Traditionally speaking, being named captain of Kerry is one of the greatest honours in Irish sport. In any given year you basically have a 68% chance of winning a Munster Championship, and a 28% chance of lifting the Sam McGuire Cup in September. Lead Kerry to glory and you join the likes of Ogie Moran, Páidí Ó Sé and Séamus Moynihan in the history books. Why would you not want the job?
Kerry are one of only two counties who still ask their reigning county champions to nominate a captain and while it could hardly be argued that the practice has been a hindrance on the balance of history, many observers (and players) have questioned aloud whether or not it’s time for a change. And not without good reason.
In the past five years or so the Kerry captaincy – and I say it reluctantly - has become something of a poisoned chalice (and not just because of Dublin’s irritating period of domination). Colm Cooper captained Kerry in 2013 and although that particular year ended in heartache, Gooch started in all and top-scored in three of the team’s five championship games.
It would be fair to say that it has not been plain sailing for Kerry captains since.
2014 to 2018
Dr Crokes ace Kieran O’Leary was handed the role in 2014 but he didn’t start in the championship. Clubmate Fionn Fitzgerald was captain on the field, although Leary did play a captain’s role off the bench in the semi-final against Mayo when he kicked a crucial point to force a replay. The Crokes pair subsequently accepted the Sam McGuire together after defeating Donegal in the decider so the year was far from disastrous for Leary, but he would naturally have preferred to feature more prominently.
Kieran Donaghy was named captain for 2015 on the back of Austin Stacks’ 2014 County Final triumph and the Tralee man started throughout the Munster Championship. Things turned sour, however, when he was dropped for Gooch in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Kildare. He was recalled for the semi-final versus Tyrone but he was whipped at half-time and the skipper relinquished his starting berth for the final, which Kerry lost to Dublin.
St Mary’s and South Kerry talisman Bryan Sheehan took the reins in 2016 but he suffered a similar fate to his predecessor. The dead ball expert started in Munster but lost his place for the All-Ireland series, only seeing 10-15 minutes of action against Clare in the quarters and Dublin in the semis.
Next up was Johnny Buckley and the tireless Crokes player is unique amongst Kerry captains of the past five years in that he actually started at the business end of the campaign. Buckley lined out at centre forward against Galway and both semi-finals against Mayo, although he was substituted at half-time in the replay. The following year the then-28-year-old stepped away from the Kerry set-up altogether due to work commitments.
Experienced corner back Fionn Fitzgerald took over the responsibility at the beginning of 2018 but he barely played at all apart from a couple of National League appearances in the spring. Rookie keeper Shane Murphy took the mantle and he led the side to Munster glory, but his year also ended in disappointment when he was dropped for the final two games of the Super 8s.
So, taking all of that into account, who actually wants to captain Kerry this year?
One thing we know for sure is that it will be a Crokes man again in 2019 as the latest motion to do away with the current system was defeated (again) at a recent convention.
Murphy is a good candidate; I thought he managed the role well in his debut season. But he will have to battle it out with Brian Kelly for the number one jersey and it’s impossible to tell at this juncture whom Peter Keane is likely to favour.
Gavin White, who filled in at the end of last season, seems like a natural choice simply because he was one of Kerry’s most consistent performers in 2018 and he should be a starter again this time out.
Micheál Burns, the other main candidate, grabbed national headlines late last year when he publicly questioned the tradition, saying that it might be “time to look for the most experienced and well-placed person”. Interestingly, he also said that being handed the captaincy in Murphy’s absence (against Galway in the league) had an adverse effect on his performance. Having said that, I’m sure he would gladly accept the honour if he gets the nod.
My understanding is that the Kerry players are generally in favour of changing the selection process, and I know that if I were Peter Keane I definitely wouldn't want such a significant decision to be made on my behalf. And it is a significant decision. People talk down the importance of a captain but whenever I play I’m always very aware of who my captain is. A good captain can set the tone and provide inspiration in times of need, both on and off the pitch.
In the modern era we’re hyper-conscious of how fine the margins are between success and failure, so I find it staggering that we, as a county, are leaving anything to chance.
Don’t get me wrong, Shane, Gavin and Micheál are quality players and whoever gets the nod could well be a fantastic captain and leader for Kerry in 2019. But surely the manager is best placed to make that decision?
Traditions are nice and all but when it comes down to it we have to choose what’s more important: history or the future.
KERRY CAPTAINS SINCE 2000
2018 Fionn Fitzgerald/Shane Murphy/Gavin White (Dr Crokes)
2017 Johnny Buckley (Dr Crokes)
2016 Bryan Sheehan (South Kerry)
2015 Kieran Donaghy (Austin Stacks)
2014 Kieran O’Leary/Fionn Fitzgerald (Dr Crokes)
2013 Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes)
2012 Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes)
2011 Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes)
2010 Bryan Sheehan (South Kerry)
2009 Darran O'Sullivan/Donnchadh Walsh (Mid Kerry)
2008 Tomás Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht)
2007 Declan O'Sullivan (South Kerry)
2006 Declan O'Sullivan (South Kerry)
2005 Declan O'Sullivan South (Kerry)
2004 Dara Ó Cinnéide (An Ghaeltacht)
2003 Declan Quill/Mike McCarthy (Rahilly’s/Kilcummin)
2002 Darragh Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht)
2001 Eoin Brosnan/Séamus Moynihan (Dr Crokes/Glenflesk)
2000 Séamus Moynihan (Glenflesk)
Pic: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
No 2021 return for Killarney on Ice
By Michelle Crean Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year. Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year. […]
By Michelle Crean
Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year.
Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year.
Rising case numbers, uncertain COVID-19 restrictions, and insurance challenges have been the main drivers behind the decision not to open, according to the company.
As Kerry’s only festive ice rink, the facility has brought much fun and life to the town over the years, attracting thousands of people from all over the county, and indeed the whole country, with many families coming to stay overnight in Killarney and enjoying all that this great town has to offer.
As well as friends and families coming to skate, schools, youth clubs, sports teams and employees of local companies use the group booking discount rate to plan sessions on the ice, and Killarney on Ice would like to thank them all for their continuing loyalty.
“We sincerely hope to be back better and stronger in 2022, and we look forward to welcoming all of our valued customers,” Tim O’Donoghue, the promoter of the rink, told the Killarney Advertiser.
“In the meantime, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”
10 new jobs announced for Kerry County Council
The Government has approved 10 new posts for Kerry County Council to assist with the delivery of their social housing targets. The news was announced today (Friday) as part of the Government’s new housing plan ‘Housing for All’ which commits to strengthening the capacity of Local Authorities to initiate, design, plan, develop and manage housing projects. The plan […]
The Government has approved 10 new posts for Kerry County Council to assist with the delivery of their social housing targets.
The news was announced today (Friday) as part of the Government’s new housing plan ‘Housing for All’ which commits to strengthening the capacity of Local Authorities to initiate, design, plan, develop and manage housing projects.
The plan acknowledges that this requires the resourcing of housing delivery teams and the posts being announced include a wide range of positions from engineers to quantity surveyors and architects with provision also made for the necessary administrative resources.
“I welcome this announcement by my Cabinet colleague Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien,” Minister Foley said.
“Housing is a key priority for Government and these new posts are an endorsement of the excellent work carried out by Kerry County Council and a deserved recognition of their continued commitment to providing social housing to all local communities across Kerry.”
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