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How should we spell the names of Kerry’s top GAA clubs?

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by Adam Moynihan

Here’s a trivia question for you. Four teams remain in the Kerry Senior Football Championship. Spell their names.

It sounds simple but it’s actually quite tricky, especially if you take heed of the great sportswriter Con Houlihan, who once said that “a man who will misuse an apostrophe is capable of anything”.

Let’s start with the “easy” one. St Brendan’s. Former Sem students will know that an apostrophe is required. An open and shut case. But the official St Brendan’s Board Twitter account is St Brendans Board (no apostrophe), and the official Kerry GAA Eolaire refers to St. Brendans Committee (also no apostrophe).

Most people would agree that there should be an apostrophe. The board, like the Killarney college, is named for St Brendan. It is, in a manner of speaking, his college and his board. Therefore, it is St Brendan’s College and St Brendan’s Board. Without the apostrophe, it is ‘Brendans’ plural. Is the implication that the district is stacked with saints?

With that in mind, let us consider Dr Crokes. This is the usual spelling (no apostrophe) that is used by the club and by most journalists. However, this again suggests a club made up of multiple ‘Crokes’, rather than the club of Dr Croke. Maybe that’s the point, but the Killarney outfit are named for Archbishop Thomas William Croke in the same way that Brendan’s are named for St Brendan. Why should it be St Brendan’s Board but not Dr Croke’s GAA Club? Does one need to be canonised before earning an apostrophe?

The same applies to Austin Stacks, who confirmed to me this week that they prefer not to use an apostrophe. The club is named after the Irish republican Austin Stack and so, technically, you could argue that it should be called Austin Stack’s GAA Club. And that’s a version that has been spotted in the past. I happen to have a Rockies jersey from 2010 for sale on Vintage GAA Jerseys (never miss an opportunity for a free plug) and the name on the crest has an apostrophe (pictured). The apostrophe does not appear on the current crest and it is not normally used by the media, although it is not completely unheard of.

Things become even more complicated when we cross Tralee to Strand Road. Kerins O’Rahillys refer to themselves as such (no apostrophe) on their website and on their official Twitter account. Some journalists – this one included – have been known to use Kerins O’Rahilly’s. However, when you think about it, if that’s the route we’re taking then one apostrophe isn’t enough. The club is named for two men, Charlie Kerins and Michael Joseph O’Rahilly, so, grammatically speaking, should it actually be Kerins’ O’Rahilly’s? Or Kerins’/O’Rahilly’s?

If either of those options look wrong to you, I’m with you. The same goes for Croke’s and Stack’s. They’re jarring because they are not commonly used, and perhaps we are talking about a team or a club of many Crokes and Stacks and Kerinses and Rahillys when we talk about these powerhouses of Kerry GAA.

Ending names in ‘apostrophe + s’ also makes things tricky for me as a sportswriter. It is much cleaner to write, “Dr Crokes’ best player on the day was…” than “Dr Croke’s’ best player on the day was…”

In 2015, Ulster GAA tackled this very issue by producing a document with the official names of every club in the province, in Irish and in English. Apostrophes were adopted across the board. Robert Emmet’s in Tyrone, Red Hugh’s in Donegal, Laurence O’Toole’s in Armagh.

Would it be worth doing the same in Kerry? Even if all apostrophes were officially abolished (with Crokes, Stacks and Rahillys, as well as the likes of John Mitchels and Crotta O’Neills, keeping their current spellings), at least it would remove all doubt.

There are two county semi-finals on this weekend and there's a strong possibility that each of the teams involved will read an “incorrect” version of their names in some outlet or another.

To some, this might only be a small thing. Well, it is and it isn’t. Your name is your name. Surely it’s better for everyone to get it right than for some of us to keep getting it wrong.

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Lakers add Boahen as Miller returns to Canada

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Scotts Lakers (St Paul’s) have replaced one Canadian with another this week as Division 1 graduate Godwin Boahen replaces the outgoing Ben Miller.

Miller impressed despite the team’s slow start to the season and he will certainly be a loss as he returns to his native country.

However, the club have a ready replacement in former University of Illinois player Boahen. The 5’11” guard from Toronto made his debut against the Panthers last weekend as he and Miller shared minutes in a six-point defeat. Boahen scored 16 points.

“The club would like to wish Ben Miller well as he returns home to his native Canada this week,” an official Lakers statement read. “We would like to acknowledge the impact Ben had on the club through his involvement with the National League senior men’s team and his coaching of the club’s juveniles.

“We would like to thank him most sincerely for his time and effort.”

The Lakers face the Limerick Sport Eagles and the Limerick Celtics at home in December along with an away derby game against the Killarney Cougars at the end of the month.

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Relegation battle has town divided

By Sean Moriarty This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town. After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle […]

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By Sean Moriarty

This is bigger than the county final itself – with the main prize on offer being bragging rights in the town.

After an unprecedented run of events during this year’s Kerry Senior Football championship Killarney’s two biggest clubs, Dr Crokes and Killarney Legion are set to face off in a relegation battle that is sure to divide the town.

In sporting terms, the outcome of the big game, set for December 5, is simple enough. The winner stays in the Senior Championship next season and the losers will have to play in the Intermediate Championship.

Fans of the black and amber or the green and white face an anxious week. Winning the county title is one thing – consigning your cross town rivals to second division football in football is altogether a bigger prize.

Senior officials from both clubs are being very guarded on a potential outcome as both sides know the significance of this play off.

“It is a pity that two Killarney clubs, with a long tradition of playing football in the top tier, find themselves in the position of having to play off to avoid relegation,” Matt O’Neill, Cathaoirleach of Dr Crokes, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Both teams will fight tooth and nail to stay in the senior ranks. I am confident that on Sunday week our lads will do themselves and the club proud, as always, and give their all in the quest to keep the black and amber to the fore.”

Crokes are based off the Lewis Road with Legion a short distance away on the other side of the bypass.

“Everyone has an opinion on this,” Legion PRO, Elaine O’Donoghue, told the Killarney Advertiser. “Both sides will be nervous – may the best team win. There are a lot of questions, are the Crokes suffering after defeat to Kerins O’Rahillys [in the semi-final]? Are our lads suffering after losing to St Brendan’s for the third year in a row?”

Every football fan will be keeping a close eye on next weekend’s Intermediate County Final too which takes place on December 4.

The winners of the match between Beaufort and Tralee side Na Gael will be automatically promoted to replace the losers of the Killarney play-off in the Senior Championship next season.

Should Beaufort prevail, a (relatively) local team could replace a town team in the top flight.

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