Dear Members and Friends

As 2016 draws to a close, I would firstly like to thank all of you who were actively involved with our Supporters’ Club throughout the year and I very much look forward to your continued support into 2017.   We had many outings and held several fund raising events throughout 2016.   The year started off with a Kerry Supporters Fundraising Dinner on 29 January, 2016.

This inaugural Kerry GAA Gala Fundraising Black Tie Dinner was held at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel, and turned out to be a tremendous success. The large attendance of over 600 people included many of the legendary stars of the great Kerry-Dublin clashes down the years with the Kerry representatives led by trainer supreme, Mick O’Dwyer and centenary captain Ambrose O’Donovan, as well as Ogie Moran, Ger Power, Darragh and Mark O’Sé, Jerome O Shea and Johnny Cullotty while the Brogans, Bernard senior and junior, Tommy Drumm and Alan Larkin, to name but a few, were there representing the Dubs.  Johnny Sexton of Rugby fame, who has strong Kerry links, and Mick Galwey were also present and the hurling fraternity were ably represented by Tipperary’s Liam Sheedy and Kilkenny’s own Eddie Keher.  We also spotted Jimmy Deenihan, Sean Walsh, Paudie Lynch, Seamus Moynihan and Aidan O’Mahoney in the packed dining room.  Sean Walsh, Chairman of the Munster Council was also in attendance.  Darragh Moloney of RTE did an excellent job as MC for the night which included interviews with Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper, James O’Donoghue and Bernard Brogan. Entertainment was led by the great Liam O’Connor. Bidding was strong in an auction which included Kerry and Dublin GAA and other collector’s sporting memorabilia, with Tom Spillane bringing his auctioneering skills to bear.

Not surprisingly, Kerry County Committee Chairman, Patrick O’Sullivan, was very pleased with the night and added that “It was a very successful event and a tremendous occasion as well and it marked our first attempt at organising a major fundraiser in the capital. The Kerry business people in Dublin came out in force and I want to thank everyone who supported the event and especially the organising committee under Luke Moriarty, John Gallagher, Richard Willis and Mark Kennelly”.
Those who were fortunate enough to be present at this glittering occasion came away having heard several stories from the Golden Years told by those who were on the playing field during this great era in Kerry footballing history.

All proceeds from the evening were invested in the development of training and coaching facilities at the Kerry Centre of Excellence projects in Currans and Tralee IT.   Photographs from the evening can be found at:   http://www.kerryassociation.ie/supporters-fundraiser-29-jan-2016/

Several of our Supporters were present on 26th January when An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD officially launched the 27th Comórtas Peile Páidí Ó Sé 2016 at an event in the Conrad Hotel, Dublin and was again attended by a variety of personalities from the world of sport, business and politics.
13 counties were represented as part of this year’s Comórtas Peile Páidí Ó Sé as well as five teams from across the UK including London’s Kingdom Kerry Gaels who are the first UK Gaelic football team ever to compete in the senior men’s competition.  Over 1,300 Gaelic football players and supporters from Ireland and abroad competed in the 27th year of the tournament, with 36 adult men’s and ladies club teams descending on the rugged Dingle Peninsula from 19th to 21st February.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD commented, “The energy, attitude and love of Gaelic football that Páidí had, very definitely lives on in the Comórtas, as every year we see more and more teams from at home and abroad wanting to be involved. This tournament and indeed the life-size monument that was unveiled by his friends and family last May outside his pub in Ceann Trá, will ensure the spirit of this true icon of Irish sport will live long into the future.

For photographs of this event log onto:  http://www.kerryassociation.ie/comortas-peile-paidi-o-se-2016/

Well – from a Supporters’ Club viewpoint – what else were we involved in during the year?   The answer is that Kerry Supporters came out in their droves to support the teams in all GAA codes throughout the 2016 season.   The following are brief details of how the year panned out.

