|Nickname(s):||The Kingdom, |
The Green and Gold. Fungis Barmy Army
|Ground(s):||Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney|
Austin Stack Park, Tralee
|Dominant sport:||Gaelic Football|
|Football Championship:||Sam Maguire Cup|
|Hurling Championship:||Joe McDonagh Cup|
|Ladies' Gaelic football:||Dave Horkan Cup|
The Kerry County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (or Kerry GAA) is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Kerry. The county board is also responsible for the Kerry inter-county teams.
The Kerry branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in the year 1888. Football is the dominant sport in the county, with both the men's and women's teams among the strongest in the country at senior level. In hurling, the men's side compete in the sport's premier inter-county competition, the Liam MacCarthy Cup, while the camogie team does not compete at senior level.
Kerry are the most successful team in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, topping the list of counties for All-Irelands won. They have won the competition on 37 occasions, including two four-in-a-rows (1929–1932, 1978–1981) and two three-in-a-rows (1939–1941, 1984–1986). They have also lost more finals than any other county, having lost on 23 occasions. The Ó Sé family are particularly renowned: beginning with Páidí, they had at least one member play a part in all 22 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Finals that Kerry participated in between 1975 and 2014.
The team's current crest, which came into use in 2012, features design elements that represent the county: Kerry’s people, landscape, flora, fauna and artistry.
County name – A bold decorative Celtic-style Ciarraí brand featuring a crowned C which pays homage to the county’s moniker, 'The Kingdom'
Kerry’s people – St Brendan and his epic voyage: an inspiring tale of bravery, skill and innovation. The naomhóg (a craft associated with the coastal communities around Kerry) is propelled by a sail featuring a Celtic cross – the symbol of the GAA
Kerry’s fauna – Red Deer (Fia Rua): Ireland’s largest wild animal whose only remaining native herd is found on the slopes of Torc and Mangerton. These animals are believed to have had a continuous presence in Ireland since the end of the last Ice Age (c. 10,000 BC) and are steeped in folklore. It is said that 'Tuan', the King of the Deer, was given rights of free passage by Fionn McCool to the mountains of Kerry and that his blood line lives on in the present herd
Kerry’s landscape – Skellig Michael’s iconic silhouette rising out of the Atlantic Ocean. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site and famous around the globe
Kerry’s flora – Killarney woodland fern that thrives in wild exotic places; an evocation of majestic mountains, valleys and hills
Kerry’s artistry – A background pattern of concentric circles inspired by the gilding on the Ballinclemisig 'gold box' (part of the 'Kerry gold hoard' in the National Museum) and by Bronze Age stone carvings found all over Kerry
Kerry’s birdlife – Storm Petrel (An Guairdeall): Kerry plays host to the largest numbers of this species anywhere in the world and is the world headquarters for breeding pairs
It was introduced for copyright reasons, to secure the Kerry county board financially. The previous crest, shown on the right, which was used from 1988 to 2011 was based more on Irish and Celtic symbolism, featuring a round-tower church, an Irish Wolfhound and a harp.
Kerry traditional colours are gold and green and the county team kits are composed by a green shirt with a single golden hoop, white shorts and green and gold socks. In the early days of the All-Ireland Football Championship, counties were represented by the county champions. Kerry's first representatives were from Laune Rangers, and the blue of Laune Rangers was worn in Kerry's first championship outing in 1889. The royal blue of Laune Rangers were also worn in the 1892 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. Between 1889 and 1895 inclusive, the teams that went forward to represent Kerry were Laune Rangers and Ballymacelligott, who both wore blue.
In the early 20th century, selection committees had been established by the county board, but as Tralee Mitchels dominated the county championship, they had an influential voice in the selection of the team, and the county footballers wore the Mitchels colours of green and gold.
There are conflicting accounts of the jersey that Kerry wore in the first of the three games of the 1903 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final series with Kildare, but both accounts agree that the predominant colour was red. One account says that it was a red jersey with green neck and cuffs, which were the colours of the Tralee Mitchels junior football team. Another account says that it was an entirely red jersey with no green in it. The reason that Kerry wore this red or mainly red jersey was that a new set of green and gold jerseys was not delivered in time for the game. For the later games in the 1903 series of games, Kerry wore green jerseys with gold on the cuffs and over the shoulders. These were the colours of the Tralee Mitchels senior team.
The dominance of Mitchels players on the Kerry team at the point in which they won their first All-Ireland, reinforced the idea that green and gold were the Kerry colours, and they have been Kerry's traditional colours from the 1903 triumph onward. The 'classic' style is green with a gold hoop. The colours have been changed only rarely, most of all in the 80's finals against Offaly to avoid again colour clashes. In the 1939 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final Kerry were to play Meath, who also wear green and gold. To avoid a colour clash, Kerry wore the red and white of Dingle, the county champions at the time.
Kerry's inter-county teams are sponsored by the Kerry Group, in one of the longest standing sponsorship arrangements in the GAA. The teams have been connected with the Kerry Group since sponsorship became more open in the GAA in the early 1990s.
Kerry's jerseys are currently provided by O'Neills sportswear. The team kit had been supplied from 1996 to 1998 by Adidas, while prior to that contract in 1998, Kerry were partnered with the now-defunct Millfield brand.
1903 Final (V Kildare)
1903 Final (V London)
Kerry are the most successful team in football history, having won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship on 37 occasions and the National Football League 20 times. The team is also the holders of a number of distinctive records in football championship history. They have contested 59 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Finals, the next highest participator being Dublin with 36 appearances. Kerry's record in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship involves having played 30 of the 31 other counties, with only Kilkenny being the exception.
