Róisín Jordan, the GAA’s first ever female county board chairperson, was ousted in a three-way contest for the top post at annual convention.
She was challenged by former PRO Damian Harvey, but it was Carrickmore Eire Óg club man Kerr who emerged as the victor to become the first representative from a hurling club to hold the position in the county.
Harvey, with 54 votes to Kerr’s 50, was ahead after the first round of voting, with the outgoing chair on 46, but it was Kerr who took the lion’s share of Jordan’s redistributed votes to comfortably win the election 78-66.
“I’ll be sitting down with the other officers over the next couple of days, and we’ll draft the way forward. And hopefully as a county we’ll all go forward together, the whole of GAA Tyrone,” said the new chairman.
Kerr had served three years as vice-chairman, and it had been anticipated that those in the leading positions in the county board would be returned unopposed annually until they had completed five years in office, as they had been at the previous two conventions.
But it appears his hand was forced by the unexpected challenge to the sitting chairperson.
In line to take over as chairman in 2019, he steps into the top position much earlier.
Kerr would not be drawn on the sequence of events which led to a tense election contest.
“The way it is in the minute with the GAA in Tyrone, every office is open every year, and it’s up to people to put themselves forward.
“I’m honoured to have been elected by the people, and I hope I do them proud in the way I handle myself over the next year as chair of the county board.”
One issue he faces in the early weeks of his chairmanship is the vexed relationship with the county’s LGFA over the fees it has been charged for the use of Garvaghey for training sessions this season as the Tyrone ladies team prepared for a championship run which took them all the way to the All-Ireland IFC final.
“That will be discussed around the management table of our county committee, and I expect to see the ladies involved in some of those decisions.
“We will be working on a resolution to all the issues within Tyrone GAA.”
And the new chairman paid tribute to the outgoing chair, history-maker Jordan.
“Róisín has been a tremendous asset to Tyrone down through the years, and when she was elevated to the chair she definitely served this county well, and I have nothing but the highest regard for her. I wish her all the best going forward in whatever way she will be involved with the GAA.”
Earlier, Jordan, in her address to the convention, revealed legal action is being considered over attempts to undermine her position. She hit out at those she alleged had acted with sinister intent, and insisted she has always acted in the interests of Tyrone GAA.