Sean Kelly: All-Ireland ‘B’ cup should be named after Páidí Ó Sé

Former GAA president Sean Kelly wants the proposed new All-Ireland B championship to be named after Kerry great Páidí Ó Sé.

Kelly was thedriving force behind the last B championship that existed in Gaelic football between 2004 and 2008, the Tommy Murphy Cup.

He said that he wouldn’t be against retaining Laois icon Murphy’s name if the B championship returns on the back of last weekend’s Central Council proposal.

But the Kerry man said his personal preference is that any new competition would be named after his fellow county man Ó Sé.

Ventry native Ó Sé passed away at the age of 57 in late 2012, having already achieved legendary status as both a player and manager with Kerry.

Kelly said it would be particularly fitting to honour Ó Sé as the All-Ireland-winning Kerry manager of 1997 and 2000 also managed less successful counties Westmeath and Clare.

Central Council’s proposal is that Division 4 teams enter a B championship once they exit their province and that the winners gain a place in the All-Ireland qualifiers the following season.

“I’d be open-minded at this stage in terms of naming the competition but Páidí was such an icon of Gaelic football that he really should be considered for it,” said Kelly.

“He did tremendous work as a manager with Kerry but in fairness he did get involved with some weaker counties too, Westmeath and Clare, and that would make it fitting to associate his name with it. For all kinds of reasons I’d very happily call it the Páidí Ó Sé Cup, I don’t think anyone could argue with that.”

It remains to be seen, of course, if Central Council’s proposal for championship reform can gain the crucial two-thirds majority vote required at Annual Congress next month.

Various officials and managers associated with Division 4 counties have already come out publicly against the idea. Kelly submitted his own proposal to Central Council which was similar to the one they eventually agreed upon last Saturday.

“I was proposing a 16-team B championship, as opposed to an eight-team one,” said Kelly. “But this is a good step forward. It will all come down to the promotion of the competition and how much prestige it is afforded.

“If promoted properly, this can be a realistic target for those Division 4 counties and I would see in due course that Division 3 teams would want to be included. Then you’d have a proper two-tier championship, that would be the ultimate aim. But if it’s not promoted properly, it will fail.

“We need to be totally serious about this, about giving everything we possibly can to it in terms of the prestige and rewards or it won’t succeed.”


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