Secretary's Report to Convention 2019
Tuarascail an Runaí - CLG Chiarraí 2019
Seo dhibh mo thuarascáil ar ímeachtaí Cumann Lúthchleas Gael i gCiarraí i rith na mbliana 2019. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a gharbáil do gach éinne a chabhraigh liom i rith na bliana.
Another action packed year for Kerry GAA. Our Senior Footballers under new manager Peter Keane, provided us with plenty thrills & spills, reaching the Allianz League Final, capturing the Munster Senior championship and of course reaching the All-Ireland Senior Final for the first time since 2015.
It was a heroic challenge against a great Dublin team in the Final with a replay required two weeks later to decide the honours. In the end Dublin prevailed and we congratulate them on sealing five in a row All-Ireland senior titles
Well done and heartiest congratulations to all involved with this Kerry team, our brilliant players and great management and backroom teams. You did the County proud and we’re already looking forward to the 2020 championship where no doubt we will be serious contenders for the top honours.
The amazing winning streak of our minor footballers finally came to an end when we were beaten by Galway in the All-Ireland Minor Semi-Final. To go unbeaten in 34 championship matches over a period of nearly six years is something that will probably never be achieved again at this level. While this was of little consolation to the 2019 team, they still won a Munster title in great style and can look forward to many years of success on the playing fields.
Our Under 20 team went down to eventual All-Ireland Champions Cork and we take this opportunity to thank outgoing team Manager Jack O Connor, who has contributed so much to Kerry teams at all levels over the years. Thanks Jack and we wish you the very best of luck in your new role with Kildare.
Our Junior Footballers continued their incredible run of success achieving their own five in a row All-Ireland titles beating Galway in the final. Well done to outgoing team manager Jimmy Keane and his fellow selectors and backroom team and to all the players involved.
On the hurling front our Seniors put up a brave show in both League and Championship and were somewhat unlucky to come up short in both competitions. Our Under 20’s retained the Richie McElligott Cup in great style while our Minors achieved success in the Celtic Challenge. Well done to all the players and management teams involved.
On the home front Causeway won the Senior Hurling Championship for the first time in twenty-one years and East Kerry breached a twenty-year gap to claim the Bishop Moynihan Cup in the Football Championship. Kilcummin and Beaufort won All-Ireland Club titles at Intermediate & Junior level, with Dr. Crokes reaching the Senior Club Final going down on the day to a brilliant Corofin side from Galway.
Off the field the GAA in Kerry continues to flourish. Austin Stack Park thanks to a tremendous effort by the local Committee continues to develop its facilities while our Centre of Excellence in Currans is proving to be a huge asset for the County.
On the Field
Kerry who did not compete in the 2019 McGrath Cup got their year off to a winning start with a four point victory over Tyrone in Round 1 of the Allianz Football League played in Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney on Sunday January 27.
With new rules such as the ‘Mark’ & ‘Sin Bin’ being trialled for the League, there was great interest on what effect these would have on the upcoming games. By and large the ‘Mark’ & ‘Sin Bin’ were well received and along with the kick out from the 21 meter line would subsequently be passed into general rule at a special Congress held in October.
In Round 2 of the League played on Feb 3, we secured a fine victory away to Cavan wining on a final score line of 0-16 to 0-13.
In Round 3 played on Sat 9 Feb we welcomed reigning All-Ireland Champions Dublin to Austin Stack Park. A full house witnessed a great game with Kerry securing a one point victory at the death. Final Score Kerry 1-18, Dublin 2-14.
Three wins out of three was a tremendous start for this young team and our run of victories continued in Round 4 when we played Galway in Tuam on Sun February 24. Another one point win (0-14 – 1-10) kept us on track for qualification for the League Final.
A home game in Fitzgerald Stadium against Monaghan played on Sunday March 3 resulted in a 4 point victory for the Kingdom in Round 5. In Round 6 we hosted Mayo in Austin Stack Park on Sat 16 March. Despite heavy rain, a huge crowd turned out to see if Kerry could maintain their 100% record. However, a spirited performance by the westerners resulted in a first defeat for Kerry in this year’s League. Final score: Mayo 1-10, Kerry 0- 11.
Despite this setback we headed to Roscommon for our Round 7 game on Sunday March 24, knowing that a victory would secure qualification for the League Final. Our team duly obliged overcoming Roscommon on a score line of 2-17 to 0-13.
The League final was played in Croke Park on Sunday March 31 against Mayo. While Kerry performed well during the game, a late surge by a more experienced Mayo team got them over the line. Playing in a League Final in Croke Park against Mayo was a great experience and lessons learned stood to us later in the year. Final score in the League Final, Kerry 2-10, Mayo 3-11.
