Sport GAA

Saturday 15 December 2018

Tom Ryan the favourite for GAA's top job

Tom Ryan is currently employed in Croke Park as the GAA's director of finance. Photo: Sportsfile
Tom Ryan is currently employed in Croke Park as the GAA's director of finance. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Tom Ryan has emerged as favourite to be named as the new GAA director-general on Saturday.

Currently employed in Croke Park as the GAA's director of finance, he is expected to be the man entrusted to take over from Páraic Duffy, who is due to depart at the end of the month after ten years in the job.

Former president Liam O'Neill (Laois) and former Tipperary All-Ireland-winning manager Liam Sheedy, who has served on the GAA Management Committee, are also understood to be in the final three.

It's understood that the name of the recommended candidate will be put before a Central Council meeting on Saturday.

And while it's a certainty that it will be accepted, the rules state that Central Council is the body which formally makes the appointment.

As director of finance, Ryan is well-known throughout the Association, having been a senior figure in Croke Park for several years.

O'Neill served as president from 2012-2015 before returning to his job as a national school principal.

Sheedy chaired the Hurling 2020 Committee, which reported in 2015, and was appointed to the Management Committee three years ago.

The process to appoint a successor to Duffy ran into early controversy when the original advertisement stipulated that only those with a Level 8 (Honours) Business degree would be eligible for consideration.

The inclusion of such a restriction, which would have ruled out many genuine contenders, including some already working in Croke Park, drew criticism within the GAA on the basis that it was an unnecessary requirement.

It was eventually withdrawn, leading to the closing date for applications being put back by nine days in January.

It's understood that around ten candidates were interviewed in the initial round, before being cut to the short-listed three. They were interviewed two weeks ago.

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