Scale of rural crisis in Kerry highlighted

The flight from rural areas of Kerry has been put in stark perspective for GAA clubs in the county by officials.

Scale of rural crisis in Kerry highlighted

Areas of South Kerry in particular can no longer field underage teams and combinations between clubs in the division has become so prevalent that only four teams fielded in last year’s South Kerry minor football championship.

A county board meeting this week heard that while two of the county’s largest clubs had 511 juveniles registered between them, the bottom 20 clubs in terms of playing numbers had only 483 registered between them.

Officials confirmed that 32 clubs have 70% of total juvenile players registered — meaning that the other 44 clubs had only 30% between them.

Munster Council delegate Joe Crowley warned that within 10 years, Kerry could have a major player problem.

A club forum this weekend in Tralee will hear further details of the problem and the Parish Rules issue.

Crowley told the meeting that on the basis of the number of juvenile players registered at the beginning of 2017, there will be major problems at senior level outside the major centres of population in the medium term.

The board meeting was also told that Fintan O’Connor had been ratified as the new Kerry senior hurling manager, along with coach/selector Brendan Cummins and selector Ian Brick. Aidan McCabe of Kilmoyley was confirmed as the new Kerry hurling captain while Fossa’s David Clifford, nominated by county minor champions East Kerry, was confirmed as captain of the county’s minors for 2017.

County Leagues will start on March 19 while club championships will be played over two weekends April 16 and 23. The Kerry SFC will kick off on May 14 with 16 teams, so there will be preliminary qualifier game between Shannon Rangers v St Brendan’s which is a repeat of last year.

A full review of finance operations of the board will take place with a report due to the April meeting.

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