Following the April break for the Club Championships, attention quickly turned to the Munster & All-Ireland Championship. A serious knee injury to Peter Crowley was a major setback to our preparations, however with a very talented if somewhat inexperienced squad, supporters looked forward to the summer championship fare.
First up was s tricky away fixture in the Munster Championship Semi-Final against Clare on Saturday June 1. As the rain poured down on that evening fixture in Ennis, Kerry took control from the start and despite a late rally from the home side, emerged victorious on a score of 1-15 to 0-12.
The Munster Final clash against old rivals Cork played on Sat June 22 in the splendid Pairc Ui Caoimh, provided an altogether sterner test for Kerry. We finally emerged winners on a score line of 1-19 to 3-10, but not without having to put in a massive effort. A man of the match performance by Stephen O Brien and some very cool and calm play towards the end of the game swung it for the Kingdom.
As Provincial champions Kerry looked forward to the Super 8 series with some confidence. A home game in Round 1 against Mayo was always going to be a make or break fixture for Peter Keane’s young charges.
A sun drenched Fitzgerald Stadium, Sunday July 14 and Kerry facing the might of Mayo. A full house ensured an electric atmosphere from the off, and what a performance awaited all by the men in Green & Gold. From the outset Kerry brought the game to Mayo and seemed to grow in confidence with every passing minute. A blistering first half performance had Kerry leading by nine points and the Kingdom would eventually emerge comfortable winners on a score line of 1-22 to 0-15.
The following Sunday Kerry and a fancied Donegal clashed in Round 2 in Croke Park. A great battle from the start with the sides level on numerous occasions. When Paul Murphy put Kerry in the lead in the fourth minute of injury time, Kerry supporters thought victory had been secured, but a minute later, Donegal’s Michael Murphy pointed a long range free to ensure the spoils were shared on a score of 1-20 each.
With a win and a draw under our belts we faced an away trip to Meath in the final round, knowing victory would see us through to the All-Ireland Semi-Finals. The game in Navan played on Saturday August 3 was always going to be a real tester and it took a brilliant goal by Sean O Shea in the second half to finally help Kerry gain the upper hand. A final score line of 2-18 to 1-13 slightly flattered Kerry, but the important thing was the Kingdom were in the All-Ireland Semi-final the following weekend for a meeting with Tyrone.
Sunday August 11 and all eyes turned to Croke Park to see if Kerry could overcome Tyrone and reach their first All-Ireland final since 2015. A rather subdued attendance witnessed a pedestrian first half with Kerry struggling to break through the massed Tyrone defence.
However, the second half proved much more fruitful and with the game hanging by a thread a great goal by Stephen O Brien gave Kerry the vital edge to overcome their northern rivals. A final score line of Kerry 1-18 to Tyrone’s 0-18 proved most satisfactory to all Kerry supporters with a final against Dublin to now look forward to.
So, to the first Sunday in September and an All-Ireland Final against Dublin the excitement was fever pitch in the lead up to the game and what a game it turned out to be. The two best teams in the land went toe to toe from the throw in, a tremendous match that brought out all the best in Gaelic Football. Kerry retired at half time 3 points down but ready to carry the fight to Dublin in the second half. Brilliant performances by so many of our players had Kerry fans at fever pitch as we began reeling in Dublin in that pulsating second half. In the end both sides had chances to secure victory but a draw was a fair result and so back for a replay two weeks later. Final Score, 1-16 each.
Saturday evening, 6pm, September 14 and as referee Conor Lane threw the ball in, Kerry fans throughout the world roared on the Kingdom as we set out to secure a famous victory. A blistering start by the Dubs has us on the back foot for a while but then as the first half progressed our young heros started to find their feet. At half time with the sides level, Kerry supporters were in confident mood. However, a Dublin goal at the start of the second half rattled us. As to be expected from our gallant team, we fought our way back but an outstanding Dublin team gradually pulled away to finish victorious on a score line of 1-18 to O-15.
Two great games that restored a lot of people’s faith in Gaelic Football and we salute both teams for their efforts.
For the Kerry players and Management, to have come so close was heart breaking but the pride and pleasure they gave to all during the year has to be acknowledged. Well done and let’s hope 2020 we can go that one step further and reclaim Sam Maguire.
Our Kerry Minor Football team under new manager James Costello had the unenviable task of maintaining one of the great records in GAA history, going for a six in a row All-Ireland Minor Football titles. In the end it wasn’t to be with Kerry narrowly going down to Galway in the All-Ireland Semi-Final.
This year the Munster Minor Football Championship was played under a new format with the weaker teams playing in a round robin competition first, the winners joining Kerry & Cork in the 2nd phase of the competition with the top two from this phase qualifying for the Final.
