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New GAA president prepared for a shake-up

By John Campbell

The GAA can brace itself for a helping of fire and brimstone today.

New president Liam O’Neill will formally take over in succession to Christy Cooney and is expected to outline a road map that could encompass some interesting twists and turns.

A native of Laois, and a school principal, O’Neill is very much his own man. And he will bring to the top table definite ideas on how he envisages the Association will move forward and grasp some particularly uncomfortable nettles in the future.

A former chairman of the Leinster Council, the more innovative proposals that O’Neill may be tabling is the launch of an annual Youth Congress.

O’Neill is keen to see more young people becoming involved at administrative level and is anxious too to see the amateur ethos retained in its present form.

His accession comes at a time when the GAA is wrestling with such major issues as the payment of managers, the hardships which clubs and county boards are enduring because of the recession, the implementation of a rigid disciplinary system and a growing threat from other sports, particularly rugby.

Given the rash of major disciplinary matters which have occurred since the start of the year, it’s not surprising that several motions down for debate tomorrow focus on this particular subject.

It is certainly to be hoped the motion which urges that umpires at all inter-county league and championship matches should be qualified referees will find favour as this is something which has been mooted form many quarters of late.

l SEAMUS McEnaney has refused a request from the county board executive to “step aside” as Meath manager with immediate effect.

The executive are now expected to press ahead with a full county board meeting on Monday night, at which a motion of ‘no confidence' in McEnaney will be tabled.

It follows a series of poor results in Division 2 throughout March.

A snap executive meeting was called on Tuesday night to discuss the management issue, and it was decided to offer McEnaney the opportunity to resign.

Belfast Telegraph


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