BRYAN SHEEHAN, the favourite to captain All-Ireland champions Kerry next season, admits a return to the Kingdom’s starting 15 is his ‘number one priority’ for next season.
Following the victory of Sheehan’s club, St Mary’s, in Saturday’s South Kerry senior football championship final, the attacker is in pole position to replace Darran O’Sullivan as skipper of the Kingdom.
This season Sheehan fell out of favour with manager Jack O’Connor and saw limited game time in the championship after Kerry’s defeat to Cork in a Munster SFC semi-final replay.
“The winner of the South Kerry Championship gets the honour of naming the captain,” said Sheehan. “If my club nominate me then I will be delighted to accept it.
“But I spent most of this year watching from the sidelines so you won’t be a Kerry captain if you are sitting on the side line. My objective is to fight my way back on the Kerry team next year.”
This (Saturday’s divisional final win over Skellig Rangers) was not about the captaincy, it was about putting St Mary’s back on top in South Kerry again.
“If I get the captaincy of course I would consider it a privilege but it’s more important for me to make sure I am on the Kerry team first and that will be my number one priority.
“I will be putting all my efforts into getting my place back next year. Anything else will be a bonus and it would be a great honour but that’s for another day.”
He admitted Saturday’s win ranks alongside anything he has achieved in the county colours.
He continued: “It is fantastic to have won the Jack Murphy Cup again because while you might be winning All-Irelands and National Leagues and County Championships with South Kerry, winning with your club is extra special. This is the grassroots, this is where you grew up and this is where you put on your boots for the first time. It’s where you learned your football. A player who forgets his roots, loses his identity”
Meanwhile, former footballer of the year Maurice Fitzgerald has backed his club man to lead the county in their title defences next season.
Fitzgerald, who impressed in Saturday’s final said: “What we are looking forward to next year is Bryan Sheehan leading out Kerry. We have had a great time over the past number of years following Bryan. Few would deny that he was player of this year’s county championship. Now we are looking forward to following the green and gold with Bryan leading them out. It going to be a very proud day for the club and that is something that we are relishing.
“Bryan is the complete footballer and I am sure he will make a great Kerry captain. He will have all of the Mary’s and South Kerry behind him and hoping that he will bring further success to the county.”
FBD League fixtures for 2010 are: Jan 10: Sligo IT v Roscommon (Ballinode); Mayo v NUIG (Garrymore); Galway v Sligo (Tuam); Leitrim v GMIT (Cloone).
Jan 17: NUIG v Roscommon (Dangan); Sligo v GMIT (Enniscrone); Leitrim v Galway (Ballinamore); Mayo v Sligo IT (Charlestown).
Jan 24: Sligo IT v NUIG (Ballinode); Roscommon v Mayo (Ballinlough); Leitrim v Sligo (Carrick-on-Shannon); Galway v GMIT (Moycullen). The home final will take place on January 31 with the winner travelling to play New York in the final on October 10 next year.
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