Senior Team

It was a question of ‘what might have been’ for our Senior County Footballers this year.  A solid National League campaign that blooded some new recruits, ended in defeat to Dublin in April’s final.

Kerry’s All-Ireland Championship route was on a road less travelled.  Results elsewhere meant no Munster meeting with old rivals Cork in 2016.  Instead Clare,  and Tipperary fell by the wayside as Kerry made it four-in-a-row in Munster and progressed to the All-Ireland Semi Final.

On the last Sunday in August a two point defeat to Dublin ended Kerry’s hopes of 38th All-Ireland title. The Dubs were pushed all the way by the Kerry team who will aim no doubt to be in the mix again in 2017.

Paul Geaney was rewarded with his first All Star award after some eye catching performances. We hope it’s the first of many for the Dingle man!

After 88 appearances in the green and gold Marc O’Se bid adieu to the intercounty scene.  A five time All-Ireland winner, three times All-Star and the 2007 Player of the Year, he will be missed.  2017 will be the first time since 1994 that a Kerry panel will start a season without one of the O’Se brother’s from Ard an Bhothair!

Minor Team

While one era ends all the signs point to a bright future for Kerry football.  Our minor team won a very impressive 3rd All-Ireland Minor Football title.  During the summer the young side left opponents in their wake, steamrolling their way to the final with an average margin of victory of 14 points per match.

A strong and tenacious Galway team meant the Kerry side met their toughest test on the 3rd Sunday in September. The Kingdom prevailed on a scoreline of 3-07 to 9 points to bring the Tom Markham Cup home for another year.

The wet day was considerably brightened by a goal of the year contender from Kerry forward David Clifford.  His competition for that accolade may be himself!  In April David helped St. Brendan’s win the Hogan Cup for the first time since 1992 with another stunning goal.

For photographs of some of the matches held in 2016 – log onto:    http://www.kerryassociation.ie/2016-gaa-season/

Junior Team

A month earlier our Junior team claimed a second All- Ireland win in as many year’s in August. It was a case of déjà vu for Stephen Wallace and his Kerry Junior charges in 2016.  Mayo was again the opposition in the Junior All-Ireland final and the men from the Kingdom again struck 2-18 to win. This was our first ever back-to-back All Ireland success at the junior grade.

It’s great to see that the conveyor belt of Kerry footballing talent continues unabated. We would like to congratulate all Kerry footballers, management and staff on their 2016 endeavours and we look forward to even more success in 2017!

Kerry Hurlers

The Kerry hurlers retained their division 1B status.  Having beaten Laois in their first game and Offaly later in the campaign, Kerry met the men from the O’ Moore county again in a relegation play-off in April. With a full-time score of 2-27 to 1-19 the Kerry hurlers finished their league campaign in style.

Having won the 2015 Christy Ring Cup, the Kerry hurlers debuted in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship this year. Kerry took part in a round-robin group stage with hopes to qualify for a quarter final spot. Unfortunately for Kerry this was not to be in 2016.  A bright start, with victory over Carlow, was followed by defeats to Offaly and Westmeath.

While Kerry didn’t qualify for the knock-out stages of the Leinster Championship, progress continues to be made. Retaining division 1B status allows the Kingdom to continue to build on their 2016 platform next year.

Elsewhere, the Kerry Minor team made it five All-Ireland ‘B’ titles in-a-row in 2016.  It will be interesting to see if Kerry can make it six in succession in 2017!

Golf Classic

The Supporters’ Club once again organised a golf classic on 16th September in Lucan Golf Club.  In excess of 30 teams competed in the classic and as is the case every year, this year’s event was again a total success with an amount €17,500 being raised towards the funding of the Sports Centre of Excellence in Currow.  A little “birdie” told us that the standard of golf on the day was “exhibition type” with some tee off shots being on a “par” with those witnessed at the Irish Open!

This is about it for another year.   The GAA Supporters’ Club Committee in Dublin would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.   We look forward to 2017 with anticipation.

Luke Moriarty
Chairperson