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Kerry U20 boss dismisses 'media fascination' about captaincy rule

John Sugrue says he doesn’t understand the level of interest in who skippers the Kingdom teams.

Kerry captain David Clifford.
Kerry captain David Clifford.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

KERRY U20 MANAGER John Sugrue says there is a “fascination among the media” in relation to the method for selecting the county’s senior hurling and football captains.

Presently, the county champions nominate the senior captain of the Kerry teams. A motion to change this system was voted on at a county board meeting in the Kingdom last night, and was defeated as it did not achieve the two-thirds majority.

The Beaufort club’s proposal, which won by a margin of 50 to 48 votes, suggested that the captain should be selected by the management teams, in consultation with the chairman of the Kerry County Committee.

Eamon Fitzmaurice recently backed calls for a change to the system, but former Laois boss Sugrue says he’s “neutral enough” about the captaincy rule.

I don’t think too many more outside of Donald Trump gets as much attention in the media in February in Ireland [as the Kerry captain]. It’s one of those things. 

“I don’t get the attention it gets from the media. It’s one player on a team. The team comprises of 15 [players]. The panel comprises of another 18 or 19, and why all this talk?

“You can say what you want about different methods but each to their own. It’s very much a case of what Kerry do, Kerry do. What other counties do, other counties do. Who’s to say what’s right or wrong?”

He added that the public interest in appointment of the Kerry captain is mainly confined to the media.

There’s a fascination among the media [about] who’s going to be the Kerry captain. I don’t think the Cork captain has been written about, the Galway captain, neither has the Mayo captain, or Donegal.

“The Dublin one [Stephen Cluxton] has because he’s an exceptional individual and an exceptional player quite obviously, over the last number of years. But other than that no other captain in the country has been written about.”

eirgrid-gaa-football-u20-championship-launch John Sugrue says teams are more about the group than the just the captain. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Criticism of the captaincy system used in Kerry flared up again recently after 21-year-old David Clifford was appointed to the role ahead of the 2020 season.

Remarking on the significance placed on the captain of a team, Sugrue said:

“I think a captain of a team is a ‘c’ put under your name on the programme. You have to play with the team, it makes no difference. It’s a small role within a group dynamic. If the group dynamic is strong enough, it makes no odds who’s captain.

“I’m sure David [Clifford] is going to do a great job there. It makes no difference as far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the group. This is a group game.

“It doesn’t depend on what one person says, or what one person does. It very much depends on what everyone throws up on the table together as far as I’m concerned. I think it garners more attention from outside of Kerry than it does within.”

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When asked if the method for selecting the Kerry captain should have gone to a vote, Sugrue replied:

“They have every right to do it, it’s a democratic thing to do. They’ve opened the topic again, it’s closed now for another while and that’s it, and what about it?”

John Sugrue was speaking at the launch of the 2020 EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Championship.

EirGrid has been a proud sponsor of the U20 GAA Football All-Ireland Championship since 2015. 

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