Cork County Board vice-chairman Kevin O’Donovan was confirmed last night as successor to long-serving board secretary Frank Murphy.
O’Donovan takes over from Murphy, whose 45 years of service conclude with this December’s convention of the county board; the new man’s tenure begins officially on December 17.
Last night the Cork County Board issued a statement reading: “The recruitment process, organised by the GAA’s HR Department at the request of Cork County Board, commenced in July and the interview panel, comprised of a number of high level GAA representatives, recommended the appointment of Kevin O’Donovan.
“This recommendation was accepted by the Cork County Board Executive at a meeting on Thursday November 1st, and is subject to final approval by the Cork County Board at its next meeting.”
A member of Kilmeen and Kilbree GAA club, O’Donovan has previously completed an agribusiness and rural development degree (UCD), a postgraduate diploma in education (UCC) and doctorate in labour research (UCD).
He has served as chairman, secretary, juvenile secretary and coaching officer with his home club and as chairman/secretary to various county sub-committees in coaching, grading and strategic planning.
He was elected as county coaching officer in December 2014, having spent five years before that as a Cork GDA in the Carbery/Beara Region; he was County Development Squads Administrator for three of those years also.
He is a member of the GAA National Fixtures Analysis Committee and chairs the Cork GAA Competitions Control Committee.
Welcoming the appointment, County Board Chair Tracey Kennedy, said: “Our priority is to maintain and improve the high level of engagement by clubs, players and volunteers whose work shapes and defines the organisation in the county, and to ensure that Cork GAA is equipped to grow and operate successfully into the future.
“The performances of all our county teams are also of paramount importance. The success of our development squad programme, in which Kevin has been pivotally involved, is vital to the creation of a pathway for success in the future.
“With reports due from our strategic plan implementation committee and our football planning committee in the near future, we will expect the new secretary to drive any recommendations approved by the County Board.
“The management and optimisation of our magnificent new stadium, Páirc Ui Chaoimh, is also an important task in which our new secretary will have a role as a member of the Board of Directors. It is imperative that the stadium fulfils it games promotion role as one of the premier GAA venues in the country. It must also achieve the commercial and community objectives which have been set.
“Kevin succeeds someone whose work on behalf of the GAA in Cork and nationally is immeasurable.
“In his term of office as County Board secretary, Frank Murphy has overseen the growth of the GAA organisation in Cork, the phenomenal success of our inter-county teams, the radical redevelopment of club facilities, the development of three new stadiums, the achievement of unparalleled sponsorship support for our county teams and so much more.
“Cork County Board looks forward to working with our new secretary as we enter a new phase in the life of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Cork and we wish him every success in his new role.”
In 2016 O’Donovan circulated a 25-point plan for the future of Cork GAA and ahead of the following year’s annual convention he told the Irish Examiner at that time that “a more open approach” was needed, adding: “There is a disconnect there that we need to address, people in clubs need to be able to see and feel real democracy, it’s no use saying that it’s there.
“It’s easy to tell people that they can bring about change by going down to their local club, writing a motion and getting that through at county and national level, but there are a lot of hoops to be jumped through, it’s not quite that simple.
“The alternative option is to put yourself out there and stand as a candidate, give people an option, and that’s what I’m doing.
“I have a vision for the county, I feel that we should be investing in coaching and supporting clubs.”