Cork GAA: Francis Kenneally looking forward to PRO challenge

Kanturk clubman elected to succeed Joseph Blake
Cork GAA: Francis Kenneally looking forward to PRO challenge

New Cork County Board PRO Francis Kenneally of Kanturk

New Cork County PRO Francis Kenneally says he is “honoured and humbled” to be taking up the role.

The Kanturk clubman was confirmed as the winner of the election on Friday night, beating Cian O’Brien of Glen Rovers by 396 votes to 186. Kenneally succeeds Joseph Blake (Adrigole), against whom he and O’Brien had both run in 2018, and one of his first tasks was attending Páirc Uí Chaoimh for Sunday’s Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC final, in which his club take on Newmarket in a Duhallow derby.

Kenneally runs The Central Stores in Kanturk, which set up by his parents in 1954. He first became involved with the club’s juvenile board in 1981 and since then he has served as chairperson, secretary and treasurer of the adult club as well as acting as a delegate to both the Duhallow divisional board and the county board. Away from GAA, he has been secretary of Kanturk Community Council and secretary and treasurer of Kanturk Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m honoured and humbled,” he said.

“It’s a daunting task, one I hope I am equal to. With the help and support of my wife Marie, and my adult children Aisling, Cathal and Ciara, I hope I can meet the challenges ahead in a good way. My mother Geraldine and late father Andrew were role models for me in the way they both served the community.

“I must thank my club Kanturk and other clubs around the duhallow Division and the county for nominating me. I must also thank fellow Kanturk club officers and members who helped with the canvassing.

“I know going forward I will need a formidable support team around me to do the job and do Cork GAA a service.” In congratulating Kenneally, Cian O’Brien expressed thanks for his years of involvement on the communications side of the county board.

“I’ve two smallies here at home and I’m kind of happy with the result as they get their daddy back,” he said.

The other position on the county executive that was contested was Irish and cultural officer. In that election, Ballinora’s Donal McSweeney defeated Tony McAuliffe of Lismire by 319 votes to 263.

The role of development officer, currently held by Noel O’Callaghan (Clonakilty), is due to be split in two, planning and training officer and a safety and facilities officer, but that must wait until the special convention in the spring at which motions will be debated – these were postponed when it was determined that convention would be held remotely. There is one nomination for each role – outgoing Irish and cultural officer Richard Murphy (Lyre) for planning and training and O’Callaghan for safety and facilities.

On Saturday night, former chairperson Tracey Kennedy was added to the list of board vice-presidents, proposed by her club colleague Patrick Mulcahy. Chairperson Marc Sheehan acknowledged that this was something that should probably have happened last year on the expiry of her term, as is customary for outgoing chairpersons.

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