Tag Archives: kerry

Donal Barry – Desperately Seeking Brendan


Every sport has its star players, loyal supporters and every team has their dreams and ambitions. In Ladies Football, the “Brendan Martin” holds the same honour as “Liam McCarthy” in hurling of “Sam Maguire” in football. Every year, teams set out in search of that Holy Grail.

Kerry last won the All-Ireland senior title in 1993. That was their 11th National title. Now twenty years later, we follow the current crop of Kerry footballs and follow their bid to win title number 12.

All proceeds go towards helping to fund the Kerry Ladies Football team.

Donal Barry is a freelance sports journalist. He is based in Kerry and can be seen at times in The Kerryman and The Corkman.


The frustration in the stand is heard loud and clear but it is not focused at the ref. Aislinn Desmond and Caroline Kelly have just collected two balls out of the Dublin sky and broke down yet another Galway attack. Kerry are hanging on and every ball is vital. Another roar from the back line aimed at a Kerry player who has just lost possession far too easily. “Are they trying to lose it?” a belief shared between the two Kerry players who have to get tight again.
Caroline Kelly mops up another ball and this time it is sent to space. It is collected by Corridan who feeds a ball to Lorraine Scanlon. The return pass never comes and there is a little frustration from the passer, however this is Scanlon’s moment.
She dummies her player. It sends shivers down some of the player’s spines as it is something that is not normally associated with the tall midfielder, but she is unperturbed. She had lived in her mother’s shadow long enough and when she makes space for herself, she kicks from 40 yards against the wind. It has the distance and it is on target.
It has the feeling of a goal in the stand as the Kerry crowd come to their feet now believing again. A minute later it is over and Kerry are Division 2 Champions. The doubt of the supporters is forgotten as they make their way to the field. After all, who is going to miss Bernie’s speech? They have been 4 years waiting for it.


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‘Valentia’ by Catherine Conlon — Christmas Bestseller!

Set in contemporary Ireland, this novel follows the lives of the various members of the O’Sullivan family during a pivotal five-month period which marks a number of important transitions in all of their lives. The main backdrop for the action is the remote and magically beautiful island of Valentia in County Kerry, one of the most westerly points of the country.

The author, Catherine Conlon, is a medical doctor and lecturer in Public Health and Epidemiology in UCC Public Health Department. Married with 4 children, living in Blackrock in Cork, this is her second book and first venture into self-publishing. I had a quick word with her about her new book.

What is this all about? Catherine sends me on a moving synopsis: “Valentia is a readable, absorbing story with engaging, well-drawn characters in situations many of us, and women in particular, will be able to relate to. While the author explores, with a light and often entertaining touch, some of the traditional territory and themes of romance, female friendships and family dynamics, the narrative also offers a deeper, more profound reflection on what is truly valuable in modern life. In this era of widespread economic downturn and material hardship for so many people – which has hit Ireland particularly badly after so many years riding high on the Celtic Tiger – Valentia brings the reader back, time and again, to the core values of family, a sense of community and the need to belong.”

I asked Catherine which authors inspired her to write. “Those who inspired me to write on similar themes,” she says, “include Adriana  Trigiani, Victoria Hislop, Rosemunde Pilcher and Joanne Harris. In non-fiction, it would have to be Mind Body Spirit, John O’Donoghue, Neale Donald Walsch, Sister Stan, Mark Patrick Hederman and Robin Sharma.”

What did Catherine enjoy the most to write? “I enjoyed writing the dramatic bits and also the descriptive pieces, particularly in creating the magical quality of the island.” And according to the readers, those are the bits that stand out most.

As we know, this isn’t her first book. I asked Catherine what she’s written before. “I previously published ‘Sonas; Celtic Thoughts on Happiness’ with Hachette.”

So what brought her to self-publishing? “I liked self publishing because I had more control over the product and because it was so much simpler and quicker.
 I shopped around first but the message coming back was that no matter how good the book, publishing fiction first time at the moment was difficult in a publishing industry under siege.”

How did she find it? “The self publishing process was remarkably straightforward and the team at Lettertec were professional, approachable and flexible with every aspect of the book.
I would be delighted to self-publish again although I will wait and see how well the book does first!”

Where is the eye-catching cover from? Catherine is happy to tell us. “It is by a local photographer in Ballinskelligs, Michael Herrmann, and I am delighted with it. It is exactly right for the book.”

Where to go from here? Is she finished with writing? “Not at all,” she says, “I’m starting a sequel so watch this space!”

Valentia will be available in all Eason’s branches this Christmas.

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