helm.
With several damning accounts of his management style and his coaching techniques appearing in some of last Sunday’s newspapers, McCarthy was still unrepentant. “I am the Cork hurling manager and I am determined to carry out that duty to the best of my ability next season and hopefully beyond. My task at the moment is to construct a selection committee for the new season.”
He also denied that he was advised by his out-going selectors not to let his name go forward for a second term.
In Kilkenny, Ballyhale Shamrocks emulated the county team’s feat of three titles in a row by completing a local hat-trick with a hard-fought 2-11 to 0-12 victory over James Stephens at Nowlan Park last Sunday.
The difference between the sides was encapsulated by Ballyhale’s opportunism in the first half as the Reid brothers, Eoin and Patrick, grabbed the goals that gave the winners valuable breathing space.
Rank outsiders, Clonlara, captured the Clare title for the first time in their history when they dramatically got the better of Newmarket on Fergus by 1-12 to 1-9 in Ennis. Clonlara’s last appearance in the decider was as far back as 1919, but this time they made no mistake with a goal from Tommy Lynch and 0-7 from freetaker, Donal Madden.
Confey took the Kildare title thanks to a 3-13 to 1-15 win over Ardclough while Ballyhaunis came out best in Mayo with a 0-15 to 2-7 success against Toureen. In the Meath replay, honors went to Kilmessan who defeated Kildalkey by 0-13 to 0-8, but there was stalemate in Wicklow where Glenealy and Carnew drew 1-12 apiece.

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