Burns and McCarthy battle to be next GAA president

Tonight’s battle to become the next GAA president is a two-horse race between Jarlath Burns and Larry McCarthy.

Burns and McCarthy battle to be next GAA president

Tonight’s battle to become the next GAA president is a two-horse race between Jarlath Burns and Larry McCarthy.

Former Armagh senior football captain Burns is considered a slight favourite ahead of Bishopstown-born and former New York chairman McCarthy, a current trustee of the organisation. Ex-Cork and Munster chairman Jerry O’Sullivan and former Connacht and Leinster chairs Mick Rock and Jim Bolger are the other candidates.

Burns had confirmed back as early as March 2017 that he wished to succeed current president John Horan, and was nominated by his county in September last year. That same month, McCarthy was proposed by the New York board.

Burns is the principal of St Paul’s High School in Bessbrook and was chair of the Playing Rules Committee when they successfully put forward the kick-out mark rule. He has highlighted being the youngest of the five candidates as an asset.

McCarthy, a member of the Sligo club in New York, is an associate professor of management at Seton Hall University in New Jersey where he specialises in sports marketing. He is also a member of the GAA’s Finance Committee. He has confirmed he will return to Ireland should he be voted in for the three-year term in office.

Like the other candidates, both men have raised the club-versus-county issue as a concern.

Both have also been heavily critical of the Gaelic Players Association. Earlier this week, McCarthy condemned the GPA for the extent of their fundraising activities in the US, especially in New York, describing them as “pirates”.

He told the42.ie: “The GPA leadership in particular seem to be going off on a little bit of a different tangent. We need to come back together again and start singing off the same hymn sheet.”

Speaking to Newstalk this week, Burns said the GPA were “hated”.

“When I met Paul Flynn, I said: ‘You definitely have an image problem among the GAA’.

“I mean, the GPA are hated, detested in the counties by all the volunteers and I don’t like that image that they have. It is not good for the association.”

Yesterday, bookmakers made Silverbridge man Burns the 8-13 favourite, although McCarthy’s odds have come in from 7-2 earlier in the week to 9-4. They had been as low as 2-1.

Three years ago, Martin Skelly was the odds-on favourite, but closer to the vote, Horan was backed into 13-8 having previously been 4-1.

In the first ballot in 2017, Horan exceeded the quota of 140 votes by four votes, with Frank Burke of Galway and Kerry’s Seán Walsh each receiving 46 votes, followed by Skelly (22) and Clare man Robert Frost (20).

However, long-time observers believe there will be a second vote at least this time around. As the president is elected on a proportional representation basis, in such a situation the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated, and so on until the quota has been reached.

Whoever wins tonight’s ballot will succeed Horan at the end of next year’s Congress.

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