Kerry’s first game against Cork, played on Tuesday May 7 in Pairc Ui Rinn, turned out to be a rather one sided affair with Kerry winning on a score of 3-19 to 1-9. Amazingly Cork would go on the win the All-Ireland later in the year, but on this night in May they were well beaten by a very classy Kerry team.
Our next game in phase two of the Munster Minor Championship was against phase one winners Clare. Played in Austin Stack Park in Tralee on Thursday May 23, Kerry struggled to reach the heights achieved in the Cork game, but nevertheless won on a score of 1-16 to 0-11.
The Munster Final was a repeat matchup between Kerry & Cork. Played as the curtain raiser to the Munster Senior Final in Pairc Ui Caoimh on Saturday June 22, this proved a much tighter affair than their previous meeting. It was obvious that Cork were beginning to find their true form and it took a tremendous display by Kerry to capture their seventh Munster title in a row. Final score Kerry 3-14, Cork 2-14.
The All-Ireland Quarter Final played on Sunday July 28 in Tullamore against Tyrone turned out to be a tough encounter with Kerry finding it extremely difficult to break down a well organised Tyrone team. Indeed but for a couple of outstanding saves by Kerry goalie Devon Burns, Kerry would have been in trouble. However, as the game opened up more in the second half Kerry began to prevail and eventually got the better of their gallant rivals to win on a score of 1-12 to 0-9.
While most attention rested on how the Kerry seniors would fare against Tyrone in the All-Ireland Senior Semi-Final in Croke Park on Sun Aug 11, the curtain raiser involved Kerry defending their Minor title against Galway. Unfortunately, it was one of those days when things just did not go Kerry’s way and in the end Galway won by the narrowest of margins. Final score Kerry 0-13, Galway 0-14.
Whilst very disappointed, bad fortune as much as anything else cost Kerry. However, all these players will have lots of opportunities over the coming years to make up for this setback.
Congratulations to all the players involved, our thanks to James Costello and his fellow selectors, his backroom team and to all the families and supporters who followed the team throughout the year.
Since the Under 20 football championship changed format in 2017, Kerry have not enjoyed much luck. With players involved with the senior team ruled out, Manager Jack O Connor has never been able to approach this competition with a full hand. However, that being said, there was no doubt that we were well beaten by a very talented Cork side in the Munster Final played on Thursday July 18 in Pairc Ui Rinn. Cork who proved their worth by going on to win the All-Ireland title outscored Kerry by 3-16 to 0-12.
In the lead up to the final Kerry had overcome Limerick by 0-18 to 1-3, in the Semi-Final played in Austin Stack Park the previous week.
Earlier in the season Kerry competed in an Under 20 regional competition where they played Cork, Dublin & Kildare. While the competition was a good idea, the timing was a bit of a disaster, clashing with Club fixtures and being so compacted that players had no chance to recover before having to face their next game.
2020 sees the competition return to the Spring dates. A retrograde step in my view with players once again having to train and play in the worst time of the year weather wise.
Our thanks to Team manager Jack O Connor, his Management team and all the players for their great commitment and effort.
We welcome new Under 20 team manager John Sugrue on board. We wish John well. It’s good to see new talented coaches coming through for Kerry.
Our Junior Footballers just can’t stop winning and this year was no different claiming their sixth Munster title in a row & five in a row All-Ireland titles.
Team Manager Jimmy Keane in his final year in charge once again put together a very strong team and in the Munster final overcame Cork on a score of 1-14 to O-13. This game was played in Páirc Uí Rinn on Wednesday June 26.
The reward for winning the provincial title was a trip away to Edinburgh to play British Champions Scotland in the All-Ireland Semi-Final. A long and tiring trip over land and water did not prevent Kerry from recording a very decisive victory over our hosts. Final score Kerry 3-20. Scotland 0-7. This game was played on Saturday July 6 and our thanks to Scotland GAA for being great hosts and doing such great work in promoting the game in Scotland.
The Final played on Saturday July 20 in Portlaoise was a repeat of the 2018 Final with Galway. Three second half goals by the Kingdom proved sufficient on the day for Kerry to once again retain the title. Final Score Kerry 3-14, Galway 0-13.
Turning to hurling, the year started with our participation in the Munster Hurling League. It was a great honour to welcome All-Ireland hurling champions Limerick to Austin Stack Park on Thursday December 20, for our first game. A rather bleak night weather wise was lit up by the skill and power of Limerick who coasted to a comfortable victory.
Our thanks to Limerick for bringing along the Liam McCarthy Cup on the night for local hurling enthusiasts to take photos and hold the famous trophy.
