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Who will make your County Championship Team of the Decade?

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As East Kerry’s spectacular county final victory over Dr Crokes brings the final curtain down on the 2010s, it’s time to reflect on a historic decade for the Kerry Senior Football Championship.

From Crokes’ four-in-row to Austin Stacks’ and South Kerry’s sole triumphs, and Crokes domination again to East Kerry ending their 20-year famine, it has been a period of great entertainment and high quality for Kerry football’s showpiece tournament.

Some of the finest Kerry footballers of all time have played starring roles for their respective teams over the past 10 years; now we must bring them all together and crown the Team of the Decade.

In two weeks’ time, the Killarney Advertiser will name a dream team of 15 superstars and we want to hear from our readers. Of all the players who have lined out in the County Championship since 2010, who would make your perfect team?

To vote for your favourites, simply email your 15 (one goalkeeper, six backs, two midfielders and six forwards) to sport@killarneyadvertiser.ie. Closing date for submissions is next Friday, November 29. Your votes will be tallied and combined with those of Killarney Advertiser sports editor Adam Moynihan and long-time Killarney Advertiser sports columnist Eamonn Fitzgerald.

The Team of the Decade will then be announced in the Killarney Advertiser on December 6.

“Some unbelievable players have graced the Kerry Senior Football Championship in the last 10 years so it’ll be very hard to whittle it down to just the bare 15,” Adam said.

“Dr Crokes have been dominant so you would expect a number of their lads to make the cut, but there have also been memorable performances from guys who were maybe less successful in terms of titles. The great thing about picking a team like this is that it’s totally subjective, so one reader might include players I never even thought of and vice versa. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s teams. There are bound to be some surprises.”

Adam confirmed that every player who has played senior County Championship since 2010 is eligible for selection, although he did urge readers to choose players in their correct positions where possible.

“There will be no Brian Howards in this team!” he joked. “Some allowances will be made but generally speaking we want forwards in the forwards and backs in the backs. If a guy has played more than one position then naturally we’ll take that into account but you certainly can’t put Gooch corner back just to fit everyone in. That carry on will be frowned upon.”

Get involved and make sure your favourite players get the credit they deserve.

How to vote

Send your Kerry SFC Team of the Decade (numbered 1-15) to sport@killarneyadvertiser.ie by Friday, November 29!

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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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68% of fans say penalty shootouts ‘not right’ for Gaelic football

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by Adam Moynihan

Local Gaelic football supporters are largely against the practice of deciding matches with penalty shootouts, a poll carried out by the Killarney Advertiser can reveal.

Over two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed said they don’t think that penalties are “right” for the GAA with the remaining 32% standing on the other side of the fence.

Traditionally exclusive to the game of soccer, penalty shootouts were first introduced to Kerry GAA competitions in 2020 as a method of settling fixtures “on the day”. This was deemed necessary as there was less time for replays due to the profound effect the coronavirus pandemic had on last year’s sporting calendar.

A number of high-profile Kerry club matches have gone to penalties since they were introduced, including last season’s County League final between Austin Stacks and Rathmore, last month’s Kerry SFC Round 1 match between Legion and Spa, and Saturday’s county semi-final between Stacks and St Brendan’s.

Stacks emerged victorious in that televised last four clash as former Kerry player Kieran Donaghy scored the winning kick to send the Tralee club through to the final.

Before penalty shootouts became the norm, drawn GAA matches either went to a replay or to extra-time and then a replay if necessary.

Sorting a match out on the day is now commonplace, although some observers have voiced concerns about introducing what is effectively a soccer exercise to Gaelic games. When asked for their thoughts on penalties, a number of respondents to our survey made the same or similar observations.

“Penalties do not encapsulate the basic skills of Gaelic football,” one reader said. “Kicking from the hand is the key fundamental skill of the sport so that seems a more fair and apt way to decide a game.”

Another fan commented: “Penalties are for soccer. Marks are for Aussie Rules. Can we come up with anything ourselves?”

On the other hand, some respondents said that penalties were “fine” and a few suggested that they be used for any game bar a final.

Kerry GAA have confirmed that the upcoming county final and relegation playoff will go to replays if the sides are level after 60 minutes. However, next Saturday’s intermediate final between Na Gaeil and Beaufort will go all the way to penalties if required.

OTHER OPTIONS

When asked to select the “best” alternative method of deciding a Gaelic football match from a list provided by the Killarney Advertiser, over 40% of the people surveyed opted for a free-taking shootout from 35 metres.

‘More extra-time’ was the second most popular option with 23.61% of the vote.

An additional period of ‘next score wins’ was next up on just under 20%, with a 1 v 1 ice-hockey-style shootout, which would see the kicker carry the ball in hand before shooting for goal, was selected by 16% of supporters.

Whether or not the GAA are open to changing things up is uncertain. For the time-being at least, it appears as though football matches will continue to be decided using this controversial method.

Killarney Advertiser Penalty Shootout Poll (carried out online on November 23/24)

Are penalty shootouts right for Gaelic football?

Yes 31.94%

No 68.06%

If a replay is not possible, which of these alternative methods of settling a match is best:

Free-taking shootout from 35 metres 40.28%​

More extra time 23.61%

Next score wins 19.44%

1 v 1 ice-hockey-style shootout (ball in hand) 16.67%

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