Walsh aware of challenges

Chairman aims to put sustainable structures in place

Damian Stack

New Kerry Ladies Gaelic Football Board chairman Seán Walsh has outlined his plan to help put the organisation back on a sound footing in the months ahead.

The Moyvane man, who was elected to the role last week, sees his role as a short-term one, his aim being to help put sustainable structures in place to allow the organisation to thrive into the future.

"My intention would be to go in, get structures in place and then let them get people to run their own association then and there are obviously people who deserve to be chairpeople of their own board. That's what I'd like to do," he told The Kerryman on Tuesday.

The appointment of the former County Board chairman, Munster Council Chairman and two-time GAA presidential candidate is something of a coup for the Ladies Board at the end of months of turmoil, which saw the previous chairman (and secretary) step down after just a handful of weeks in the post.

"Basically I was asked by a number of people would I give a hand out to the Kerry ladies and I said that I'd love to give a hand out in the background if they got a chairman and secretary and officers, and help the officers in the background put things in place," Mr Walsh outlined.

"I told them to go and do that and get back to me if that was possible. Then they asked me would I meet a few people because they weren't getting anybody. They asked me would I take the chair and I was reluctant, very, very reluctant to take the position because I wanted them to have their own people in place and advise them.

"That was my only intention at the start, but as it turned out they didn't get a secretary or a chairman at the time and then I was asked would I go in as chair at the moment and try take it from there, so that's how it came about basically."

Walsh is well aware of the challenges which await him.

"The major challenge for me is that I'm coming from a position where I don't know the structures and obviously didn't know the people," he continued.

"When you're coming to be the chairman of a county board, like I was, you go up through the people and you know everybody around, so for me that's probably the biggest challenge at the moment.

"I'd say outside of that I'd be hoping to put structures in place with the executive and with the clubs to help them out going forward. That's my challenge. I've made that very, very clear that that's what I want to do with the experience I have over the past."

Despite all the controversy of recent months, the new chairman is optimistic about the future of the ladies game in the county.

"There is great potential at county level but you have to make sure you don't get tied up in that completely, that you must put the structures in place at club level and at county level and they have to be very good, because they wouldn't survive if they weren't," he commented.

"It isn't all bad, that's the one thing that I'd like to stress. Maybe there has been a lot of bad press over the last three or four months that we will work on that definitely and there's nobody in the county who doesn't know that we have to work on the image and improving on that."

The chairman confirmed that the board will resume its search for a new management team at a meeting on Thursday evening (Ciarán McCabe is currently in the role on an interim basis).