An away fixture to Tipperary in Round 2 of the League played in Nenagh on Saturday January 5, proved another tough assignment for Fintan O Connor’s men and Tipperary showed their class with a comprehensive victory.
These games provided good preparation for the upcoming Allianz League Division 2A series with Kerry facing the long trek to Antrim in Round 1, played on Saturday January 26. A four point win on a score line of Kerry 1-21, Antrim 2-16 was recorded, a great start for Kerry is this most competitive division.
In Round 2 we hosted Westmeath in Austin Stack Park on Sunday Feb 3. However, the concession of some soft goals cost us dearly with Westmeath prevailing on a final score of 4-13 to Kerry’s 2-17.
Our Round 3 fixture against Mayo played in Austin Stack Park Tralee on Sunday February 17 gave Kerry an opportunity to get back to winning ways and so it proved with Kerry securing a comprehensive victory, final score Kerry 3-18, Mayo 0-9.
With teams chasing a top two finish to qualify for the final, up next was an away game against London. Played in Ruislip on Saturday February 23, Kerry secured victory on a score of 3-27 to 1-11.
For our final game in the League, we hosted Meath in Austin Stack Park on Sunday March 3. Kerry proved too strong for Meath on the day winning by 3-15 to 0-8, With this victory Kerry qualified for the Division 2A final against Westmeath.
In that Final played in Cusack Park Ennis on Sunday March 10, the stakes were high for both teams with the winners gaining promotion to Division 1 for the 2020 League. A bad day weather wise led to a close contest between two evenly contested sides. At the final whistle it was disappointment for Kerry going down by two points on a score of 0-12 to 0-10.
Following the disappointment of the League Final, Fintan O Connor and his team had no choice but to ready themselves for the upcoming Joe McDonagh Cup. The draw was not kind to Kerry with away games to Antrim and Westmeath in the first two rounds.
Our game against Antrim, played on Saturday May 11 was always going to be a tough assignment and so it proved with the hosts winning on a score of 3-19 to 0-14.
For Kerry to keep their hopes alive they now had to travel to keen rivals Westmeath for their second game. Having gone down to the mid-landers in the League and also in the League Final, Kerry were determined to prove a point.
Inspired by man of the match Shane Conway, Kerry duly delivered defeating their rivals by two points, Kerry 1-21, Westmeath 2-16.
This result put Kerry right back in the mix to contest for final honours and with two home games left to play confidence was high in the team.
Our third round fixture at home to Laois was played in Austin Stack Park on Saturday June 8. On the day while Kerry played well, some serious defensive lapses allowed Laois plunder five goals and with that our hopes of Joe McDonagh glory was over. Final score Kerry 1-21, Laois 5-17.
The fourth and last game of the series generated a lot of interest with the visit of Offaly to Tralee. Defeat for either side meant relegation to the Christy Ring Cup. For former All-Ireland champions Offaly this carried huge ramifications, for Kerry this was an opportunity to show how far hurling has progressed in the county over the last number of years.
In a thrilling encounter, Kerry prevailed wining on a final score line of Kerry 1-18, Offaly 1-16. While disappointed not the have achieved more in both the League and McDonagh Cup, the victory over Offaly was some consolation for this talented team.
Our thanks to all the players, the backroom team and to Fintan O Connor and his Management team for their huge commitment to the cause.
With the former Under 21 age grade now being reduced to Under 20, Kerry approached the All-Ireland Under 20 B Championship confident of achieving a three in a row.
Kerry entered the Championship at the Quarter-Final stage having received a bye in the
Preliminary round. Wicklow provided the opposition and the game was played in Thurles on Saturday July 13.
Kerry proved their class with a comfortable win over the Leinster side, final score Kerry 3-21, Wicklow 0-11.
A hard fought semi-final victory over Meath also played in Thurles on Saturday July 20 on a score of Kerry 2-21, Meath 1-19, ensured a final appearance against Down.
The Final played as a curtain raiser to the Kerry v Meath Super 8 game in Navan on Saturday August 3 turned out to be a rather one sided affair with Kerry securing a three in a row Richie McElligott Cup titles on a final score line of Kerry 3-22, Down 0-12.
Well done to team manager Fintan O Conor, his management team and all the players on their great victory.
In the Celtic Challenge (Under 17 Hurling) competition, having won 2, drawn 1 and lost 1, Kerry qualified for the knockout stages for Division 2. In the Quarter-Finals Kerry beat Waterford while in the Semi-Final we overcame Cork City by 2 points and in the Final played on Saturday June 29, Kerry beat Dublin Clarke on a score of 5-16 to 3-15. Well done to all involved, manager John Hennessy his fellow selectors and all the players.
