Quinlan surges back in the race for key Irish athletics post

MICHAEL QUINLAN could be poised for a dramatic return to athletics’ top table at the Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI) annual congress in Dublin at the weekend.

Quinlan will contest for the Chair of Finance and Risk. Mary Coghlan, with practically every county behind her, was in an unassailable position to retain that seat but then she was appointed to the vacant chief executive’s job.

Tomorrow there will be two nominations before Congress for the position. Gerry Giblin, a member of Raheny Shamrock AC, has been nominated by Meath County Board while Quinlan has been nominated by Wicklow County Board.

Both have lengthy pedigrees in athletics.

Giblin has been involved for some 30 years while Quinlan, who hails from Bandon, served for 16 years as treasurer of BLE before the new structure was put in place. Finance Manager with the ESB’s commercial group, Power Generation, he was Olympic team manager for Athens in 2004, was world cross-country manager four times and was team manager when Sonia O’Sullivan won her first European gold medal in Helsinki in 1994.

All the indications were that he would be contesting the Coaching Committee Chair this weekend but he has withdrawn his name from that contest following the departure of Mary Coghlan from the equation.

And his candidature was given a major boost this week when Cork County Board voted to support him. It is understood that Dublin County Board, originally behind Mary Coghlan, will also support him and, apart from Wicklow, Donegal will support him and he should have strong support in Munster.

Gerry Giblin, who has a degree in software engineering and mathematics from TCD and is currently chief executive in a company that provides software to the financial services industry, has been working closely with the outgoing president, Michael Heery, in recent years and was co-opted to the AAI Board in January. He has served as a member of Finance and Risk Committee for the past two years.

That should be a close head to head, while Olympic team manager, Patsy McGonagle, will be the favourite when he takes on former national secretary, Dermot Nagle, in a contest to replace new president, Liam Hennessy, as Chair of High Performance.

Paddy Fay, the man mainly responsible for putting Irish sprinting on the map, will be favourite to take over the Chair of Coaching.

Paddy Marley, after serving for 14 years as Competition Secretary under the old structure and then Chair of the Competition Committee, is retiring and there could be a close contest for this position between the former national secretary, Georgina Drumm, and Brendan McDaid from Donegal.

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