Battle lines drawn in Kenmare’s derby

Before we discuss the novelty of this Kerry SFC second round clash between Kenmare and Kenmare District, let’s first discuss its staging.

Battle lines drawn in Kenmare’s derby

Throw-in at Templenoe is 7.30pm. That’s no problem if you’re living in the locality, or, indeed, if you’re based in Killarney or Tralee. But what if you’re travelling from Dublin, Galway or Kilkenny? You’re looking at journeys between three and four and a half hours respectively. And then you’re expected to hop straight inside the whitewash and deliver a show that will bring the curtain down on the championship involvement of the lads from the next parish.

Little wonder Kenmare boss John Morgan O’Sullivan isn’t too pleased with the county board fixture-makers.

“We’d be disillusioned about having to play on a Friday evening,” he said. “It is rare a championship game is put on a Friday evening. It is difficult because we have fellas travelling down from all over the country. We have two guys coming out of Dublin, a guy coming out of Galway, a guy out of Kilkenny and four or five guys from Cork. It is difficult to get them down for 6pm. It is the same for Kenmare District. There is another senior championship game down in Gallarus. You wouldn’t want to be driving down to the Gaeltacht from Dublin. It is tough going, especially when it is a knockout fixture. We asked was there a chance of it being changed and we were told no.”

Now, the backstory. Kenmare District comprises of Kenmare, Templenoe, Kilgarvan and Tuosist. Last year, these four clubs, under the divisional flag, took out several big names en-route to a first county final appearance in 29 years.

From that team, eight hailed from Templenoe, six from Kenmare. Dr Crokes proved too strong in the decider and eight days later, Templenoe and Kenmare were back inside the whitewash. This time as rivals. At stake was a county intermediate title and promotion to senior ranks. Kenmare won though and having lost their first round game to Legion now find themselves pitted against the divisional outfit they are no longer eligible to line out for. Adding spice to an already intriguing fixture is the fact there is no backdoor for tonight’s losers.

“It will be an interesting one,” continues John Morgan O’Sullivan. “The lads on both teams are fierce friends. They all played together for the District. There’ll be no full blooded assaults or anything like that. The main rivalry would be Kenmare and Templenoe. This is Kenmare against Templenoe, plus Kilgarvan and Tuosist. We couldn’t get over the reaction from outside the district last year to the team making the county final and then the two clubs playing intermediate final a week later. We didn’t think much of it down here. It was bigger news elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t think the Templenoe lads will be chasing revenge for last year’s intermediate final defeat. Then again, you’d have to ask them that.”

Kerry forward Stephen O’Brien missed Kenmare’s 2-13 to 1-15 defeat to Legion last weekend with a groin injury. He is expected to be back. Kenmare District suffered a 3-16 to 2-4 defeat against Dingle first time out.

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