Our thanks to all our management teams who worked so hard during the year to ensure our teams were always so well prepared. The demands placed on people who take up these positions are huge. Very few people are aware of the sheer time involved so on behalf of all Kerry supporters our sincere thanks to all of you.
Congratulations to Peter Keane and his management team. Newly appointed at the start of the year they did a brilliant job, reaching both the Allianz League Final and All-Ireland Final and winning the Munster Championship. As well as the results, the style and attacking flair of this young team was a joy to behold and all followers of the game were reassured that when played the right way, Gaelic football is a fantastic game.
Well done to Senior Hurling manager Fintan O Connor and his management team for all their efforts. Losing the Division 2A Final was disappointing but our victory over Offaly in the last Round of the Joe McDonagh Cup shows how far Kerry hurling has progressed over the last few years. Retaining the Under 20 Hurling title was another highlight and we look forward to competing in the Munster Under 20 championship in 2020.
Congratulations to Jimmy Keane and his selectors and backroom team for once again claiming All-Ireland glory with the Junior Footballers. This is Jimmy’s last year involved, he has been a great team manager and a pleasure to work with.
Team Management 2019
Senior Football: Peter Keane, Maurice Fitzgerald, Donie Buckley, Tommy Griffin & James Foley.
U20 Football: Jack O’Connor, Johnny Crowley, Micheal Ó Shea, Eamon Whelan & Kieran Cronin.
Minor Football: James Costello, Pa McCarthy, Aidan O Shea & Brian Hickey.
Junior Football: Jimmy Keane, John O’Connell, Daniel Murphy & Alan O’Donoghue.
Senior Hurling: Fintan O’Connor, Brian Culbert, Sean Maunsell & Brendan Cummins.
U20 Hurling; Fintan O’Connor, Brian Culbert, Sean Maunsell & Dermot Ryan.
Minor Hurling: John Hennessey, John Healy, Jerome O’Sullivan & Ollie Broughton.
Inter County Games 2019
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE ROINN 1
MUNSTER GAA SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
GAA FOOTBALL ALL IRELAND SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Super 8 Phase 1
Super 8 Phase 2
Super 8 Phase 3
CO-OP MUNSTER SENIOR HURLING LEAGUE
Group A Round 2
Group A Round 3
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE ROINN 2A
JOE MCDONAGH CUP
ELECTRIC IRELAND MUNSTER GAA MINOR FOOTBALL CH-SHIP
Phase 2 Round 1
Phase 2 Round 3
ELECTRIC IRELAND GAA ALL IRELAND MINOR FOOTBALL CH-SHIP
MUNSTER JUNIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
ALL IRELAND JUNIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
EIRGRID MUNSTER GAA FOOTBALL UNDER 20 CHAMPIONSHIP
BORD GAIS ENERGY GAA HURLING ALL IRELAND U20 B CH-SHIP
Congratulations to the following:
Our four All-Star winners, Tom O Sullivan, David Moran, Sean O Shea and David Clifford, with special mention to Sean O Shea on being selected as Young Player of the Year.
Mikey Boyle & Shane Nolan - Selected on Irish Senior Shinty Team
Shane Conway (Captain), Barry O Mahony, Tomas O Connor & Fionán Mackessy - Selected on Irish U21 Shinty Team
Minor All-Stars, Devon Burns & Dylan Geaney.
Kilcummin & Beaufort on winning Munster and All-Ireland Intermediate & Junior Club championships respectively and to Dr. Crokes on winning Munster Senior Club championship.
To Michael Slattery on winning the U20 B Hurler of the Year award.
Kerry Camogie team on winning the All-Ireland Junior Final played in Croke Park.
An Ghaeltacht on hosting and winning this year’s Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta.
Club Championship All Star Winners, Gavin White, Kieran O Leary & Tony Brosnan (Dr. Crokes).
Kerry Association in Dublin Person of the Year – Tomás Garvey.
Fitzgibbon Cup Hurler of the Year Shane Conway UCC/Kerry.
Sigerson Cup Footballer of the Year Sean O Shea UCC/Kerry.
East Kerry on winning U16, Minor, U21 and Senior Football Championships.
To Mike Quirke on being appointed manager of the Laois Senior Footballers.
To Fossa & Brosna Clubs on recent Club publications.
Ogie Moran, GAA Hall of Fame winner.
Churchill, Scór Sinsir All-Ireland Quiz champions for second year running.
East Kerry emerged victorious in the Senior Football Championship overcoming Dr Crokes in a high quality final. This year’s championship was one of the best for a long time. We had some outstanding games, brilliant individual performances and great crowds. My thanks to all the players & team managements for their commitment to our premier competition and all the supporters who attended.
