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Traditionalism trumps common sense as Kerry clubs vote to keep captaincy rule



The captain of the Kerry senior football team will be selected by the county champions again in 2021 after a motion seeking to defer that decision to the team’s manager was defeated at a county board meeting on Monday night.

It’s not the first time this motion has been shot down (and it might not be the last) but critics of the existing rule were hopeful that this would finally be the year. A number of important voices have openly called for change, most notably ex-players like Tomás Ó Sé and Kieran Donaghy, the previous bainisteoir Eamonn Fitzmaurice and even current players who know what it's like to have the full weight of the captaincy thrust upon them.

Speaking on Monday, Kerry GAA chairman Tim Murphy said that Peter Keane and his management team were also in favour of the motion as “they feel they have been entrusted to represent Kerry and win All-Irelands… [and] they feel the current system doesn’t necessarily allow them the best chance of doing so.”

In the end, 50 clubs listened to the men at the coalface and voted in favour of the motion, but 48 voted against; a majority, but not the two-thirds majority needed to abolish the long-standing practice, which is only adhered to by Kerry and the Kilkenny hurlers.


To be honest, I think it’s fairly remarkable that some club officers assume to know better than Peter Keane when it comes to deciding what’s right for his team. The men making these calls are by and large completely removed from the inner workings of the Kerry senior football team, they don't know how an intercounty dressing room works in 2020, and they don't understand the kind of pressure modern-day footballers are under. Surely it makes sense to listen to the people who do?

There’s no denying that certain delegates from championship contenders voted to stick with the status quo because the current system is likely to result in footballers from their own clubs being nominated in the future, and to an extent I get that. We all want one of our own to captain Kerry. It’s a big deal for any club. Naturally, this being Kerry, thoughts immediately turn to August and the prospect of a homecoming.

But are officers really comfortable with potentially hurting the chances of their county winning an All-Ireland just to improve the chances of their own club having a captain?

There seems to be this attitude in certain quarters that all is rosy in Kerry’s garden, and that there’s no need to alter the way we do things. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is a common refrain around these parts. That’s all well and good – unless, of course, it actually is broken.

This might come as a shock to Kerry supporters of a certain vintage but the 1980s (aka The Golden Years) were 40 years ago. Things haven’t been so spectacular since.

Powered by all-time greats like Colm Cooper, Seámus Moynihan and the Ó Sé brothers, Kerry won five All-Irelands in the 2000s but the 1990s (one All-Ireland) and the 2010s (one All-Ireland) were the county’s two least successful decades since the 1890s.

Of course, allowing the county champions to choose the Kerry captain isn’t the sole root of these relatively barren spells, but you have to ask yourself the question: has it helped?


Looking at the recent past in particular, it's clear that the system has failed. Of the last six nominated captains, five have not started in, or have been dropped for, Kerry’s final game in that year’s championship. The other was withdrawn at half-time.

When Kerry needed leadership in their biggest moments, more often than not their nominated captain wasn’t even on the pitch.

And that’s not to be critical of any of the guys in question. They are all excellent players and in many cases they simply had the captaincy imposed upon them at inopportune times, when they were either new to the team or not guaranteed starters. In other instances, they were simply unlucky.

Back in 2018, Shane Murphy was captain on his championship debut. Whatever about the team, how is that fair on him?

That same year, Micheál Burns was handed the captaincy in Murphy’s absence and he later admitted that it adversely affected his performance. Maybe it was "time to look for the most experienced and well-placed person”, he noted.

In recent years, being asked to captain Kerry was a bit like being asked to sleep with the Queen. It’s a great honour, but no one wanted to do it.

David Clifford may well have captained Kerry at some stage if it were up to the manager, but at 21 years of age? I don’t think it will phase him because he’s a freak of nature and nothing does, but if the Kerry captain was selected by general election then I doubt Clifford would have put his name on the ballot. Not yet, anyway.

