Delight for Cavan as 'president' O Fearghail makes history
Aogán O Fearghail will succeed Liam O'Neill as GAA president after winning the election in a three-way vote at Congress in Croke Park.
He is the first Cavan man to be elected to the GAA's highest administrative position and will be the first Ulster president since Seán McCague (Monaghan) held the position in 2000-03.
O Fearghail, a 54-year-old national school principal, beat Seán Walsh (Kerry) and Sheamus Howlin (Wexford) and will serve a year as president-elect for the next year, prior to replacing O'Neill.
O Fearghail won on the first count, polling 170 votes, followed by Howlin on 83 and Walsh on 57. He had 30 votes to spare over the combined vote of his two rivals, which gives him a strong mandate.
O Fearghail, a member of the Drumgoon Eire Og club, worked his way up the administration ladder via the Ulster Council, where he served as PRO, vice chairman and chairman.
Speaking after his election, he identified what he termed the "four Fs" – fixtures, facilities, finances and family – as key areas on which he will concentrate.
The election was the main focus of last night's opening session which earlier heard director-general Paraic Duffy state that selling overseas rights for TV coverage of football and hurling would be a major part of the latest rights deal which is currently being negotiated.
"We have a responsibility to ensure that our games are brought to as many people as possible all over the world. Obviously, our own people abroad are very anxious to see as many games as they can and we will do everything we can to see that they are satisfied. We also want to bring our games to a new audience," he said.
Duffy also said that while playing more games on Friday nights was attractive, it would be unfair on players to expect them to work a full day before playing a major game. "We cannot expect that from amateur players," he said.