There is no doubt that by separating the Club Championship (played in April), the Hurling Championship (played in summer) and the Football championship played after the All-Ireland, allows the space for the teams involved to prepare well and compete without being pulled and dragged all over the place. No matter what format one comes up with for our championships it will never suit everybody, but let us be cautious about changing the one we have at the moment
One of the fears expressed by completing the Club Championships in early May was that it would disadvantage the winners due to the long delay before they would compete in the Munster & All-Ireland series. However, with Kilcummin and Beaufort going on the win the Munster & All-Ireland titles following the first year of this new format, this fear turned out to be unfounded.
This year the Club championship was tweaked slightly to make the third series of games more competitive and avoid ‘dead rubbers’. In fairness the changes had the desired effect. In an ideal world it would be great to have a Quarter Final in the competition to facilitate two teams from each group of four qualifying for the knockout stages but the time period we have available to run the fixtures (max 6 weeks) works against that. If this year proved anything it showed the importance of keeping championship fixtures on a very tight reign. With Kerry reaching the Allianz League Final., the All-Ireland Final plus a replay, any fall off in either the Club championships or the Hurling championship would have had serious consequences for our County Senior Football Championship.
Congratulations to Austin Stacks (Senior), Templenoe (Intermediate) Na Gaeil (Junior Premier), Ballyduff (Junior) & Scartaglin (Novice) on claiming victory in this year’s Club Football Championships.
Also to Causeway (Senior) & Kilgarvan (Intermediate) on claiming top honours in the Hurling Club Championships.
I welcome the bringing forward of the All-Ireland Club Finals to January. The long gap between the Munster Club (completed in December) and All–Ireland Senior Club Final (player on 17 March) was difficult to justify. With the new dates, a lot of time and needless costs in trying to keep teams in shape are reduced. For the inter-county players involved with the Club it also frees them up for the Allianz League.
The decision to revert back to the Springtime with the intercounty Under 20 football championship is a mistake in my opinion. Training & playing in the worst of conditions has no developmental value. It feels more like just ticking a box and getting the thing done with. For elite players coming out of Minor, it should be all about development, practicing and developing their skills in a far more appropriate time of year.
In relation to our own underage competitions namely Under 21 & Minor the emergence of East Kerry as the dominant team needs to be addressed to ensure these championships remain competitive.
A concern I would have in looking at our present inter-county senior football team is the concentration of players involved from the eastern side of the county in comparison to the northern half of the county. Of the 28 players/subs (including the injured Peter Crowley) who were involved in this year’s All-Ireland Final & Replay only six (just over 20%) represent clubs from the Tralee, Castleisland & North Kerry areas whereas in contrast eighteen players (nearly 65%) represent clubs from the East Kerry, Kenmare and South Kerry areas. Of those six players from the northern half. four were from Tralee town so that leaves only two players from the remaining clubs in that side of the county.
When considering the population of Tralee and the number of clubs in those northern areas mentioned, I would be worried that unless some remedial action is taken Kerry will become very dependent on a small geographical area of the county for its supply of players going forward.
I would suggest a task force be set up by the County Committee to look at this situation. From administrative structures at district level, to clubs, to coaching, to schools, dual players, all aspects should be examined to see if a plan of action can be formulated to address this situation.
I would acknowledge some great work has been going on over the last number of years particularly in the coaching side but I fear unless a more wholesome approach is undertaken it may not be sufficient.
Once again the issue of Age Grades has been highlighted with Central Council recommending in its new policy that the standard Age Grade for county competitions be Under 13, Under 15 & Under 17. In my view this is the way to go for Kerry. Our present minor competitions are badly hampered by the interference of Adult Club activity which inevitably requires the involvement of the good players who are over 17 and under 18.
By bringing the underage grades to U17, U15 U13, you get a very streamlined fixtures programme for all. The interference of adult fixtures in relation to Minor fixtures has to be removed if we are to have any hope of providing a high quality games programme for this most important group of players.
I understand the concern expressed about the under 18 player who would no longer be eligible to play minor. However it is important to note that for a lot of the smaller rural clubs in Kerry there’s no fear that their under 18s won’t have plenty of games and as can be seen with this year’s Senior County League, the increased number of ‘B’ teams participating ensures that even in the big clubs, the under 18 player can get plenty of games. If we don’t start providing proper fixtures for our under 17 players we won’t have to worry about our under 18s anyway, a lot of them will be long gone, given up due to the high level of frustration experienced with the present Minor games programme we have.
On the Hurling front, it was great to see Causeway bridge a twenty year gap and claim the Neilus Flynn Cup. For a club that has promised so much over recent years it was well deserved. Congratulations as well to Tralee Parnells who in their first year as a senior club did themselves proud and to Kenmare/Kilgarvan/Crokes who won the Under 21 Championship. Congratulations to our minor champions Crotta O Neills who overcame Ballyduff by one point in a thriller, played as the curtain raiser to the Senior Hurling Final.
