Avril Geary prepares to take over as first female chair of Imokilly GAA

St Ita's club woman commences her new role at the East Cork convention with Dick Fitzgerald, Patrick Mulcahy and Damian Irwin also stepping into vital jobs on the committe
Avril Geary prepares to take over as first female chair of Imokilly GAA

Avril Geary of St Ita's GAA Club will become the first female chair of Imokilly GAA at Annual Convention.

TODAY is a historic date in the annals of East Cork GAA. 

At this evening's Annual Imokilly Convention in Dungourney, Avril Geary of St Ita's will become the first female chairperson of the famed division.

After only becoming involved in administration matters six years ago, Avril has quickly risen through the ranks, having been secretary of her club and then both PRO and vice chairperson of Imokilly in recent times. Now she takes the biggest step and it is one which the Youghal native is eagerly looking forward to, with a number of interesting challenges on the horizon in the years ahead.

Geary always had GAA in her blood. Born in the shadows of the Copper Alley Grounds in Youghal, she was a regular match goer from a young age, traveling the highways and byways to club and county grounds. A subsequent move a few miles east to St Ita's land with her husband Eamon brought involvement at committee level with the Pilmore-based club and a move into the secretary's chair.

"Little did I think when I first became involved at committee level at St Ita's that I would get to this stage and especially in such a short space of time. Tracey Kennedy made the real history, by becoming the first lady to serve on the East Cork Board and then obviously to go to the very top in the county. 

"It's just a great honuor to be the first lady to take the role of chairperson and shows how far things have come when you reflect on almost 100 years in the division."

Avril Geary with fellow Imokilly GAA officers at the launch of the year's East Cork Oil JAHC.
Avril Geary with fellow Imokilly GAA officers at the launch of the year's East Cork Oil JAHC.

Working in GAA administration was obviously something of an instant love affair for Avril.

"Once I got involved, I was simply bitten by the bug. I was captivated by the whole thing of going to local meetings and the County Board as proxy delegate. In some ways, it can be thankless but very enjoyable at the same time. 


"Matters such as the split season can pose huge challenges to counties, clubs and divisions. In the shorter club season, it can become a battle for referees and venues in a condensed time. That's one of the biggest challenges that we face. 

The split season is here to stay and I think we are going to see continuous evolution. Until the master fixture plan comes through from Croke Park, we can't really look at our calendar for 2023."

Geary has strong ambitions to reinstate the local U20/U21 championships in East Cork and also to develop revenue sources.

"We have got to try to figure out how to fit these games into a busy calendar. It would be a big aim to get these competitions up and running again in both codes. I'd also love to see the good work of the past year with the Imokilly football team under Eoin O'Neill continue and hopefully see the division rise up again in football.

"Elsewhere with the way things are going, clubs and divisions are also seeking additional revenue streams through sponsorship. This is one of the things that I hope to look closely at during my time in the role."

This evening's convention will also see Dick Fitzgerald (vice-chairperson), Patrick Mulcahy (secretary) and Damian Irwin (development officer) take up their new roles

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