Kerry chairman Patrick O’Sullivan has defended the decision of the board executive not to stage a homecoming for the county’s victorious minor footballers.
Homecomings, according to county board policy, are exclusive to Kerry senior football teams and this was made known to minor manager Peter Keane on the Monday after their All-Ireland semi-final win over Kildare.
“We, the county board, give our teams every tool they require to be successful. That is our job. Our job is not to organise homecomings,” said O’Sullivan.
“It is our policy, and this was the board’s policy before I came in, not to have homecomings for victorious minor football, U21 football, junior football, minor hurling, U21 hurling and Christy Ring teams. I think it is the correct policy. There is drink involved and other aspects [with homecomings]. The minor teams in 2014 and ‘15 were part of the senior homecomings. There was none when we won the minor in 1994.”
The team will be recognised by the county committee at the SFC double-header at Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday, October 2, a move criticised by local councillor Mike Kennelly. The Fine Gael councillor, a brother to the late Tim Kennelly who won five All-Ireland medals, said the board acted selfishly but believes there is still time to acknowledge the team’s success.
An unofficial homecoming was organised in Kenmare — the home of captain Seán O’Shea — by the local GAA club yesterday evening.
“I would urge [chairman] Patrick O’Sullivan to organise a homecoming for some evening this week. It is not too late.
“Denny Street in Tralee is a very easy street to control in the event of a homecoming. Fifty guys could steward this with a few barriers and a bit of support from Kerry County Council.
“This thing could have happened and it would have all been done and dusted in three-quarters of an hour.
“Is the decision to recognise them in Killarney during those senior games a money issue? There is no North Kerry club involved that day so you are asking someone from the outer ends of North Kerry to go all the way to Killarney to pay to go in and look at these lads.
“You can’t even shake hands with them or get a selfie. It is reckless, sickening.”
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