Unfortunately our Minor Hurling League was not completed. As mentioned earlier the involvement of the minor (Under 18) player with senior competitions and Intercounty Under 20 means something has to give and it’s always the Minor League that comes out worst. The argument about the importance of keeping the Minor Age Grade at Under 18 to ensure these players continued involvement in the game is hard to take when we can’t play the minor league due to the unavailability of these very same players!
Kerry Star announce his retirement
In a glittering career that spanned 14 years, the Reenard man won 4 All-Ireland senior medals, three Allianz League titles, 10 Munster Senior Championships, won Young Player of the Year in 2007 & captained the last Kerry team to win the All-Ireland U21 Championship in 2008.
A brilliant Colleges player with Colaiste na Sceilige, Killian will be best remembered for his series pace and ability to read a game. He will be remembered as one the most sporting players ever to play the game, an absolute gentleman both off and on the field of play. We wish Killian well, continued success with his club Reenard and South Kerry and thanks from all Kerry followers for his contribution to Kerry Football.
My thanks to my fellow officers for their tremendous work on behalf of the Board during the year. We are ably led by our Chairman Tim Murphy whose commitment and time devoted to Kerry GAA goes way above the call of duty.
Kerry’s involvement in the Senior All-Ireland Final and subsequent Replay certainly meant busier times for all concerned. My thanks to all the Officers for their tremendous work and support. I would like to acknowledge the great work of our staff in the County Board Office in the lead up to the All-Ireland Finals with special thanks to Kate for her work with the sorting of All-Ireland tickets.
The demands on the voluntary officer at both County and Club level is high and in certain cases too high. It is important therefore at all levels but in particular at Club level that our main energies are focused on the really important things like our games, our players, putting good structures in place, having good facilities and most of all creating an inclusive and happy environment.
I would like to thank all our Sub-Committees where so much work goes on. Thank you for your time and commitment and I hope each and every one of you enjoy being involved.
This Convention sees Vice Chairman Diarmuid O Sé and Central Council Delegate John Joe O Carroll stepping down from the Executive after serving the maximum five years in those positions. Both Diarmuid and John Joe have served the Board with distinction, over many years in different roles. We wish them well and no doubt they will continue to be actively involved in GAA affairs for long into the future.
Our Assistant Secretary Fionnán Fitzgerald also makes way at this Convention. Time pressure and other commitments have meant Fionnán’s stay with us on the Executive has been cut short. We thank Fionnán for all his work, he went about his business in a most pleasant and friendly manner and we wish him well for the future.
Our thanks to Kerry Group and in particular CEO Edmund Scanlon and Head of Corporate Affairs Frank Hayes for their wonderful support of Kerry GAA.
This year as in previous years, Kerry Group hosted a banquet for our Senior team on the night of the All-Ireland Final and also the Saturday night of the Replay. Their support and goodwill towards Kerry GAA, the players and team management is greatly appreciated by all.
In particular the help and support of Frank Hayes in the lead up to the All-Ireland Final and Replay has to be acknowledged. It is great to have such hands-on help on these occasions and we thank you again.
We thank our Senior Football & Hurling Championship Sponsors, Garvey’s SuperValu, in particular Tomás, Jim and all the Garvey Family and congratulate them on their continued success in the business world. We are delighted for them that this year’s championships were of such high quality and excitement.
We acknowledge the Board's Associate Sponsors: The Meadowlands Hotel, Brehon Hotel, Aherns Car Sales, Horans Health Stores, Atlantic Oils, Ivertec and Alliance Medical. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Chapter 23 of the Irish Credit Union continues to sponsor our County Football and Hurling Leagues while we welcome on board our new Club Championship Sponsors Kerry Petroleum and thank them for their support.
At underage level Acorn Life sponsor the Under 21 championships and Peter Keane (Keane's SuperValu) sponsors the Minor Championships and Leagues.
We also acknowledge the support of the Rose Hotel in Tralee towards Kerry hurling.
Our sincere thanks to all for your support.
My thanks to our Finance Committee chaired by Michael J. Kearney for doing such an excellent job during the year. As the business of the Board grows, the need to have good financial structures and governance in place becomes ever more important.
Recent media coverage concerning issues with other County Boards only highlight the importance for Kerry GAA the have the proper expertise in place to ensure good financial practice.
My thanks to our Treasurers Tom Keane & Joe Crowley and our Accounts Manager Eileen Hartnett for their great work and diligence.
