From Bishopstown to New York, meet GAA president-elect Larry McCarthy

From Bishopstown to New York, meet GAA president-elect Larry McCarthy
Newly elected President of the GAA, Larry McCarthy. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

A REBEL will serve as the new GAA president, after Larry McCarthy's surprise victory in the vote at this weekend's GAA Congress.

While the GAA community on Leeside had been hoping to see former Cork chairman Jerry O'Sullivan elected, McCarthy, the New York representative, prevailed at Croke Park.

A native of Bishopstown who emigrated to the USA in 1985 after a spell playing with Raheny when he was a teacher in Dublin, McCarthy is the first overseas president of the Association. 

On Friday he received 142 votes on the fourth count to defeat his main rival, Armagh's Jarlath Burns, by 10 to become the 40th in the role.

An Associate Professor of Management at Seton Hall University, teaching in the sports management programme where he specialises in sports marketing, McCarthy will vacate that position to move back to Ireland next year to serve the GAA.

Married to Barbara, a Dubliner, they have two sons in the 20s, Conor and Shane, McCarthy will succeed Dubliner John Horgan for a three-year term until 2024.

"It was a long, hard, tough campaign as it should be for a leadership position like that and I am absolutely delighted to come out ahead of it," he told RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.

Picture: INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon
Picture: INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon

"My GAA credentials come from New York although obviously I was born and reared in Cork and then I was involved in Thomond College in administering the club. I was secretary of the club for a couple of years and then went to New York in 1985 to do a Masters degree.

"I did some more degrees and ended up staying there and got involved with New York GAA. But I represent at some level New York GAA, the North American GAA and the GAA of the diaspora.

"That's not to say there is a division between ourselves and the GAA at home. But undoubtedly, it's a proud moment I think for all of those who have soldiered over the years."

His election reflects the way GAA has expanded globally in the modern age.

"We've the one set of games, we have the one ambition in terms of why we're involved in the GAA and it's no different in Shanghai than it is in, let's say, Strokestown."

He'll be taking a sabbatical to return to his native shores and said the fixtures issue will be a major problem to solve to find a balance between the club and inter-county.

At the Congress a vote to decide on what time to run the U20 football All-Ireland series (it was summer in 2019 and is currently at the provincial final stage this year), was the postponed until after the championship.

"Tom Ryan (GAA director-general) alluded to it, it's the constant balancing of the fixtures and I think that's a big thing," he said.

"Now, the fixtures review committee have come out with a very good plan, I think, and I've said this to all the county boards I went to visit.

"They have identified five weekends in the middle of summer, in the best months of the year: June, July and August. They've moved things around to identify these as club-only and there is going to be a time earlier in the season and a time late in the year to play other club games.

"Certainty of fixture and that certainty of time commitment, (means) a lot of the tension will disappear out of the tension that exists between county and club games."

A host of proposed rule changes were also voted on at Congress. 

The black card/sin bin will remain confined to Gaelic football as the motion to introduce it to hurling was soundly defeated, picking up just 18% of delegates’ support.

Cork’s motion, put forward by St Ita's, to apply replays to All-Ireland semi-finals that finish level at the end of normal time was defeated with just 27% of delegates backing it.

The advanced mark is here to stay after 90% were in favaour of it, while the suggestion that the role of ending the role of maor foirne narrowly failed to receive the necessary 60% backing.

A suggestion that a sideline cut be worth two points was soundly beaten as well.

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