Spirits soar as old rivals Cork and Kerry duel again

Kerry fan Kelly-Anne McSweeney outside McSweeney's Corner at the bottom of Lewis Rd, Killarney, is eagerly anticipating the clash with Cork in the Munster football final replay. Picture: Don MacMonagle

Cork and Kerry football fans will enjoy the banter in Killarney at this evening’s Munster final replay and many will meet at McSweeney’s Corner on their way to Fitzgerald Stadium.

There to greet them will be Kelly-Ann McSweeney, whose family has been in the pub trade at the eponymous corner for 65 years.

Her father Tony is a Kerryman, her mother Pauline (née Kelly), hails from Blarney, Co Cork, and the premises is painted red — but Kelly-Ann is Kerry “true and true”.

“We get supporters from Cork and Kerry in the bar,” she said. “It’s a busy day for us all and the staff, but everyone enjoys the buzz. A really great atmosphere.”

To avoid traffic chaos, fans have been urged to travel early to the match, which is expected to draw a near-capacity crowd.

The GAA yesterday reported brisk ticket sales, with spokesman John O’Leary saying there should be at least a similar attendance to the drawn game, which drew 35,000-plus.

Stiles will open at 5pm and there will be additional access points to the grounds. There’s no curtain-raiser, but leading Irish musician Liam O’Connor and singer-songwriter Ryan Sheridan will provide pre-match entertainment from 5.15pm.

Extra gardaí will also be on traffic duty and Sergeant Dermot O’Connell appealed to supporters to come early. Throw-in is at 7pm.

“There’s a totally different traffic management dynamic this time,” he said. “For starters, traffic is normally busy on a Saturday evening in Killarney and we’re now coming to the peak tourist season which will make it even busier.

“People, therefore, should allow for more time to travel, to park and to get into the stadium. There will be a lot of parking available on the bypass and in a number of big fields off the bypass.”

Hundreds of red-and-green litter bags have again been placed on the stadium terraces as part of the Killarney Tidy Towns campaign. Around 50% of rubbish was placed in the bags during the drawn game and this was hailed as a success.

“This could be seen as an educational project to enable people attending major sporting events to dispose of their litter properly,” said Tidy Towns activist Johnny McGuire.


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