THERE are changes at the top table of Cork camogie.
Long-serving chair Mary McSweeney and vice-chair Sheila Golden handed over the reins to outgoing registrar Mairead Donovan, who assumes the role of chairwoman with Rachel Crean taking on the vice-chair role. Darina Foley is now registrar while Louise Weldon is the board's new PRO.
Mairead Donovan from the Ballincollig club is an experienced administrator having served in various roles with both club and county. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the role of chairperson of the Cork Camogie Board and is a very capable official.
A member of the Ballincollig club who she has served with pride on and off the playing fields, Mairead has been involved in the club since its inception in 1974 when her late mother Lily O’Sullivan, Nell Hennigan and Fr Kieran Twomey got camogie up and running for the young girls in the area. Little did they think all those years ago that one of their members would one day go on to lead the county board.
She has excelled as a player, trainer and officer for the club for the past 44 years, where she served in various roles including club chairwoman, a role she held until stepping down in 2012.
Coming from a family steeped in all things GAA her late father Con O'Sullivan was a hard-working official with the Ballincollig GAA club and Bord na nÓg.
She held the position of club treasurer and PRO before taking on the role of chair where she guided the club through a huge growth curve as they saw a doubling in size of players, mentors and members.
The club grew from being a junior club with approximately four underage teams to the senior ranks with at least 12 active teams. She had the honour of seeing them achieved success winning the junior A and senior B county championships in successive years.
Not alone has Mairead served her club with great enthusiasm she also served as an officer of the Cork County Board and Cork juvenile board, from 1982 to 1984 she held the position of county treasurer and served as an officer in those years with her late mother Lily who was county registrar.
She was appointed as a development officer in 2011 to steer the Go Games ethos in underage camogie throughout the county, this involved organizing a structured programme of games for seventy clubs at U8, U9, U10 and U12 age groups.
As well as organising the games she organised refereeing courses for young girls to learn how to referee the Go Games. As the development officer, Mairead was also instrumental in helping set up new underage camogie clubs as she arranged start-up equipment, funding and education courses for the mentors in these new clubs who are now flourishing.
In recent years she took on the role of registrar and over the last two years headed up a juvenile committee which successfully oversaw the organizing of underage league and championships.
Last year she was elected as incoming chair which is a stepping stone to taking over the role as next chairperson the following year. Despite Cork camogie being unable to hold a convention Mairead formally assumed the role virtually as the 2020 season drew to its conclusion recently.
She is passionate about spreading the game to all corners of the county through her work at county level has seen her always available for fundraising, gate collections at matches, and supporting various county teams at all levels she has always shown total commitment to camogie with her club and county. She simply has a genuine love of the game and an enduring wish that all players, parents and trainers who take part enjoy themselves, make friends and learn about the game of camogie.
I have been privileged to have worked closely with her on various committees, down through the years, she is a hard-working, genuine person and both Linda Mellerick and I are looking forward to working closely with Mairead and her team as we all continue to promote Cork camogie to the highest levels.