The traditional Irish game of caid, from which modern football developed, was especially popular in Kerry. The GAA was formed in 1884 and codified the modern rules of the game, which were soon adopted in Kerry clubs such as Laune Rangers. Despite this, the county team did not win an All-Ireland Football Championship in the nineteenth century. The 1903 title was the first won by Kerry, with them beating London in the final at a time when London were given a bye to that stage of the championship; Kerry's overall exceptional success in the game began in this period.
The Kerry team of the 1970s and 1980s were considered to be the greatest in the history of football and its manager (Mick O'Dwyer) one of the greatest of all time. In recent years Dublin have become the greatest team of all time winning 6 All-Irelands in a single decade. Their manager, Jim Gavin, is now acknowledged as the greatest manager of all time. Of the 20 All-Ireland finals held during those two decades, Kerry participated in 12, with victory coming on 9 occasions. During this time most other finals were won by Dublin, and there was a major rivalry between the two counties especially during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1982, Kerry came within one minute of winning an unprecedented fifth All-Ireland title in a row, only for a late goal by Offaly's Séamus Darby (controversial as many[who?] claimed Darby pushed the Kerry defender, Tommy Doyle, in the back) gave the title to Offaly. This goal was voted third in a poll to find the Top 20 GAA Moments.
Towards the end of the 1980s, Kerry went into decline and did not appear in an All-Ireland final for 11 years, between 1986 and 1997. The 1997 victory, however, would mark the beginning of a revival for Kerry which spanned roughly the first decade of the 21st century. Of the 15 All-Ireland finals between 1997 and 2011, Kerry contested ten and won six, including five titles in the 2000s. In 2006 and 2007, Kerry won consecutive All-Ireland titles (the first to do so since Cork in 1989 and 1990), while in 2009, they became only the third team to reach six consecutive All-Ireland finals (a feat last achieved by Dublin between 1974 and 1979), winning their 36th title by beating Cork in that final. Kerry quietly exited the 2010 and 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championships at the quarter-final stage, losing to Down and Donegal respectively, while Dublin defeated them in dramatic fashion on the last kick in the 2011 final. Dublin were also responsible for their exit at the semi-final stage in 2013 in a closely contested classic match. Kerry won their 37th, and most recent, All-Ireland title in 2014 against Donegal, winning by a margin of 2–09 to 0–12. This win was notable due to Kerry's fairly young squad and a belief that Kerry were becoming unable to produce the talent they once had, after pundit Joe Brolly had suggested as such. In the aftermath of the game, Kerry player Kieran Donaghy gave a famous interview in which he directly referenced Brolly's claim that the 'production line' in Kerry had stopped, with Donaghy speaking directly to the camera and asking 'Well, Joe Brolly, what do you think of that?'. The next year, Kerry again reached the All-Ireland final, only this time to be comfortably beaten by Dublin, 0–12 to 0–9. The next two years saw Kerry bow out at the Semi-Final stage. In 2016, they were narrowly defeated by Dublin in a thrilling encounter, while in 2017 they were beaten by Mayo in a replay – their first championship defeat to Mayo in 21 years. Kerry crashed out of the 2018 championships at the group stages of the new Super Eights format. However, in 2019 Kerry reached their first All-Ireland final for four years. The first match was drawn 1–16 to 1–16, with the final to be played on 14 September.
Kerry's 2009 title was also notable since it followed the return of Tadhg Kennelly. The son of Tim Kennelly, a five-time All-Ireland winner with Kerry, and a former talented underage player with the county, he had joined the AFL's Sydney Swans and become the first Irish player to win an AFL Premiership in 2005 (the Swans' first in 72 years). Following Tim's death later that year, he elected to return to Ireland and rejoin Kerry in 2009 in pursuit of winning an All-Ireland of his own playing for the county. After he succeeded and became the first player to have won an All-Ireland and an AFL Premiership, he returned to Australia and the Swans to finish his career.
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In 2003, team made it to the fourth round of the qualifiers only to go down to Limerick 1–14 to 0–24 in Austin Stack Park in Tralee. Along the way they beat Westmeath, Carlow and beaten Ulster finalists Derry. The wins over Westmeath and Carlow represented the first time a Kerry team strung two consecutive Championship victories together. It also marked the first occasion that the Kerry hurling team played more championship games then the Kerry football team.
For many years the senior team played in the Junior and Intermediate Championships and had some success. They won All-Ireland titles at Junior level in 1961 and 1972, and won a Munster Championship at junior level in 1956. At Intermediate level they won Munster titles in 1970 and 1973.
Kerry have played in just one Munster Minor Hurling Championship Final, in 1938, when they lost to a Cork team that included the great Christy Ring. They have however won and played in a number of All-Ireland B Finals.
Kerry have never won the Munster Under-21 Hurling Championship, their most notable achievement in the championship came in 2004 when they ran Limerick to 3 points in Austin Stack Park. They have however won and played in a number of All-Ireland U21 B Championship Finals.
The advent of the Christy Ring Cup has seen Kerry become very competitive. They first made the semi-finals in 2009 where they lost out to Carlow after a replay. They went a step more in 2010 making the final but losing out to Westmeath. In 2011 they again made the final, but this time won the title with voctory over Wicklow. From 2013 to 2015 they made the final each year, losing to Down in 2013 and Kildare in 2014 before finally getting over the line thanks to victory over Derry
Kerry won the Division 2A final of the 2015 National Hurling League and advanced to the relegation/promotion match with favorites Antrim, a late point by substitute John Egan saw Kerry advance to Division 1B.