Kerry chairman: We can’t compete with AFL’s professional lure

Kerry County Board chairman Tim Murphy told delegates at this year’s County Convention in Killarney that complaining about scouts from the AFL taking the cream of Kerry’s talent is futile.

Kerry chairman: We can’t compete with AFL’s professional lure

Kerry has lost several talented stars to the professional ranks. Last year dual All-Ireland winner Mark O’Connor joined AFL’s Geelong.

There was widespread relief in the Kingdom this year when the Examiner confirmed rising star David Clifford was staying for 2018.

Murphy warns that ultimately the GAA can’t complete with the AFL’s lure.

“I have been consistent in my view that as an organisation the GAA can never compete with professional sport — it is simply not possible,” said Murphy.

“What we can do is endeavour to create as attractive an environment as possible here at home and convey to our players the benefits of remaining in Ireland while also assisting them with educational opportunities, career advice, and enhanced employment prospects.

“I am happy to advise that the ad hoc committee set up this year has worked well and it came as a great boost in October when David Clifford confirmed he was committed to Kerry for at least 2018.

“I hope to formalise this committee next year and ensure that any other players considering a move are given the benefit of choosing an attractive alternative to remain at home.”

Murphy also touched on the importance of developing Fitzgerald Stadium despite Ireland failing in their Rugby World Cup 2023 bid and called for government help.

“Very significant monies have been expended in Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney over the past number of years.

“Unfortunately Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 was as we all know unsuccessful and will have an obvious negative impact on the immediate development of the stadium.

“The development of Fitzgerald Stadium is in my view of strategic importance to the entire south-west of the country and something that we in Kerry GAA or the National GAA cannot achieve on our own.

“If our country is serious about hosting a Rugby World Cup or similar event in the future, now is the time to start investing in the stadia upgrades.”

In the only election on the night Joseph Crowley (Laune Rangers) was elected assistant treasurer, beating Pat McAuliffe (John Mitchels) by 150 votes to 77.

Leona Twiss replaces John O’Leary as PRO as he moves to Munster delegate along with Ger McCarthy.

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