The GPA has a new chairman as Limerick's Seamus Hickey replaces Dónal Óg Cusack
Limerick hurler Seamus Hickey has been elected as chairman of the Gaelic Players Association, replacing Dónal Óg Cusack, who is standing down after the 13 years in the role to join the Clare backroom team.
Hickey, a member of the National Executive Committee for the past three years, won the vote at the players’ body’s AGM in Athlone yesterday. He was part of the GPA’s Educational Review Group and recently helped manage the Super 11s project in Boston.
“As a county hurler I realise the ability of the GPA, through the Development Programme, to make a profound difference to the lives of players who need to achieve balance in their lives due to the commitments involved in their sport. I look forward to working with the staff and officers in supporting our county players,” he said.
Dublin footballer Paul Flynn, another member of the GPA National Executive, takes over from David Collins as secretary. President Dermot Earley was returned unopposed. Waterford’s Noel Connors and Cork hurler Stephen McDonnell have been appointed to the executive.
Chief executive Dessie Farrell paid tribute to Cusack, saying: “The GPA is a very ambitious and hard-working organisation and we are dependent on the essential input of our non-executive officers and their voluntary efforts on behalf of players.
“On that score the contribution of Dónal Óg to the GPA has been immeasurable. His leadership has been inspirational to everyone who worked with him. I can attest to Dónal Óg’s integrity, judgement, courage and passion.”
Cusack added: “While today is an emotional day for me personally it is an important day for the GPA as we look to the future and embrace change. I am incredibly proud of the GPA and what we have achieved together. I’d like to thank the GPA staff and officers, particularly Dessie Farrell who has helped build a quite remarkable organisation. There are also many selfless and courageous players who quietly served the development of the Association during my period as chairman.
“I believe the GPA Player Development Programme, supporting our athletes to be their very best off the field as well as on it, is a model that will serve players and the wider GAA very well into the future. Of course there are significant challenges still to be met – none more so that ensuring county players increasingly engage with GPA programmes and do not commit to the games at the expense of their personal development. We need to ensure that the proper resources are made available to support our players.”