O'Connor gags Kerry stars
Published 07/04/2011 | 05:00
Kerry's plan to travel to Portugal for a training camp if they don't reach the Allianz Football League final has led to a serious rift with the county's flagship newspaper.
The Kerryman reported yesterday that manager Jack O'Connor told his squad after last Sunday's game against Monaghan in Inniskeen to withdraw co-operation with the paper.
Describing it as "watershed day in Kerry affairs," the report claims that O'Connor took exception to an opinion piece in the previous week's edition which questioned how the county board could sanction the expenditure for the Portugal training camp proposal at a time when they were publicly bemoaning the enforced emigration of many club players due to the serious economic downturn.
It also pointed out that the Irish rugby squad and the four provincial teams conduct their pre-season training in Ireland. GAA president Christy Cooney has also urged county teams to hold training camps in Ireland.
The Kerryman was stunned to learn that players were told to withdraw co-operation with the paper, stating that it had "reported and celebrated all 36 of Kerry's All-Ireland titles and continues to be a friend and champion of all matters GAA in the Kingdom."
It also pointed out that it enjoyed an open relationship with the players in the previous years of O'Connor's management, which made the latest development extremely disappointing.
"No one person is bigger than The Kerryman, just as no one person is bigger than the GAA in Kerry. Both are institutions in this county and will exist long after individual personalities have moved on," wrote sports editor Paul Brennan.
"The Kerryman will continue to report, question and criticise in the public interest and we will be there to champion and celebrate Kerry football as 36 (All-Ireland titles) becomes 46 and then 56.
"The Kerryman is 100pc behind the manager and his players as they bid to win the Sam Maguire Cup this summer but it will be a shame if the players are gagged from speaking to the county's newspaper of record along the way."