As our Accounts show Kerry GAA delivered a most satisfactory performance on the financial front. Kerry teams in both hurling & football will always have the full support of the Board and that’s the way it should be. But keeping the costs within budget is an ongoing battle. My thanks to all our team liaison officers who do a great job working with the various teams and to the team managements themselves for their support in making sure team expenses are kept within budget.
This year, being involved in an All-Ireland Final and Replay put an extra load on team costs but to be fair we got great support in the various fundraising events we organised in the lead up to both games.
A special thank you to those who headed up the various fundraising committees and to our former players who are always ready and willing to help the cause.
In the lead up to the All-Ireland Final weekend we held Golf Classics in both Killarney & Dublin. Dublin as always was organised by our great friend and supporter Luke Moriarty and we thank Luke, his family and the local organising Committee for their efforts.
In Killarney Frank Stephenson, Ger O’Keeffe, Seanie Walsh, Eoin Liston & Pat O’Connor were some of the key organisers in what was a very well run and successful event. Our thanks to all who supported both Golf events.
My thanks to Gerry Rochford, Dermot O Grady, Michael O Sullivan and others for the great support we received from London where a very successful fundraising dinner took place earlier in the year.
Likewise, to our friends in Chicago such as Denis Neville and the Kerry Association for helping out with a fundraising event we had in that great city.
We have already plans for 2020 with events at home and abroad. Confidence in high that this young Kerry team will reach great heights. As a Board it is important that the required resources are there to support the development of our players. To do that we need financial support both at home and abroad.
Our ‘Night at the Dogs’ annual fundraiser is now an established event on the calendar but every year requires a big effort by the organising Committee to ensure its success. My thanks to Chairman Christy O’Connell, Secretary John Joe O Carroll and all members of the Committee.
Thanks to Aileen Foley now based in Currans Centre of Excellence for providing vital backup support to the fundraising events.
We thank our patrons who attend our games and to all the people who look after the gates, many thanks for your efficiency and commitment for what at times can be a demanding job.
Tralee Institute of Technology.
Recently Kerry GAA and Tralee Institute of Technology concluded a strategic partnership agreement in relation to the Kerry GAA’s use of their new world class facility in the North Campus in Tralee. Kerry GAA has invested €550,000 in this partnership which involves having our own GAA Suite at the Kerry Sports Academy including office space, dressing rooms and access to its training facilities for all inter-county teams. It will also allow for knowledge-sharing and upskilling between Kerry GAA coaches and players and IT Tralee personnel in the areas of sports science and performance, health & leisure.
My thanks to Brid McElligott & Ogie Moran of the Tralee Institute who worked closely with the Board in ensuring this major resource has finally been realised.
A very special thanks to Cairde Chiarraí whose fundraising efforts over the years provided a vital contribution to achieving this strategic goal.
We offer our sympathy to the families of the following who passed away during the year.
Pat Griffin, Ned Fitzgerald, Dermot Moynihan, John Spillane, Aidan Galvin, Mick Granville, Jackie Power, John Dowling, Tom Garvey, Kerrie Browne and all others who have lost a loved one since our last Convention.
At the end of another year where Kerry captured their seventh Munster Senior Football Championship in a row, our Junior Footballers completed 5 in a row All-Ireland Championships, out Under 20 Hurlers successfully retained the Richie McElligott Cup, Kilcummin won All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship & Beaufort won the All-Ireland Junior Club Championship,
I wish to thank the following:
Our Cathaoirleach Tim Murphy for the huge amount of time and energy he continues to give to Kerry GAA. Thank you, Tim.
To my fellow Officers for their great work and support during a hectic year, my sincerest thanks.
To the office staff in Austin Stack Park, Kate, Breda & Eileen
To Austin Stack Park groundsman Ger O Mahony
Thanks to the Austin Stack Park Committee, Fitzgerald Stadium Committee and Chairman of Caherslee grounds Joe Wallace and to J P & Aileen in Currans.
To all our Sub-Committees for their huge contribution towards the running and development of the Association within the County.
To all our Team Managements for your time and commitment to Kerry GAA.
To our excellent Coaching and Games Manager Donal Daly. Thanks Donal and to your fellow coaches for all your work in ensuring the participation and development of our young players is second to none.
To Luke Quinn and his staff who look after our GAA shop in Killarney.
To our Clubs and District Committees for all your support and work. To the Club Secretaries for your great assistance to myself and all in the Office.
To Kieran Leddy, John Brennan and all the staff at Munster Council.
Thanks to all in Croke Park for your support and assistance during the year, especially to Teresa Rehill, Fergal McGill, Fiona O Rourke, Bernard Smith & Ger Mulryan.
To our Referees, Gatemen and Stewards for doing a great job.
To all the Clubs, it was another great year on the playing fields and I wish you all the best for 2020.
Is mise le meas