JOE O’CONNOR IS set to be named the Kerry senior football captain for 2022.
It’s understood that Austin Stacks put the midfielder’s name forward following a meeting of the club executive last night.
O’Connor picked up a knee injury in the recent Munster club final defeat to St Finbarr’s. A cruciate setback was feared, but Kerry boss Jack O’Connor ruled that out at a media briefing on Monday evening.
“It has been confirmed that it looks like cartilage problem more than ligaments so that is good news and that is about the best news that he could have got,” he said.
An official announcement unveiling the identity of the Kerry captain for 2022 is expected imminently, with ratification due at next Monday night’s county committee meeting at Austin Stack Park.
The only other viable nomination was Dylan Casey but the fact that he is only 21 and has yet to start a competitive game for the Kingdom likely resulted in O’Connor — who played in 2021 and scored a goal against Roscommon — getting the nod.
O’Connor’s nomination will again rekindle the debate within the county regarding the captaincy selection each year, as the county champions are gifted the honour of naming the skipper, often not a nailed-down starter.
Joe O’Connor (left) with Tommy Walsh and Paudie Clifford last year.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
“The captaincy is something that will be discussed between Austin Stacks and the County Board,” O’Connor said when asked about the practice.
“It is irrelevant the way I feel about it because that is the system. I am a pragmatist and there is no point in me getting excited about it, sure you cannot have everything you like. That’s the system and it’s stood Kerry well in the past and until that is changed, that is good enough for me.”
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A change made last year means that the county champions cannot name a vice-captain and that in the absence of their nominated captain (if he is not on first 15, or is out injured), the manager and county board chairman pick the stand-in captain.
This most likely will see either David Clifford or Seanie O’Shea lead Kerry out on Sunday at Newbridge, as they open their 2022 Division 1 League campaign against Kildare.
Earlier today, James O’Donoghue announced his inter-county retirement.