GAA president Larry McCarthy has revealed he flew approximately 80,000 air miles in the last three months of his successful campaign to become the 40th president of the GAA.
The Bishopstown-born man outlined that over half of those trips from Newark Airport close to his New Jersey home were done this year as the race to succeed John Horan next February intensified. “Think about it, 6,000 miles a trip,” he told the Irish Examiner. “I’ve been here (in Ireland) six weekends in a row. So that’s 36,000 air miles and that was just January and February.
“In November, the first weekend I was in San Diego for the USGAA Convention. The second weekend, I was in New York for the Super 11s because there were four hurling teams there. The third weekend, I was in Munich for European Convention.
“The fourth I was in Abu Dhabi for the All-Stars. I flew back from Abu Dhabi on a Monday, went to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and hopped on a plane on Friday to go to Montreal for the Canadian Convention. I don’t know how many air miles that was — but it needed to be done.
“And when I was here I’d go around the country to matches or meeting people.” Two weekends before Congress, McCarthy landed in Dublin Airport at 7am and met Offaly chairman Michael Duignan in Tullamore at 9.30am. That night, he met the Monaghan board and the folnext day he was in Arklow to meet Wicklow officials. On Sunday, he met a Westmeath delegation.
The weekend before that, he had completed the same trip of flying out of Newark on a Thursday evening. On Saturday, he drove to Mohill to meet Leitrim and was in Oranmore on Sunday to chat with Galway’s officers. “You need to press the flesh and meet people. They want to meet you. Obviously, the 6,000 miles a trip is a unique.”
McCarthy this week went about the official process of requesting a sabbatical from his position as associate professor of the management department in New Jersey’s Seton Hall where he specialises in sports marketing. He and wife Barbara will then go about looking for accommodation in Dublin where he previously worked as a teacher before leaving for the US in 1985.
“When I first announced that I was going (for the presidency), I was at a wedding with Barbara, I got back and an accounting professor sent me a note saying, ‘Congratulations, my father would be delighted with you.’ His father is from Mayo. I said, ‘Oh Lord, this is in the building.’
“The dean was walking by half an hour later and I said, ‘Listen, can I have a word with you?’ I said, “Look, I’m running for this…’ and she said, ‘I thought you were the president.’ I said: ‘No, no, no, I’m not.’ I said: ‘I’m going for it and then if I get it I have to move to Ireland for three years.’
“Her reaction was: ‘How is that going to work?’ I said: ‘First of all, I have to get elected. And then secondly we have 12 months in which to work it out.’ She said: ‘That’s fine.’ I kicked the can down the road a little bit.” McCarthy gets back to GAA business with a New York GAA board meeting this week concerning plans for Gaelic Park but there will be time to celebrate in Ned Devine’s in The Bronx this weekend.
In his acceptance speech last week, McCarthy thanked those in his home club. “I’m distant at this stage from Bishopstown to a certain extent. The family home is still there and any time I’m in Cork I stay there and walk up around the corner to the club. The fellas in the club were very supportive. I don’t know if they did much agitating in Cork for me but I did get a lot of support and text messages from Bishopstown.”