Sunday 18 November 2018

Pat Spillane: New Kerry manager must address captaincy issue - it is beyond a joke at this stage

23 June 2018; Kerry captain Shane Murphy lifts the cup following the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Kerry at Páirc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
23 June 2018; Kerry captain Shane Murphy lifts the cup following the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cork and Kerry at Páirc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Pat Spillane has called on new Kerry manager Peter Keane to revamp how the county chooses the team captain in order to close the gap on Dublin as they attempt to win a fifth All-Ireland title in-a-row.

Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton has been the Dublin captain since Jim Gavin took over the team ahead of the 2013 campaign, leading the side to five All-Ireland titles in the six seasons since.

In contrast, Kerry still adopt the practice of the county champions nominating a player involved in the panel to be the team captain, which often leads to inexperienced members of the squad getting the nod.

At times in 2018, rookie goalkeeper Shane Murphy was tasked with leading Kerry, who exited the championship after the Super 8s following a disappointing summer.

Kerry's early exit saw Eamonn Fitzmaurice step down as manager, with minor boss Peter Keane taking on the senior job.

Writing in the Sunday World, Kerry legend Spillane says that Keane's first set of tasks in his new role includes shoring up the defence, fine-tuning the make-up of his squad and selecting an experienced captain that can match Cluxton.

"The other issue that must be addresed in my native county is the team captaincy," Spillane said.

"This is beyond a joke at this stage. It reached farcial levels this summer. Fionn Fitzgerald, who was nominated for the role by county champions Dr Crokes, failed to make the team.

"Rookie goalkeeper Shane Murphy captained the side in his first ever senior championship match while other inexperienced players such as Gavin White and Micheal Burns were also burdened with the role during the season.

"For Kerry to beat the best they have to match them in every department. Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton mightn't say much in public, but he is one of the most inspiring skippers in the history of the GAA.

"A captain must inspire through his deeds on the field. Giving the county champions the right to nominate the captain is utter madness and must be scrapped."

Read Pat Spillane's full column in today's Sunday World.

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