THE Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill and Chief Executive of the FAI, John Delaney, were in Mounthawk Park on Wednesday evening to officially open the Kerry District League’s new all-weather pitch.
The Ireland boss, had previously visited Mounthawk Park in March 2014 and he was delighted to see the progress that has been made by the Kerry District League in the time since.
The development was secured with a €200,000 grant from the government.
Delaney had a special word for KDL Secretary, John O’Regan, who has worked tirelessly for Kerry soccer down the years. Delaney joked “I got five million off Blatter, if we had sent John O’Regan we’d have got ten!”
In attendance were members of the KDL teams that recently won the Kennedy Cup and Galway Cup, national tournaments. Martin O’Neill was in high praise of their achievements which have broken the mould of what Kerry soccer can achieve.
“To get support is one thing, to actually do it is quite something else,” said Martin O’Neill.
The two-time European Cup winner was especially impressed with the heroics of the Kennedy Cup winning captain, David Dineen, who scored a penalty in the semi-final shootout in the competition, despite having to be carried to the penalty spot by his teammates because he was suffering from cramp.
O’Neill remarked “I must keep that in mind the next time Robbie Keane is playing!”
John O’Regan, who has been Secretary of the KDL since 1976, said; “When we started on this journey it was the kids we were thinking of. No one deserves more praise and more thanks then John Delaney. He turned every stone to make sure we got what we duly deserved.”
From the efforts of volunteers in the KDL, they have turned what was a turnip patch into a state of the art all-weather surface, . With underage success to build on, the facilities are now there to push Kerry soccer forward to greater things.