Friday 21 July 2017

Horan 'not running to be beaten' in GAA president race

Horan, who plans on making club fixtures a priority if he takes office in 2018, doesn’t believe being from Dublin will cost him votes. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Horan, who plans on making club fixtures a priority if he takes office in 2018, doesn’t believe being from Dublin will cost him votes. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Leinster Council chairman John Horan has revealed that he agreed to throw his name in the ring to be the next GAA president after being approached by people he holds in "high regard" within the GAA and he insists he's "not running to be beaten".

Horan is part of the race to succeed Aogán ó Fearghail and admits that running for the seat was not part of his original plan.

"It really came about after I took over as chairman of Leinster Council," explained the Dublin native.

"It was approached by people I have a high regard for within the Association and particularly in Leinster and they just said I should give serious consideration to it.

"And based on their credibility and the respect I would have for those people and those counties, that's where I made up my mind. It was never a dream or a thought in my head at any stage."

Horan, who plans on making club fixtures a priority if he takes office in 2018, doesn't believe being from Dublin will cost him votes. Dublin haven't held the office since Dr JJ Stewart almost 60 years ago.

"Somebody who's close to me, said, 'Are you going to pick the best candidate or pick someone based on geography?' That would be my line to anyone who says that.

"It is a fact of life but I've lived with that for all my life. The difference for me is that I've come another route, through the schools and then got involved in coaching and games. Liam O'Neill, Nickey Brennan and Sheamus Howlin all asked me to do jobs during their terms as Leinster chairman.

"It was from that that I stepped forward to the position - with the encouragement of some of those individuals - so I've come in a completely different route and am not seen as much a Dub as if I had been a former Dublin county chairman.

"I think I've delivered reasonably well in Leinster for all the counties and I don't think any county could or would say my decisions were coloured by being from Dublin."

And despite being a late entry into the field, Horan believes he can succeed. On occasion in the past, GAA presidents have been elected after running for a second time.

"Somebody said to me one night, 'Do you think you'll win it?' and I said, 'Well, I'm not running to be beaten and I'm not running to run a second time either'. I'm running with the hope that I will actually win it. Having considered all the support that has been offered to me and the level of support that I have encountered, it gives me confidence that I have something to build on but I do think I've a strong enough base."

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