| 12.7°C Dublin

Voices for status quo win out over pleas from management

The status quo remains in Kerry football after Monday night's county committee meeting, with the county champions retaining the honour of picking the senior football and hurling captains.

The Beaufort motion to have the captain 'selected by the team management in consultation with the chairman of the Kerry County Committee' won a simple majority - 50 votes to 48 - but did not garner the two-thirds support in order to instigate a change.

An extremely passionate and thought-provoking debate took place on the night. Here are some of the viewpoints expressed:

COUNTY CHAIRMAN TIM MURPHY: "The management were at pains to point out that everything depends on the lens to which you are looking through. They have a different perspective. They are at the coalface of the team. A lot goes on behind closed doors, nobody knows what pressures are on people, issues in their personal lives or work lives. Management feel that they are in the best position to deal with those situations.

"They feel that it's also a trust issue. If we have confidence in them to lead our teams, surely we should have confidence in them to pick the leaders of those teams?

"Natural leaders are identified at a very early stage. The management would see a number of players from very small clubs, who potentially could become great leaders and great captains. But under the current system, in their view, they are from districts who, over the next ten to fifteen years, are unlikely to be strong enough to win a county championship. Under the current system, we are depriving those people who, in the management's view, could be the winning or losing of a match, of captaining Kerry."

FRANK COFFEY, BEAUFORT: "Conferring the captaincy on the basis of honour for player and club is not enough - the captain should always be selected on the basis of who is best suited to carrying the responsibility - and very few have all the credentials.

"Look at the last five years - when Dublin won many of their games by fine margins - it was no coincidence that they had the same iconic steadfast influencer on the field in Stephen Cluxton, who epitomised all that a captain should be.

"In the same period, we in Kerry were disadvantaged by the absence - on many days - of a clearly appointed leader on the field. Our system to appoint a captain proved unsatisfactory in 2019 and quite hopeless in 2018 - and I have no doubt that in those games of fine margins, the lack of a strong leader on the pitch cost us dearly."

PAT McAULIFFE, JOHN MITCHELS: "We would like the status quo to remain. The current system has delivered us as market leaders in the All-Ireland stakes, the same as Kilkenny in hurling. If we change this, we would be ceding control of a very responsible position to one person. That is not democracy. What community wouldn't like to see their player as captain?"

MATT O'NEILL, DR CROKES: "It appears that the issues of captaincy and leadership are confused. Leadership is not the sole responsibility of the captain. The likes of Paidi O Se, Ambrose O'Donovan, Seamus Moynihan, Colm Cooper - they did not require the mantle of captaincy to show their leadership. Kerry GAA has more serious issues to address in the aim of getting Sam Maguire back to the county.

"This change would dilute the position of the club unit in the GAA, and would certainly dilute the honour of winning the County Championship, which is our premier competition.

"This is yet another attempt at centralising everything when it comes to power. Leave the selection of the Kerry captaincy as it is. If this is passed, what's next? Whatever the outcome tonight, let that be it. No more rumblings in the background and no more distractions."

JOHNNY BROSNAN, EAST KERRY BOARD: "The captain has only a very small part to play in any team. All he has to do is help with the players' welfare and say a few words to the press. Don't change for the sake of change."

SEAN BARRY, ANNASCAUL: "It's felt that there's a certain aura in the way we do things in Kerry and Kilkenny, that it gives us a slight advantage on the field. Ours is a tradition that other counties do not understand. We're still the leaders and the trend-setters. It's time to maintain the status quo."

BILL RIORDAN, GNEEVEGUILLA: "Why change something that's not broken? The captain hasn't been the cause of us not winning the All-Ireland in recent years. If the situation changes tonight, the county championship will have no real status."

WILLIE GOGGIN, ST MICHAEL'S/FOILMORE: "This board should decide the motion, not the media!"

DONAL MURPHY, RATHMORE: "You can tie yourself in knots with tradition, and this vote should not be decided on tradition. Remember that we didn't win a minor All-Ireland between 1994 and 2014. Then, when we brought in the development squads, we won five-in-a-row. Seamus Moynihan, under any system, would have been the captain because he was the leader on the pitch."