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Salthill-Knocknacarra star Kerins joins elite group

Alan Kerins celebrates

By Jim O'Sullivan
GALWAY star Alan Kerins, as well-known for his fundraising for needy families in Zambia as his exploits on the field, is set to join a unique group of dual players who have participated in AIB All-Ireland finals with different clubs.

To date there have only been two, the late Simon Murphy from Cork and Kerryman John O'Grady. However, on St Patrick's Day, Kerins will achieve the same distinction when he lines out with Salthill-Knocknacarra in the football decider against St. Gall's.

Four years ago he was a member of the Clarinbridge side which lost to Birr in the hurling final.

Cork hurling manager John Allen is one of several St Finbarrs players who won All-Ireland club medals in both codes, in the period 1975/1981, Jimmy Barry-Murphy being another, along with Christy Ryan and Bertie O'Brien.

Interestingly, Murphy and O'Grady played with UCC in the All-Ireland club football final of 1972, which was actually decided on a Friday night in Croke Park.

Murphy, a member of the All-Ireland-winning Cork senior hurling team of 1970, came on as a substitute in the game, replacing Niall Brosnan - father of Kerry star Eoin.

Former rugby international Moss Keane was the College full-back at the time and the team also included Paudie and Brendan Lynch and Dan Kavanagh.

In 1972, Murphy won an All-Ireland club hurling medal playing for Blackrock and O'Grady, from Ballyduff, was a member of the Blackrock team which triumphed seven years later.

Kerins, named yesterday as the winner of the 'provincial player' award in football, played in both All-Ireland finals for Galway in 2001 - winning a football medal as a substitute and being on the losing side in the hurling decider.

While Clarinbridge is his 'home' club, he doesn't have to defend his involvement with Salthill, pointing out that he has been playing with them since 2000.

"There's no football club in the south of the county. Oranmore would be the nearest but I wouldn't be allowed play with them under rule because they have a hurling team," he explains.

"Qualifying for the football final is a great feeling, unbelievable," he admitted yesterday. "We have a strong squad and we feel we have a great chance. But, we know we're up against it. Any team that comes through Ulster and beats Nemo Rangers has to be good.

"It was disappointing to lose to Birr in Thurles in 2002. We felt we didn't play well, but we were up against a really strong side the same day."

Competing for his attentions these days - apart from his work as a physiotherapist - is his work with underprivileged children in Zambia and he'll be heading there after the club final.

"It's really taking off," he says. "We have raised €200,000 in the last few years and we are in the process of setting up an official charity. With the money we have raised we are feeding 500 families a month, we have five houses under construction and we have sunk twelve wells."

Note: In reference to my comment that Dublin footballers did not provide a guard of honour for the All-Ireland champions in Omagh it has been pointed out by a member of the Dublin management that Tyrone were on the field 'long' before they left their dressing room!

 

Salthill-Knocknacarra star Kerins joins elite group

Alan Kerins celebrates

By Jim O'Sullivan
GALWAY star Alan Kerins, as well-known for his fundraising for needy families in Zambia as his exploits on the field, is set to join a unique group of dual players who have participated in AIB All-Ireland finals with different clubs.

To date there have only been two, the late Simon Murphy from Cork and Kerryman John O'Grady. However, on St Patrick's Day, Kerins will achieve the same distinction when he lines out with Salthill-Knocknacarra in the football decider against St. Gall's.

Four years ago he was a member of the Clarinbridge side which lost to Birr in the hurling final.

Cork hurling manager John Allen is one of several St Finbarrs players who won All-Ireland club medals in both codes, in the period 1975/1981, Jimmy Barry-Murphy being another, along with Christy Ryan and Bertie O'Brien.

Interestingly, Murphy and O'Grady played with UCC in the All-Ireland club football final of 1972, which was actually decided on a Friday night in Croke Park.

Murphy, a member of the All-Ireland-winning Cork senior hurling team of 1970, came on as a substitute in the game, replacing Niall Brosnan - father of Kerry star Eoin.

Former rugby international Moss Keane was the College full-back at the time and the team also included Paudie and Brendan Lynch and Dan Kavanagh.

In 1972, Murphy won an All-Ireland club hurling medal playing for Blackrock and O'Grady, from Ballyduff, was a member of the Blackrock team which triumphed seven years later.

Kerins, named yesterday as the winner of the 'provincial player' award in football, played in both All-Ireland finals for Galway in 2001 - winning a football medal as a substitute and being on the losing side in the hurling decider.

While Clarinbridge is his 'home' club, he doesn't have to defend his involvement with Salthill, pointing out that he has been playing with them since 2000.

"There's no football club in the south of the county. Oranmore would be the nearest but I wouldn't be allowed play with them under rule because they have a hurling team," he explains.

"Qualifying for the football final is a great feeling, unbelievable," he admitted yesterday. "We have a strong squad and we feel we have a great chance. But, we know we're up against it. Any team that comes through Ulster and beats Nemo Rangers has to be good.

"It was disappointing to lose to Birr in Thurles in 2002. We felt we didn't play well, but we were up against a really strong side the same day."

Competing for his attentions these days - apart from his work as a physiotherapist - is his work with underprivileged children in Zambia and he'll be heading there after the club final.

"It's really taking off," he says. "We have raised €200,000 in the last few years and we are in the process of setting up an official charity. With the money we have raised we are feeding 500 families a month, we have five houses under construction and we have sunk twelve wells."

Note: In reference to my comment that Dublin footballers did not provide a guard of honour for the All-Ireland champions in Omagh it has been pointed out by a member of the Dublin management that Tyrone were on the field 'long' before they left their dressing room!