Ferry Rangers Charity Game 2023

On new year’s eve this year, all roads will lead to Ferry Park for the charity game (the chosen charity’s will be revealed at a later date) between some of the current Ferry Rangers 23/24 squad and the old stagers who let’s say played with the club in the early days after the club was established in 1995.

This game is fast becoming an annual event which will hopefully continue well into the future. Other places do charity swims and runs but in Tarbert players both young and old and some not so old dust the cobwebs off the boots and return to action to relieve their own glory days.

It will be a chance for people to catch up and get ready for that evening which will see a new year roll in. The past two editions have drawn good crowds and hopefully the 2023 version will do the same today week…

The old stagers won last year and the buzz word already is that the current Ferry side has revenge in mind and will do what it takes to take victory. So with that in mind be prepared to see some hard tackles and no less skill on show !!

It will be good to see in particular the Old Stagers take to the field to see do they still have it. Over the past few turns those who wore the red and black of Ferry Rangers in the early days have shown there metel and won the day.

As the week progresses we will know the respective squads and I am sure there will be a few surprises but this author will be staying retired having played for Ferry up to Youths level, my body and my eye sight are not what they once were.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Ferry Rangers well with firstly the Christmas draw on December 29thand then on the New Year’s eve it full steam ahead for the charity game. Keep an eye out for the details of the chosen charities and squads on social media…..

Christmas and New Year 2024

It is heading for Christmas 2024 and New Year also. A time I am not a fan of but as I head towards 2024, Life has changed beyond anything I could have dreamed of at the end of 2022 or even the start of 2023.

Earlier this year, I thought about ending my life owing to the situation I found myself in at the end of last year and the start of 2023. But thankfully I had been working away on something that yielded results around April of this year but had I gone ahead with my thoughts back in February, the work I had put in would not have been for much.

Something clicked in my head the afternoon I felt like ending things but I have since had a short fruitful spell in counselling and of course the life altering news I received on April 11th the offer of a house although the news had already filtered through via that wonderful thing called the “countryside grapevine” that had some people asking me had I gotten any news I would like to share with them…

I did the adult thing and at the grand old age of 33, moved into my own place. To say the move has had a positive impact would be an understatement. I have a new lease of life since I made the move. As I said in a previous piece I don’t know myself and have gained the backbone I needed. I have also had the opportunity to experience the freedom that many people spoke of !! Yes paying bills in good fun….

I know that for some people my age that move away from home has gone in reverse and some of my age group are back at home for varying reasons. I hope that things improve for those people in 2024. I know how tough it is to try and break out and I am so grateful to certain people I won’t mention but there help was gratefully received.

Christmas is not my favourite time of year and some will read this and say what the hell makes him happy so, but it really is the simple things, peace and quiet and a simple life with no interference. I think I am on that road after many years of trying.

I wish anyone that has welcomed new children, grandchildren, daughter in laws, son in laws etc well and to those who have lost loved ones, my thoughts are with you all. It is a tough time for even the hardest of people so think before you speak. I wear my feelings on my face so I can’t really hide them.

To everyone, both near and far that wished me well with my move and congratulated me on the step, I thank you all, so as I type sitting in the house I really felt was very far away from my reach over the last few years, I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.

To those who are finding things tough at the moment, reach out to someone you trust and try and talk it out, trust me when I say that making the move to open up will help. Keep the head up and chest out, not easy but you’ll find a way.  To all, good luck in 2024….

Snyman-Destination Unknown

So, it has emerged by chance or by design and that Leinster is the supposed destination of double World Cup winning Lock RG Snyman, initial reports a few weeks back linked the lock with a move to Bath to link up with Johan Van Graan but now the focus has shifted to the east with Leinster apparently in the market for reinforcements in the second row.

Jason Jenkins is apparently off for a new challenge at the end of the current year. Of course this is still only speculation and we have been here before with Keith Earls supposedly off to join Saracens back in 2018 only for him to sign fresh terms with the IRFU. If it does come to pass that Snyman makes the move to Leinster. It will continue the trend of players switching sides.

The likes of Trevor Hogan, Paul Wallace, Brian O Meara, Stephen Keogh and more recently Joey Carbery have made the move from Munster to Leinster or vice versa. Rugby is a short career and given the rotten luck that Snyman has had with injury in his time with Munster suffering two ACL injuries in his 4 years with Munster.

The likelihood of Munster keeping Snyman after the end of the current season was slim anyway and when the choice of Kleyn or Snyman was made it was Jean Kleyn signing on until summer 2025. The likely destinations at that point would have been a SA URC team or Bath in The Premiership, even another term in the Pro League in Japan where he spent a few years prior to the 2019 World Cup.

As I say, it is only speculation but one does feel once it makes its way into the public domain, only time is the main sticking point of making any announcements either way. That process may have to be sped up for the sake of the player and clubs involved.

Rugby as we know is only a short career and only a small few make it to their late 30s in the modern game like Jimmy Gopperth and Jonathan Sexton, they are exceptions certainly not the norm.

More power to Snyman and his representatives for working away on a deal to bring him to his new destination wherever that may be, be that the Rec with Bath, The RDS with Leinster or elsewhere….

Champions Cup 2023/2024

The 2023 Champions Cup gets underway this Friday with Connacht in action against Bordeaux Begles and then Ulster and Munster spring in action on Saturday with Ulster playing Bath at the Rec with Munster taking on Bayonne in Thomond Park.

Leinster play last season’s winners La Rochelle on Sunday  who won’t have Ronan O Gara in the coaches box as he serves a one game ban and will have to sit in the stand like last season when Ulster’s home with fixture with La Rochelle was moved from Belfast to Dublin owing to poor weather.

