Sport GAA

Sunday 19 August 2018

The likely contenders to take over from Páraic Duffy as director-general of the GAA


Lian Sheedy, John Costello and Jarlath Burns
Lian Sheedy, John Costello and Jarlath Burns
Another leading candidate could be former Tipperary hurling manager Liam Sheedy Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The search for a new GAA director-general will begin immediately following the announcement by Páraic Duffy that he is to retire at the end of next March, having completed ten years in the position.

Given its prestigious position in Irish life, an extensive list of applications can be expected from inside and outside the GAA. Duffy completed his initial seven-year term in 2015 but was asked to stay on. However, after two more years, he has decided to step down.

Since news of his planned departure only came yesterday, it's difficult to gauge who might be in line to replace him, although some high-profile names are certain to figure in the predictions.

Among them are Dublin CEO John Costello, who is highly regarded for his contribution to taking the GAA to record levels of success and popularity in the capital.

Ironically, his fellow Dub Pat Gilroy is was on the shortlist for the Croke Park post a decade ago but will not be involved this time, having taken over as the county's hurling manager yesterday. He is also a successful businessman as MD of the Designer Group.

Another leading candidate could be former Tipperary hurling manager Liam Sheedy, a provincial director with Bank of Ireland and a member of the GAA's management committee.

Former Armagh midfielder Jarlath Burns indicated earlier this year that he would be interested in running for the presidency at some stage.

However, it's possible that he could now turn his attention to the director-general's job. Since the last four director-generals have come from the teaching profession, his job as principal of St Paul's in Bessbrook, Armagh certainly wouldn't be a hindrance.

Leinster Council CEO Michael Reynolds could also be in the mix. Internal Croke Park candidates may include stadium director Peter McKenna, head of communications Alan Milton, head of games Feargal McGill, and finance director Tom Ryan. McKenna is understood to have been in the final three in 2007.

An unusual aspect of the latest appointment is that two presidents will be involved. Aogán O Fearghaíl is due to complete his term in February and will be replaced by John Horan, so obviously both will be influential figures in appointing the association's 19th director-general.

Irish Independent

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