With ‘dirty diesel’ out of system, Kerry captain Niamh Carmody insists there’s no fear of Kingdom not motoring (2024)

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Finuge/St Senan’s ace believes seven-point league defeat in Armagh will have no lasting impact as the green and gold head to Meath

Niamh Carmody insists holders Kerry still control their own destiny in Division 1 of the Lidl National Football League – despite a seven-point loss in Armagh last time out.

The Kingdom made a strong start to their 2024 campaign with wins over Dublin, Waterford and Cork. After a draw with Mayo, they lost by 3-14 to 1-13 at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds as they were beaten for the first time this season.

But they are still on course for a place in the Division 1 showpiece. Second in the league table, they are a point ahead of both Dublin and Meath, whom they meet in Ashbourne tomorrow (3pm). Their final game is at home to Galway next weekend.

“It’s very much in our own hands whether we make the league final or not. We’ve had an alright start to the league. We’ve only lost one and had three good wins and a draw,” Carmody said.

“Disappointed with how last week went, but we’ve Meath and Galway left, both tough games. We’re happy enough with how the league is going so far.”

A senior debutante for Kerry in 2017, Carmody took a year out to go travelling before returning to the Kingdom fold again for the 2019 inter-county season. A regular presence in their attack since then, she was part of their successes in Division 1 and Division 2 of the Lidl NFL over the past two years and has won a brace of TG4 All-Stars in the same period.

There have also been disappointments for Carmody in the green and gold. She was a starter in Kerry’s TG4 All-Ireland SFC final losses to Meath and Dublin in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Against Dublin, she contributed 0-2 from right half-forward. She also claimed a brace of points when the Kingdom beat the Jackies by 1-8 to 0-6 at Parnell Park in the opening round of this year’s NFL Division 1. For Carmody and Kerry, who are still jointly managed by Declan Quill and Darragh Long, this was the perfect way to move on from their All-Ireland final defeat and build towards another productive season.

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“It was a very disappointing end to last year, but we had a big break for the winter. You go away, you get a chance to go on holidays and meet up with your friends that you don’t get the chance to when you’re in mid-season. You kind of forget about how the year ended and try your best to just look forward to this year and training away again,” she added.

“When it came to the Dublin game, it was just getting the dirty diesel that is accumulated over the winter out of the system. It was great that we got a win over them as well. Last year was last year. We’re fully focused on this year and going one better.”

That five-point league win over the Jackies at Parnell Park represented a significant milestone for Carmody as it was her first match since assuming the captaincy of Kerry. Taking over from 2023 skipper Síofra O’Shea, her club Finuge/St Senan’s were afforded the opportunity to nominate Carmody for the role after their breakthrough senior county championship win last October.

Carmody views it as a great privilege to be able to lead the Kingdom, though she readily acknowledges that there are other leaders in the squad.

“Representing your club and family as the captain of the county is such a fantastic honour. We have a great club in Finuge/St Senan’s. I think it was only 2017 when we were Junior A. We’ve climbed the ranks since then,” she said.

“I’ve two vice-captains in Anna Galvin and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh who are two incredible leaders in the group and very vocal. And you’ve (also got) the likes of Aishling O’Connell, Kayleigh Cronin, Eilís Lynch. You’ve got super girls that have committed so many years to the green and gold. Everyone looks up to them on the panel as well.”

While Carmody has been kept busy on the field of play this year – she has featured in all five of Kerry’s league games so far –life is also proving to be quite hectic off it.

An automation engineer at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Cork, she has taken on a bachelor of engineering course at ATU Sligo, which she is doing online due to her being based on Leeside.

“It’s very handy that way, I can catch up on the lectures when I can and tip away at the assignments, but I don’t actually have to be in class. That has been a lifesaver for me. I don’t think I could do it otherwise,” Carmody added.

“We train Wednesdays and Fridays and you can’t be missing to go to the lectures. I’m very grateful that online courses have become a big thing, so I can juggle it that way. It has been a pretty full on season so far with the captaincy, college and training hard.

“I’m living in Cork, so there’s a good bit of commuting. It’s all go and I’m very busy, but I’m lucky enough as well that as there’s a good few girls in Cork, we can share the driving and have that bit of banter coming down in the car.”

Read more

  • Colm Keys: Cavan’s core catch sight of the Promised Land again

  • John Mullane: Henry Shefflin will have Galway primed to have right cut off Limerick

With ‘dirty diesel’ out of system, Kerry captain Niamh Carmody insists there’s no fear of Kingdom not motoring (2024)
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