All four provinces have started the URC in decent form and will fancy making it 4 from 4 on opening weekend but the opposition that each side will face will be stiff competition and those sides will have designs on starting the campaign on a positive note themselves.

Connacht will know they can’t allow what happened against Leinster happen more often and that is getting pipped late on in games. A number of key signings like Joe Joyce who played with Bristol Bears previously and JJ Hanrahan who has returned to Ireland after a spell in France with Clermont Auvergne.

The additions of John Muldoon and Scott Fardy has strengthened the coaching staff in Galway and that will help Peter Wilkins keep up the good momentum build up over recent weeks barring last weekend vs Leinster.

Connacht will know a win at home would be the ideal start and to stand any hope in the revamped Champions Cup you need to win at home and then take your chances away from home as its now only 4 group games instead of 6 as was the case previously.

Ulster will go to the Rec to face Johan Van Graan’s Bath side that has picked up a few key wins in the past couple of rounds in the Premiership.

They seem to be going places slowly under Van Graan who again has dipped into the South African market for a few signings with Thomas Du Toit who spent 3 months on loan at Munster a few season ago before returning to South Africa, couple that with Finn Russell at 10 and things are beginning to shape up for the boys from the Recreation Ground.

For Ulster it will be key for them to come away with some points from the opening away day if they can’t win the game come away with a losing bonus or even a try bonus and it will be considered a good day’s work. Of course they won’t look to come away with slim pickings, they will go all out to gain at least 4 match points and see where that might leave them for week two at home in the Kingspan.

Munster take on Bayonne in Limerick with Camille Lopez and Reece Hodge the familiar faces to most Irish fans. They are in 10th in the Top 14 at the moment but that won’t count for much in Europe as we have seen how well some French sides tackle the new look Champions Cup.

Munster have started the URC in ok form with 3 wins, two losses and a draw in Italy with Benetton. They will be without Peter O Mahony, Jean Kleyn and Jack O Donaghue with two of those three hopeful of returning for the trip to Devon on Sunday December 17th to face Exeter.

Munster should have enough in the tank to start the campaign on the right note on Saturday in the prime kick off slot of 5.30pm, no doubt Thomond Park will be in fine voice by kick off time…

Lastly Leinster, reacquaint themselves with La Rochelle who have bested them in the most recent games between the sides namely last May’s Final in Dublin. ROG will have his charges well fired up and these two teams have plenty of spice between them with a tunnel incident involving Ronan O Gara trying to make a point to a match official and being politely being kept away from doing so.

Leinster have mentioned that they have prepared well with the two games against Munster and Connacht ideal preparation to take La Rochelle on Sunday. Leinster have been physically matched by La Rochelle so Leinster will be keen to help turn that around as well as starting the competition in winning fashion.

Jaques Nienaber has been added to the coaching staff taking over from Stuart Lancaster who has the reins with Racing 92 now. It will be interesting to see how the double World Cup winning coach can impact the Leinster set up going forward.

My predictions for the Irish sides in week one are, Connacht win at home to Bordeaux Begles, Ulster to get something from the trip to the Rec like a losing bonus point and maybe even a try bonus point but Bath to get the win.

Munster to win in Limerick against Bayonne and start the group on the right note.

Lastly Leinster to finally gain a first win over La Rochelle who have not been in vintage form in the early rounds of the Top 14 and Leinster to take full advantage for the win..

Tarbert North Kerry Champions 1973,50 years on

This Friday night in the Swanky Bar Tarbert, a group of men and their families will come together to mark a special occasion as the North Kerry senior champions of 1973 Tarbert will mark 50 years since they beat Ballylongford in their own backyard on a scoreline of 3-07 to 2-05, meaning a 5 point win for Tarbert for those of you not familiar with the GAA scoring system.

The team is now spread across the world with people coming from many parts of Ireland as well as a few travelling from further afield to mark what a real milestone. Only one man won’t be in attendance and that is the late Patsy ”twin” O Connell.

I only know this group of men since there playing days ended but from what I am told by ex team mates and opposition players is this was a good tough group of men. They played an attractive brand of football but were teak tough with men like Johnny Wren and John Mc Ginley in the ranks.

You had men like Gerald “yank” O Sullivan and Tommy O Donnell in the ranks also, two men who of course wore the Kerry jersey with Tom O Donnell winning an senior All Ireland in 1969 and Gerald winning three Under 21 All Ireland medals and I have been told only for Eoin”Bomber” Liston, Gerald would have been in that famed Kerry side to win numerous All Ireland’s through the 70s and 80s.

This evening will bring the stories flowing back for all and you can be sure the game will be replayed and some of the scores will be recreated “Mind the windows lads”. Huge credit to John Stack and Joe Langan ”Town” for bringing this together and marking a special point in the lives and sporting endeavours of these men.

The Tarbert Team that lined out that day was :

1 Paddy Hanlon

2 Tom Mc Carthy

3 Con Kennelly

4 Patsy ”twin” O Connell

5 Johnny Wren

6 Tom O Donnell

7 Ned Hanlon

8 John Mc Ginley

9 Ger Scannell

10 Joe Langan “Town”

11 Mossy Carrig

12 John Stack

13 Ambrose Lanigan

14 Mike Mulvihill

15 Moss “twin” O Connell

16 Peter Lavelle

17 Tom Stack

18 Pat Keane

19 Micheal Lanigan

20 Gerald O Sullivan

Denis Kiely had played up to the semi-final but injury ruled him out of the big day in Ballylongford. Of course the 2023 North Kerry Final is on Sunday at 2pm in Ballyduff. Nice to mark Tarbert’s win 50 years on the same weekend the 2023 final is taking place…