The final of the last year’s East Kerry Super League took place on Sunday, over a year after the tournament began in February of 2018.
The Super League is effectively a pre-season tournament which is sometimes billed as good preparation for the real stuff, i.e. the County League which starts in March and the Club Championship which is played in the month of in April.
But that’s not how the players feel. When I spoke to players about the fixtures crisis late last year, they were universally in favour of scrapping the Super League. It was described to me as a series of “glorified challenge matches” on numerous occasions and many felt that it the tournament was merely taking up weekends in an already over-crowded schedule.
The bottom line is that it’s not taken at all seriously by players and very few clubs, if any, see value in it.
Timeline of Events
Last year’s Super League kicked off on February 11. The competition was comprised of Division 1 (two groups of five) and Division 2 (one group of four). The winner of Division 1A was to play the winner of Division 1B in the Division 1 final, with the top two in Division 2 facing off in the Division 2 final.
That’s three or four games for the 10 teams who didn’t reach the final and four or five for the four teams who did.
So how did a tournament that requires teams to play a maximum of five fixtures take all of 53 weeks to conclude?
Here’s a quick run down of how things panned out. Dr Crokes won their first three games in Division 1B by an average margin of 19.3 points. It’s hard to imagine how results like that are good preparation for the teams on the receiving end of such drubbings, and games like that hardly do Crokes any favours either.
Kilcummin gave a walkover to Rathmore on February 27 and a number of games were called off due to inclement weather on March 4.
Fixtures were still being played in all three groups in May, three months after the tournament began. Spa beat Cordal in the Division 2 final on May 20.
Crokes reached an agreement with Legion that their County League game on June 16 would double as the pair’s final Super League game. Crokes won that match by five points and so topped Division 1B with four wins from four.
The outcome of Division 1A was still unclear well into June. Three teams were still in contention. Fossa and Glenflesk were scheduled to play on June 24 with the winner to face Listry in a playoff to see who would top the group, but that match was postponed. All teams involved were expecting the tournament to eventually be played out at some stage in 2018.
Towards the end of the year you had a situation where Glenflesk were out of everything else, so the only remaining fixtures they had were in the Super League. How can you expect a group of players to hang around indefinitely for one more game, when that game is probably one of the least important games they’ll play all year? It’s ridiculous.
Fossa v Glenflesk was eventually played two weeks ago on February 3, 2019, doubling as group game for this year’s Super League. Glenflesk won so they played Listry on Sunday in the Division 1A playoff, which also trebled as both the 2018 Super League final and a 2019 group game. Glenflesk won.
(Presumably Division 1B winners Crokes were left off the hook, so to speak, because of their ongoing involvement in the All-Ireland Club Championship.)
So far in this year's tournament, All-Ireland Intermediate champions Kilcummin have already given walkover and teams are once again trying to double up Super League games with County League fixtures.
Not Fit for Purpose
The East Kerry Super League is supposed to be a competitive pre-season tournament, but it's not competitive and it isn't being run off in the pre-season. Simply put, it’s not fit for purpose. It occupies precious weekends in a schedule that is already so packed that it can only be described as a mess.
Teams clearly don’t care about it. If they did then they wouldn’t give walkovers, they wouldn’t be trying to double fixtures up with important games in other competitions, and it wouldn’t take over 12 months to run off a tournament that only requires teams to play four or five games in total.
As I’ve said before, the fixtures crisis isn’t the East Kerry Board’s fault. The entire GAA calendar needs a radical overhaul from start to finish. But as things stand in this part of the world, if the East Kerry league and championship were played off in a timely fashion, players would at least be guaranteed a decent break between one season and the next.
The O’Donoghue Cup is a fantastic tournament with great history, but there’s no denying that it has lost some of its shine in recent times. The fact that the competition didn’t finish until a few days before Christmas last year infuriated players and the consensus locally is that something has to change.
It remains to be seen how things will work out this year but one interesting solution for 2020 might be to combine the Super League and the O’Donoghue Cup to form one efficiently-run group and knockout championship. That way we’d have one East Kerry tournament that works, instead of two that don’t.
Pic: Séamus Healy.
Maine Valley Golf Club raises €13,050
Maine Valley Members Golf Club hosted a Comfort for Chemo Golf Fundraiser in memory of Kathy Scannell. The fundraiser was a great success raising €13,050. Clonkeen Forestry Services sponsored the event, and a cheque was presented to Mary Fitzgerald, Paul McCarthy and Mary Horgan on behalf of Comfort for Chemo.
Maine Valley Members Golf Club and Clonkeen Forestry services would like to thank all those who sponsored T-boxes, golf teams, and those who purchased tickets for the event. They would also like to thank Tom Barry from Killarney Printing for all the print works.
Dóchas Drama Group’s series of short plays is go!
The Dóchas Drama Group will run a series of short plays at the Muckross Schoolhouse from December 5 to 7. The group’s annual performance has been switched to the Muckross […]
The Dóchas Drama Group will run a series of short plays at the Muckross Schoolhouse from December 5 to 7.
The group’s annual performance has been switched to the Muckross venue as its traditional base – the ballroom in the Killarney Avenue Hotel is being refurbished.
“If you are fed up with the incessant rain and constant bad news. Do you need a break? Are tired of listening to advice about your Christmas cake recipe? There is a perfect solution,” said the group’s Liz Ryan.
“We will present six short plays and some of the questions you may ask yourself are:
“Why is Jane suddenly so honest?
“What did happen on December 9. Will Tiffany be promoted? Will Mags eventually find love?
“Can lost love be re-kindled? What do grandparents get up to when they’re babysitting?
For answers to these questions and more, come along to Muckross Schoolhouse on December 5, 6 and 7.”
Maine Valley Golf Club raises €13,050
Maine Valley Members Golf Club hosted a Comfort for Chemo Golf Fundraiser in memory of Kathy Scannell. The fundraiser was...
Dóchas Drama Group’s series of short plays is go!
The Dóchas Drama Group will run a series of short plays at the Muckross Schoolhouse from December 5 to 7....
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