The Austin Stacks GAA club in Kerry has taken issue with a suggestion in this newspaper by our columnist and All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Daly that hurling doesn’t get a fair shake on Tralee’s famed Rock Street.
In a piece from Daly that ran Monday entitled ‘Kerry hurling should be helped build their own kingdom’, the Stacks club claims it was “singled out for unfavourable and inaccurate comment.”
Dalo says he “heard a story recently that didn’t surprise me in the least. The best U-12 hurler in Kerry is a highly-talented dual player from Tralee, who hurls with (local club) Parnells and kicks football with Austin Stacks. Stacks got such a panic attack that the young lad may become distracted by hurling that they got one of their highly-respected former Kerry footballers to have a word in his year. How paranoid would you have to be to try and turn a 12-year old?”
But correspondence from Austin Stacks, signed by chairman Billy Ryle, vice-chair Eamonn O’Reilly, and Juvenile section chair Tim McMahon says Daly is the one “suffering from paranoia if he believes a tall tale like that”.
It points out: “That is not the ‘Rock’ way. Sport is the antidote to antisocial behaviour and we fully support the campaign for sport, recreation, and leisure. Naturally, we hope that football will be the first sport of choice for all our players but we are well aware that the majority of our players enjoy other sports. And so it should be.
“Tralee is a mecca of sports to suit all tastes – football, hurling, camogie, handball, basketball, golf, cricket, athletics, cycling, swimming, squash, to mention just a few.
“All of the sports clubs in Tralee and Kerry do good work.
“Indeed, if our ‘highly-respected former footballer’ had to have a word in the ear of every Austin Stacks player who played other sports, he’d be out and about from first light until the stars come out!”
Stacks was founded in 1917 and says it is “particularly proud“ of its Juvenile section – the jewel in the crown.
“Mr Daly posed the question ‘should Stacks not be more worried about trying to recruit young lads ahead of (Kerins) O’Rahillys, (John) Mitchels, and Na Gaeil - the other clubs in the town – instead of telling one of their own to turn his back on hurling and his friends.’
“Not at all, we are happy with our fair share and, as mentioned above, hurling is part of the Rock DNA. All of the GAA Clubs in Tralee coexist in a spirit of mutual respect and co-operation. The clubs are rivals on the field of play but there are longstanding acquaintances and friendships off the field.”
It accepts there has been a “regrettable decline in our hurling section” but says Stacks are pleased to support the initiative of the new Tralee Parnells Hurling and Camogie Club in promoting those games in the Tralee area.
“That club is now effectively doing what Austin Stacks did for many years. We are delighted that any of our players, who are interested in hurling, now have a local hurling club on their doorstep.
“To the best of our knowledge, Anthony Daly has never set foot in Connolly Park. He has never seen how our wonderful club goes about its business. He wrote a very poorly researched article based on a nod and a wink. He did Austin Stacks a grave injustice. If he’d like to soak up the exhilarating atmosphere in Connolly Park and meet with the ‘rare auld stock of the Rock’, he’d be more than welcome to visit Austin Stacks at any time.”