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Too much of a focus on GAA in Kerry is detrimental

Pamela Duncan now joins with Pat Spillane in their appeal to save the Kerry GAA team.

Eamon Hickson is pictured in a modern sports changing room, with all the up to date furnishings and fittings as are all the GAA clubs with several pitches surrounding them.

The county of Kerry is only represented at senior level at two sports, both men and women, at Gaelic football and basketball. They have no clubs from the county at senior level in Ireland at rugby, soccer, hockey, cricket or tennis.

I know individual Kerry people have competed in rugby and soccer at senior level, but not representing a Kerry club, they have to go to other counties’ clubs to compete. There have been individuals who have brought honour to Kerry in cycling at senior level and internationally who have had to train and drive for success on their own.

In Kerry there are approximately 68 GAA clubs, for a population of 145,502, according to the 2011 census. This gives a club to every 2,139 of the population, including old men, women and infants.

In Cork, (next door neighbours), they possess clubs at Senior level at all sports, they have 62 GAA clubs for a population of 519,032 or an average of 8,371 people to every GAA club.

Cork and Limerick clubs probably accommodate the non-GAA Kerry sports people. The problem in Kerry is not a lack of people, but an overinvestment in GAA clubs. This is being done at a huge cost to the various local communities, who have to shoulder these costs. In most businesses today, turnovers are down and the only way to maintain profit margins is to reduce costs. Why can’t some of these club premises and lands be given back to the communities who paid for them, and let them create enterprises and create work locally instead of leaving assets lie idle?

Sean Brunswick
Dublin 14


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