Incoming president anxious to end ‘exclusive’ clubs practice

GAA president-elect Aogán Ó Fearghail has signalled his intention to target male-orientated, single-code clubs to encourage them to cater for more Gaelic games.

The Cavan man, who takes up office next February, revealed his displeasure with those units who compete in just one sport.

“As I go round the country, I see a lot of fantastic GAA clubs,” said Ó Feargail. “But, to be honest, I see some that are still exclusive, branding themselves as Gaelic football clubs. That’s common. I don’t like that. They’re usually male, usually football only and exclusively for the best. A lot of people don’t buy into that. The greatest need we have as human beings is to belong, and I would love that people would belong to the GAA.

“We are happy with our membership but I would like to see it increasing, more people taking part.”

Ó Fearghail insists he has no intention of assuming any of the executive power held by the director general’s office. In a media briefing following Saturday’s Congress, he said he will primarily be an ambassadorial Uachtarán.

Current director general Páraic Duffy’s contract finishes next February, but president Liam O’Neill has already stated he wants Duffy to remain in the position.

Ó Fearghail said: “There can only be one CEO in an organisation. The policy is directed by management and the volunteer committees. The president of the GAA should have a strong executive role in all that, but the implementation is the Ard Stiúrthóir’s role.”

Clarity in club fixtures is what Ó Fearghail hopes to bring to his three-year term. As he explained: “From a club point of view, they need clarity. My four children all play and we never know when we’re playing. My own club have had so many games changed and switched around. They don’t mind playing 10 Saturdays in a row if they know the 11th is off. County fixtures in general aren’t too bad. It’s when provincial councils come along and put their championships in on top of that and national level in on top of that. There’s no joined-up thinking. Nobody’s talking to the other. We could improve that situation.”


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