Templenoe and Kenmare set for historic clash in Kerry 

“One always wants to come out on top in a local fixture like this,” says Templenoe manager John Rice.
Templenoe and Kenmare set for historic clash in Kerry 
Templenoe's Gavin Crowley bursts past two Dr Crokes players during the Dr Crokes V Templenoe Kerry club SFC clash last week. Picture: Don MacMonagle

Templenoe host Kenmare in the second round of the Kerry club football championship on Friday evening. Throw-in is 7pm and there will be history made when proceedings get underway, this being the first time the two neighbours have met in a senior championship fixture.

According to Templenoe manager John Rice, this game also represents the first time they have crossed paths since 2016.

That was the year, don’t you remember, when they lived in each other’s pockets. The divisional side from that neck of the Kerry woods - Kenmare District - went all the way to the county senior final, Templenoe and Kenmare accounting for 14 of the 15 men who paraded behind the band that wet afternoon in Killarney.

Once the parading had finished, though, the divisional side proved no match for a Crokes team near the top of their powers and a week later, the Templenoe and Kenmare lads went from being teammates to county intermediate final opponents.

Kenmare took home the silverware and local honour, Templenoe eventually getting their hands on the same canister in May of last year.

Kenmare’s promotion four years ago meant they were no longer eligible to line out alongside the neighbours for the divisional side, and it also meant the two clubs weren’t meeting in the championship.

Added so to the history being made tomorrow, there’ll be a bit of reacquainting too.

“The clash of the neighbours always draws plenty of interest. One always wants to come out on top in a local fixture like this,” says Templenoe manager John Rice.

“Even though we are neighbours, we wouldn't have played Kenmare since 2016. A competitive fixture between the two of us just hasn't arisen. We were in Division 1 of the league for a few years, they were in Division 2. Then we dropped to Division 2 last year, we were relegated, and they got promoted to Division 1.

Normally, we’d be playing senior championship alongside Kenmare as opposed to against Kenmare. 

For Templenoe, survival is the name of the game this summer. They’re by a distance the smallest club in the senior bearpit.

Rice reckons there are no more than 300 houses in the locality, of which a small percentage would be holiday homes.

When he has everyone fit, Rice’s panel stands at 26-men strong. Unfortunately, not everyone is fit at the moment. Kerry senior defender Tadhg Morley did not feature in the club’s first-ever senior championship fixture last weekend - an 11-point defeat away to Crokes - and he will not see action against the neighbours either. 

A tight hamstring is what is keeping the 2019 All-Star nominee sidelined.

Josh Crowley-Holland of Templenoe and Mark O'Shea of Dr Crokes contest a loose ball during the at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney last week. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Josh Crowley-Holland of Templenoe and Mark O'Shea of Dr Crokes contest a loose ball during the at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney last week. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Whoever finishes bottom of Groups 1 and 2 in the Kerry club championship will contest the relegation final, the loser of which, barring a lengthy run in the county championship, will play intermediate football next year.

With Templenoe desperate to avoid going into their final group game against Kerins O’Rahilly’s without a win, securing local bragging rights is nearly as important this evening as it was back in 2016. Kenmare, for their part, are in a much healthier position having won their opening game against O'Rahilly's last weekend.

“We are just after coming up and ideally, we would like to consolidate our senior status and remain a senior club. That is our goal for 2020," Rice continued.

“We are very tight for numbers down here. Our panel includes three 18-year-olds.

One advantage of the lockdown for clubs with county players is that they - Tadhg Morley, Gavin Crowley, Killian and Adrian Spillane - have been with us and will be with us throughout the summer.

The last couple of weeks have been great having everyone around because we need everyone available. Unfortunately, Tadhg isn’t available this weekend. He is a big loss to us.

“Playing senior is a big step up for everybody in the club. It is a learning process, but it’s where we want to be. All we can do is concentrate on Friday’s game and try to get the two points on offer.” 

- Friday's game is being live-streamed by Kerry GAA.

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