Wednesday 26 June 2019

'Stay, play and work in Kerry' - GAA authorities in the Kingdom produce booklet to help stave off lure of AFL clubs

Stefan Okunbor has swapped Kerry for AFL club Geelong and inset, the booklet produced by Kerry GAA
Stefan Okunbor has swapped Kerry for AFL club Geelong and inset, the booklet produced by Kerry GAA Newsdesk Newsdesk

Kerry GAA have formed a committee and produced an informative booklet with a view to keeping young players playing and living in the Kingdom.

Star player David Clifford was coveted by a number of AFL clubs at the end of 2017 but ultimately decided to remain in Ireland and throw his lot in with Eamonn Fitzmaurice's charges.

There are 14 Irishmen now contracted to clubs in the AFL and this year Munster U-20 Player of the Year, Stefan Okunbor of Kerry, joined Geelong in October on a two-year rookie contract.

Geelong already have Kerry's 2015 All-Ireland winning captain Mark O'Connor in their ranks.

In his address at the Kerry convention in Tralee last night, county board chairman Tim Murphy admitted that they couldn't compete with professional sport.

Earlier this year, the county board created a a strategic employment task force with the objective of identifying and increasing employment opportunities for club and county players within Kerry.

The produced a booklet entitled 'Stay, play and work in Kerry'.

Credit: Off The Ball AM

In it they outlined the goals of the committee as being:

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  • Inform club and county players of all training, up skilling and educational courses available to them within the county.
  • Provide players with access to job application services.
  • Notify players of employment opportunities.

Murphy told the convention: “The AFL and their scouts continue to be a challenge not only for us here in Kerry, but for the GAA as a whole,” said county board chairman Tim Murphy.

“The committee specifically dealing with this issue will continue in their endeavours to ensure that all other players considering a move are given the benefit of choosing an attractive alternative to remain here at home. Diarmuid Ó Sé and his task force deserve special mention in publishing the booklet ‘Stay, Play, and Work in Kerry’.

“The lure of professional sport will continue to be a huge challenge for us.”

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