Kieran Donaghy believes Kerry should discontinue their long tradition of the county champions selecting the senior team captaincy if they are to be as competitive as possible against the likes of Dublin in the future.
Donaghy, who announced his inter-county retirement last Tuesday, captained Kerry in 2015 after his club Austin Stacks won the county championship the previous autumn.
But even though he describes that experience as one of the honours and highlights of a lifetime, Donaghy, in a wide-ranging interview which appears in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner, contends that in future the Kerry manager should select the captain, as is the custom in every other county now other than Kerry and Kilkenny.
“I think the manager should pick his captain. There’s enough of an honour when you win your county championship and you were one of the men who helped drive them over the line.
“And if you’re on the Kerry panel and you’re in the manager’s plans and you’re a leader, then the manager might still pick you as captain. It’s not like it’s discounting you from the role.
“But if the manager would prefer to pick someone else whose club didn’t win the county, then, of course, he should be allowed to pick that player as the captain.”
Donaghy remains the last player to score a goal in an All-Ireland final won by someone other than Dublin — in the intervening four years every available Sam Maguire has been received by Stephen Cluxton whose club Parnell’s have never won a county championship during his career.
And although Kerry have maintained a tradition of bringing the cup back to the club of the team captain and reigning county champions, Donaghy argues the county must move with the times if they want the cup back in Kerry at all.
“We’ve done all that. We’ve been that soldier. We wanted to win it for Gooch in 2011, lads wanted to win it for me in 2015, they wanted to win it for Darragh Ó Sé in 2002. It has no bearing on winning or losing the All-Ireland.
“People say afterwards, ‘We wanted to win it for Páidí.’ But there was no fella running for a ball going, ‘I want to win this ball for Páidí Ó Sé.’ The ball was thrown in, the game was on and that was it.
“In fairness in my time we had lads who weren’t involved a lot who still made good captains. You don’t have to be involved all the time to be a good captain. When Darran O’Sullivan got it in 2009, people were saying, ‘Oh, he’s a bit young.’ He was 23. But Darran was brilliant as a captain that year.
The important thing is your captain should be a guy who can pick a lad up or can also go and say, ‘What you’re doing isn’t good enough. There’s more in you, we need more from you.’ You go over and sort it out.