If it hasn’t crossed your mind by now, then don’t panic: in the next few days it will, and by the weekend after next every third person on the street will be yakking about it.
That’s right, we need to talk about the Kerry captaincy. The captaincy of the Kerry senior football team, to be precise, as if you didn’t know that already.
You see, because East Kerry were dumped out of the county senior football championship last week, the Kerry captain in 2022 won’t be Paul Murphy - who led the team in 2021 - and it won’t be David Clifford, who wore the skipper’s virtual armband in 2019.
In fact, it won’t be any player that played with the East Kerry divisional team this year. Which is not the same thing as saying it won’t be a player from the East Kerry district.
Needless to say - given how the selection of the Kerry captains (football and hurling) works - the next Kerry football captain will either be a Dr Crokes man, an Austin Stacks man, a Kerins O’Rahillys man or a man from the St Brendan’s team, which pretty much translates as a Na Gaeil man.
Of course, it will all come down to which of the four remaining teams in the county championship go on and lift the Bishop Moynihan Cup in December, but if you are Gavin White, Micheal Burns, David Moran or Jack Barry you’ve probably already allowed yourself a glimpse of the future and what it would be like to be the captain of the Kerry team.
If Dr Crokes win the championship the obvious choice for them would be between White and Burns, given that they will probably be the two most senior club men in the Kerry panel next year, depending, of course, on how Jack O’Connor finalises his panel for 2022.
Should St Brendan’s capture the county title for the first time, again it should be a simple choice between Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor.
Barry is the longer serving Kerry panellist, but, again, a final decision would be caveated by Jack O’Connor’s plans for both in terms of Kerry.
Stacks winning the championship would, right now, mean Joe O’Connor - currently the only Rockies player in the Kerry panel in 2021 - getting the captaincy, though it might be contingent on who else, if anyone, the Kerry management might call in from Stacks.
O’Rahillys winning the title would make it easy. David Moran is the only Strand Road man on the Kerry panel as it stands and in every sense he would be the perfect and deserving Kerry captain.
As history tells us, nothing is seldom straight-forward with the Kerry captaincy, is it? But one this is for sure: the likely lads who are in line for the 2022 captaincy have already allowed themselves a private thought or two about what it would be like. And why wouldn’t they...
We know that soccer managers at clubs - and at Premier League clubs in particular - hate the international window, because, frankly, it’s a pain in the ass for them.
The domestic season shuts down for a week or two when either (a) your club is on a rich seam of form and playing well, or (b) your team is peddling squares in terms of performance, and dropping points faster than an under press contestant on The Chase.
Either way, the last thing that manager wants is for some of his players to be heading off on international duty, running the risk of injury (as if they can’t get injured on club duty), and generally breaking the momentum of a good run of form or the need for more training ground work to be done.
But there is another very good reason by Premier League managers hate the spectre of an international window, and that’s because it brings with it the spectre of the bacon slicer. The guillotine. The P45. The sack.
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is the latest Premier League manager to be given his one-way ticket to Palookaville (though by the time one is reading this he may not be the most recent).
Smith’s dismissal came on Sunday - 48 hours roughly after Villa’s 0-1 defeat to Southampton on Friday night. It could have been worse, he could have been Daniel Farke.
Poor old Dan had just managed Norwich to their first win of the season on Saturday, a 2-1 win away to Brentford, and might have been forgiven for thinking he’d escaped the executioner for another week or two. Instead he got the curly finger in the ‘away’ dressing-room and never made it back to Norwich as the Canaries’ team manager.
In recent weeks Steve Bruce, Xisco Munoz and Nuno Espírito Santo have all been summarily dismissed as the gaffers of Newcastle, Watford and Spurs respectively.
In some cases, if not all, they were shown the door precisely because it’s coming up to an international window and clubs will feel they have better time to ferret out a replacement.
One thought: I’d say Ole Gunnar Solskjær isn’t particularly looking forward to Norway’s next game.
In every sense we really shouldn’t be writing about this - but we are where we are. For now. Maggie Farrelly will make a little bit of history next weekend when she take charge of the Cavan senior football championship final in her capacity as match referee.
You will already have gleaned from that first paragraph that Maggie is, indeed, a woman, and you have probably jumped to the conclusion that we are referring to the Cavan ‘men’s’ county final, which, indeed, we are.
A couple of things. When we speak or write about sport participated in exclusively by females we almost always refer to it as ‘women’s’ this or ‘ladies’ that. But when it comes to a sporting event competed for exclusively by men, it never carries the ‘male’ explainer. And, yes, this writer has been as guilty as almost every other sports writer on this matter. (We’re trying to do better.)
Anyway, back to Maggie Farrelly and that Cavan county final. The woman herself has previously asked the question: why should she be referred to as a ‘female referee’ rather than just a ‘referee’ and, of course she is right.
It shouldn’t matter and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she is qualified for the job, goes out and does the best job she can, and like all good referees, never be given a second thought from anybody from the moment she throws in the ball.
It still baffles and saddens - or it should - that a sports person openly declaring themselves a homosexual can still command big headlines, especially in sports like soccer and rugby, where openly declaring one’s sexuality remains a major problem.
These announcements are always meet with the same response: some day it won’t even register with anyone what sexuality or gender a sports person is. Live and let live, and all that.
Sadly, though, that day isn’t here yet, so Maggie Farrelly being a ‘first’ and breaking another ‘glass ceiling’ (yuk) remains a thing.
The best one can hope for is that she has a good afternoon on the whistle, and that if she doesn’t then her gender doesn’t come into the mix of the abuse that she - as a referee - will inevitably get.