MAKING THEIR MARK: Killarney Athletic members, back row: Martin Muldoon (Juvenile Secretary) and Basil Sheerin (Treasurer). Front row: Diarmuid O’Mahony (Senior Secretary), Ger Nagle (Club Chair) and Mike O’Shea (Vice Chair), celebrate their news this week.
By Sean Moriarty
Killarney Athletic Football Club has been awarded the coveted FAI Club Mark.
The distinction is awarded, by the governing body, to clubs that meet criteria like off field management, promotion and growth of the sport within the club’s communities and high standards of achievement and best practices.
The Killarney club was commended for its children’s academy where coaches are training youngsters to EUFA standards.
The Academy has grown substantially in the recent past and caters for large numbers of children who enjoy superb facilities on two grass pitches and the addition of an astro training pitch in 2018.
The Woodlawn-based club follow their cross-town rivals Killarney Celtic Football Club which was awarded the FAI Mark this time last year.
“We are thrilled,” Club Chair Ger Nagle told the Killarney Advertiser. “I took on the role of Chair last year and I made it my target to get this award. It is a testament to the hard work of the entire club. We are a collective committee and this rewards the efforts of everyone.”
The club has over 360 members on its books and as recent as the 2017 season it won both county League and Cup double. Last season the club had 17 different teams competing in various competitions across all age and gender groups. Despite COVID-19 bringing an early end to the season, club teams won the U12 and U13 County Premiere League titles.
Historically, Killarney Athletic organised the first ever FAI Summer Soccer Schools in Kerry in 1992, which was held in the hallowed grounds of the Áras Paidraig pitch.
Irish Internationals Paul McGrath, Mick McCarthy and Alan McLoughlin visited the ground at the time to add their support of the event.
While the club is steeped in history, former players were capped for Ireland and played to Premiership level in England. A recent drive by the current committee resulted in several past players returning to the fold with their children and that youth academy is the ethos of the current club management.
“It shows what the club is about, the fact that they came back to us and now they are creating a club for their children,” she added.
The club was founded in 1965 by Garda Don Harrington, a young Garda from Cork City who was stationed in Killarney. This came about after Don observed youngsters from various parts of town playing soccer on the streets of Killarney.
In 1993, the club moved to Woodlawn where their scenic grounds have continued to develop.