O Se ignored advice says selector

 

Kerry football manager Paidi O Se was keeping quiet yesterday about allegations made by one of his former selectors that advice passed on during key championship games during the last two seasons was ignored.

Sean Counihan, one of three selectors who served under O Se during that time, outlined to the Kingdom newspaper yesterday what he described as the "vilification" in the media of himself and two fellow selectors following a number of championship games of the last two years.

There were, according to Counihan, several occasions when the advice of selectors was not heeded at vital moments during crucial championship games. One revelation concerned the mysterious withdrawal of double goalscorer Aodhan Mac Gearailt in the Munster final against Cork last July, a move which Counihan said was done without the agreement of the selectors.

Counihan also made reference to the 1998 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kildare and the positioning of defender Seamus Moynihan. "The advice of the selectors was clear that day," said Counihan. "We wanted Moynihan to mark the number 10, Eddie McCormack, from the word go."

It was, he said, late in the second half before that advice was acted upon, at which point Kerry began to get back into the game but too late for the victory.

Recent criticism surrounding the failure of Moynihan to pick up an All Star award for the second successive year, and the suggestions that it was the result of poor decisions made by the selectors, prompted Counihan to break his silence. Counihan believed, for instance, that Moynihan should have been taken off Joe Kavanagh in the Munster final against Cork, where he was unable to play to his potential.

After two seasons as selector, a position he held along with Paul Lucy and Frank O'Leary, Counihan, from the Legion club, has since been replaced. This trio were brought in after Kerry's All-Ireland success of 1997, following the stepping down of Seamus Mac Gearailt and Tom O'Connor, and the death of Bernie O'Callaghan.

Three new selectors have since been named for the coming season - John O'Keeffe, Tatler Jack O'Sullivan and Jack O'Connor, who was also a part of the 1997 panel. It proved to be a difficult task for O Se to form a selection panel after losing the entire panel at the end of 1997.

Mac Gearailt, who acted as coach with O Se, was seen as the biggest loss at the time. Still, the reappointment of O'Connor has been welcomed as one of the more positive moves, as he has achieved success with the under-21 side in recent seasons.

While O Se has yet to comment on the allegations, sources in Kerry yesterday said he was shocked by Counihan's comments. The Kerry County Board, who hold their annual convention this evening, will, however, be making a statement on the omission of Moynihan from this year's All Star list.

In his report, county secretary Tony O'Keeffe will tell delegates that "we are quick to remind the selectors of the All Stars of the consistently high quality of Seamus Moynihan's performance over the last number of years, and are shocked at his omission from this year's team".

Meanwhile, yesterday saw the official launch in Dublin of the Millennium edition of The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games - updated to become the definitive record book covering every aspect of GAA activity.

The 600-page publication records all the teams and scores since the inauguration of the senior championship in 1887, as well as comprehensive information on colleges GAA, league finals and senior club records. It also includes sections on camogie, women's football and handball.

The book, which was launched by the GAA president Joe McDonagh, has taken two years to update and included the input from a team of experienced GAA historians. Priced £9.99, it is dedicated to the late Jack Lynch, who created his own niche in GAA history by becoming the only player to win six successive All-Ireland medals.

Elsewhere, a new sponsorship deal has been announced for Comhairle Ard Oideachais, with Analog Devices of Limerick coming on board.