Not since Pat O’Brien assumed the highest honorary role in Irish football back in 1986 has a Leesider held the office.
Fitzgerald, from Ballyphehane, stated upon his election by fellow FAI officers: “Hopefully I will be able to live up to the task of this onerous position.”
The new president steps up to the role, having served as vice-president to his departing predecessor Paddy McCaul for the past four years.
Fitzgerald, who turned 71 a day before his elevation, possesses a rich history in football. As well as being a former long-standing chairman and fixtures secretary of the Cork AUL, he represented the Munster Football Association in various FAI committees over the decades, including a term as FAI Youths committee chairman.
Fitzgerald, who will serve four years in the post, added: “I am honoured to have been elected president of the FAI. It is a very proud moment for me and I look forward to serving the needs of our volunteers nationwide.”