The Blues go marching on in Killarney

Killarney Athletic founder Don Harrington (centre with club stalwarts Michael O’Sullivan, Vincent Casey, Mike O’Sullivan and Michael O’Shea

A SOCCER club formed in Killarney 55 years ago has been awarded the prestigious Club Mark Award by the Football Association of Ireland.

The Killarney Athletic AFC recognition is part of a campaign for grassroots organisations based on best practice in the governance, management and administration of a club.

Clubs start their journey at entry level and can progress on to a one-star award with each step challenging the club to implement policies and procedures in line with best practice.

Back where it started: Athletic stalwarts Mike O’Sullivan (left) and Don Harrington at the Half Moon pitch in Knockreer where Athletic played their home games many years ago

The FAI Club Mark aims to improve the management of clubs off the field, establish and promote best practice, empower and support clubs, reward high standards and increase a club’s capacity to operate effectively and grow football in the community.

Killarney Athletic was founded in 1965 by Don Harrington, a young garda from Cork City who was stationed in Killarney, and he took action when he observed young boys from various parts of town playing soccer on the streets.

The club’s underage academy was set up in 1992 for children from under 10 upwards and Athletic organised the first ever FAI Summer Soccer Schools in Kerry that same year with Republic of Ireland internationals Paul McGrath, Mick McCarthy and Alan McLoughlin visiting at the time to add their support.

Signing the contracts for the new astro turf development at Woodlawn in 2018 were Mike O’Shea (front, centre) with Diarmuid O’Mahony and Basil Sheerin and, at back from left, Billy Hennigan, Donie Murphy, Martin Muldoon and Shane Doolan

In 1993, the club moved to its state-of-the-art new base in Woodlawn with a modern clubhouse and two grass pitches augmented with an all-weather training facility.

The club’s motto is Unity is strength: Where there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.

The club won its first ever league title in 2017 and they completed a memorable league and cup double in the same year.

Killarney Athletic has over 360 members, from the senior team down to a very active and vibrant juvenile section and during the past season, 2019/2020, the club has 217 teams competing in the Kerry School Boys and Girls Leagues.

“We are delighted to receive the Club Award and it is testament to the hard work of our many volunteers, It’s a great day for the Blues,” said club chairperson Geraldine Nagle who spearheaded the campaign for the Club Award and led with great example.

 

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