Famed Kerry divisions facing the chop

They’ve produced legendary All-Ireland winning captains in Paidi Ó Sé, Tommy Doyle, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan and Pat Spillane, and forged special bonds in the process, but fabled Kerry football divisions like Kenmare and West Kerry may soon become redundant.

Pat Spillane lifts the Sam Maguire after his Kenmare divisional colleague Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan had been injured during the 1975 All-Ireland final.

A special Championship review committee in the Kingdom is examining all aspects of its senior football championship, with some amalgamations facing the chop.

Ironically, the likes of Kenmare division and West Kerry are vulnerable not because of rural depopulation but due to the success of some of their component clubs such as Dingle, Gaeltacht, and Kenmare, all of which are now playing in the senior grade.

That means the West Kerry division is now down to a pick of three clubs — Annascaul, Castlegregory, and Lispole. Gaeltacht won the intermediate championship last month, securing promotion back to the senior grade.

Ironically had Templenoe beaten them in that final, it would have reduced the Kenmare district down to two junior clubs, Kilgarvan and Tuosist.

The Kerry committee is examining the criteria for a divisional or district team’s SFC eligibility in the wake of recent events.

If a division is reduced to three clubs (or less), following the promotion of one of its clubs to senior, at least one of the remaining teams would have to be playing intermediate or Division 1 or 2 of the County League for them to continue to participate as a team in the SFC.

If divisions fail to meet these criteria, the remaining teams would join a neighbouring division or district. It would fall to the Competitions Control Committee (CCC) to liaise with teams and recommend where they play for county championship purposes.

The committee is also examining the timing and format of the championship in the wake of changes to the inter-county championship structure and is believed to favour running the championship en bloc.

With an earlier All-Ireland final, Kerry may run its club championships together prior to the summer and play the county championship after Kerry exit the All-Ireland.

The committee also favours playing extra-time periods of five minutes per half in the first round to improve the likelihood of getting a result on the day.

They’ve produced legendary All-Ireland winning captains in Paidi Ó Sé, Tommy Doyle, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan and Pat Spillane, and forged special bonds in the process, but fabled Kerry football divisions like Kenmare and West Kerry may soon become redundant.


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