I find it bizarre that club officials in Kerry will readily sign off on large sums of money for the latest gym equipment, nutritionists and sports psychologists, presumably to give their team every possible edge in a sport that has become increasingly aware of the fine margins, but when it comes to something as fundamental as choosing a team captain, they’re willing to leave it to chance.

This week’s outcome is a disappointing one for many observers, although in truth I doubt anyone is massively surprised.

This is the GAA, after all, where blind traditionalism often trumps basic common sense.


ABOVE: Shane Murphy leads Kerry out on his championship debut against Clare in 2018. Pic: Matt Browne/Sportsfile.



Gleeson Dental now offering facial aesthetics

Gleeson Dental, located on St Anthony’s Place, is now offering facial aesthetics. It is the latest offering from the town centre practice. Dr Susan Gleeson graduated as a general dental […]



Gleeson Dental, located on St Anthony’s Place, is now offering facial aesthetics.

It is the latest offering from the town centre practice.

Dr Susan Gleeson graduated as a general dental surgeon 27 years ago.

She previously worked in England and Cork before returning home to Killarney in 2009 to take over her father’s dental practice with her sister Katie.

“More recently, I decided to pursue my keen interest in facial aesthetics. Hence, I embarked on an intensive training course,” she told the Killareny Advertiser.
“This mentorship is under the guidance of Dr Sheila Li, a Harley Street based dentist with over 10 years’ experience in facial aesthetics. Every year following an interview process, Sheila takes on six trainees and I was lucky enough to get this amazing training opportunity.”
The course is a year-long process involving in-depth learning and hands-on clinical training days in Dr Sheila’s Harley Street clinic.
The course, also, extends to treatment planning cases with Dr Sheila, thus allowing access to her vast knowledge when planning treatments for Dr Gleeson’s patients.
“Therefore, I am now able to offer a vast array of facial aesthetic treatments at Gleeson Dental. These treatments include the use of Botox to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to this, Botox has a wide range of additional applications, including the treatment of tooth grinding, headaches, gummy smiles, neck bands and excessive underarm sweating,” she added.
Dermal filler treatments are, also, available to treat issues related to volume loss while skin booster treatments such as Sunekos and Profhilo can be used to regenerate and rehydrate tired looking skin.
Facial aesthetics may conjure up images of over-filled expressionless people but Susan hopes to change people’s view of it.


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Killarney postcode V93 home to the county’s most-expensive properties

With properties both for rent and for sale in short supply, prices in the Killarney area have remained strong. In fact, houses with the V93 eircode were, once again, the […]




With properties both for rent and for sale in short supply, prices in the Killarney area have remained strong.

In fact, houses with the V93 eircode were, once again, the most expensive homes in Kerry over the past 12 months according to data published by the CSO Residential Property Price Index. The report shows that in the year to December 2023, the average cost of buying a home in Kerry was €242,000 up 5% from the previous year’s figure of €230,000
Nationally that figure now stands at €327,000.
The average house price within the V93 eircode region was €284,000, 17% approx. above the average price for a home within the county.
With supply levels at an all time low and with very little new construction in the pipeline, there is little sign of this changing in the immediate term.

Commenting on the market, Ted Healy of DNG, has expressed concern with the low volume of properties available for sale at present.
‘We have lots of interested buyers seeking property in the Killarney area but unfortunately, we cannot satisfy the demand at present. The past 12 months has seen us securing sales in record time for record levels.”

DNG Ted Healy will be launching a new development of townhouses in the Woodlawn area to the market in the coming months and report that demand is exceptionally high.
The expect these properties to sell out in record time.
And with construction due to commence shortly on another scheme of detached houses on Muckross Road, it is looking like a busy year ahead.
However, this will not be enough to satisfy the demand at present. Properties within the V93 area are highly sought after and in very short supply, resulting in strong prices being achieved.
So is now a good time to sell your property? Yes, according to DNG Ted Healy who is actively seeking properties for sale to satisfy their ever expanding list of buyers.


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