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Why Austin Stacks Will Represent Kerry In The Munster Club Championship

Why Austin Stacks Will Represent Kerry In The Munster Club Championship

East Kerry ended a 20-year wait for a Kerry Senior Football Championship title on Sunday by defeating reigning champions Dr Crokes by ten points in Tralee.

However, as East Kerry is a divisional team they will not represent Kerry in the Munster Senior Club Football Championship.

Instead, it is Austin Stacks - the club of Kieran Donaghy - who will go forward to play Nemo Rangers in the Munster semi-final on Sunday at Páirc Uí Rinn.

In April, Stacks beat Dr Crokes to win a separate competition: the Kerry Club Football Championship. That competition features Kerry's eight senior clubs.

The Senior Football Championship includes the county's nine divisional sides, one of which is East Kerry. Divisional teams are comprised of players from clubs involved in Kerry's intermediate, premier junior, junior and novice championships.

In years past, if a club side reached the Kerry SFC final but lost to a divisional team, they still went on to represent the Kingdom in Munster. However, that has since changed, meaning that the Club Championship winners go forward if a club does not win the Kerry SFC.

"It was just around the final whistle that we said, 'Right, we're there'," Austin Stacks manager Wayne Quillinan told Radio Kerry on Sunday.

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Three weeks ago, with Crokes the only club side remaining in the championship, the Stacks senior team met to discuss the possibility that they could end up playing in Munster.

Three weeks prior to that, in round 2B of the Kerry SFC, they were eliminated when losing to East Kerry by six points.

"We didn't do ourselves justice in the championship and we were very disappointed in our own performances," said Quillinan.

"We just felt that this could be a huge opportunity for ourselves."

Stacks had a man in the crowd at the GAA Grounds in Mallow on Sunday as Nemo Rangers beat Newcastle West by three points in the Munster quarter-final.

"We have a small bit of work done on Nemo," added Quillinan.

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"Obviously, until the final whistle today, we couldn't show it to the lads. We'll be fine-tuning ourselves this week and focusing on ourselves as much as we can."

Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

In Pictures: Great Scenes As East Kerry Celebrate Bridging 20-Year Title Gap

PJ Browne
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