Fresh thinking and new blood the only way forward for IFA
Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30
The feeling of euphoria in the west is like when Connacht recently completed the seasonal double over their nearest and keenest provincial rival, Munster, for the first time ever.
For over a decade, Joe Healy often opened his beef market report in this paper with a topical sporting analogy. So I thought it only fitting to come up with something similar as a parting tribute, following his election last week as 15th president of the Irish Farmers Association.
His victory was a landslide. That's good in a way. There were no hard luck stories. It looked inevitable from very early on. Wexford, a predominantly tillage and livestock county where Henry Burns would have expected to do well, was going heavily to the Galwayman.
Just 90 minutes into the count, I was talking to North Tipp stalwart Philip Kinane when Joe happened by. Philip said: "You better start saying goodbye to your wife and family now because you won't be seeing much of them for the next couple of years."
It was a vote for change, a total break from the old regime, a re-birth.
Returning to the rugby analogy, IFA members are now hoping that Joe Healy will be able to match Connacht coach Pat Lam's achievement in crafting a successful team that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts.
While there is currently an over-riding sense of goodwill towards the new leader, some seasoned observers have expressed concern at his inexperience.
Thus, his backroom team will be critical. Unlike Lam, much of that team is already in place, in terms of the IFA commodity secretaries.