Seamus Hickey and Donal Óg Cusack at today's announcement. Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE
New chairman

Limerick hurler replaces Donal Óg as GPA chairman

Hickey takes over leading role in players’ body after Cusack’s 13-year tenure.

LIMERICK HURLER SÉAMUS Hickey is the new chairman of the Gaelic Players Association after being elected at today’s AGM of the players’ body in Athlone.

He replaces the long-standing Dónal Óg Cusack as the latter takes his leave after 13 years as non-executive chairman of the GPA and takes up a role as part of the management team with Clare’s senior hurlers.

Hickey, a member of the national executive committee for the past three years, has played an increasingly active role in the affairs of the GPA. He was part of the GPA’s Educational Review Group and recently helped manage the successful Super 11s project in Boston.

Dublin footballer Paul Flynn, another member of the GPA national executive and part of the association’s Educational Review Committee, replaces the out-going David Collins as secretary of the GPA. GPA president Dermot Earley, meanwhile, was returned unopposed.

Waterford’s Noel Connors and Cork hurler Stephen McDonnell have also been appointed to the GPA’s executive.

Speaking after his appointment today, Hickey said: “I am honoured to be elected as chairman of the GPA today. As a county hurler I realise the ability of the GPA, through the development programme, to make a profound difference to the lives of players who need to achieve balance in their lives due to the commitments involved in their sport.

“I look forward to playing a leading role in the GPA and working with the staff and officers in supporting our county players.”

Chief executive of the GPA, Dessie Farrell was quick to commend Cusack for his work with the association.

“The contribution of Dónal Óg to the GPA has been immeasurable. His leadership has been inspirational to everyone who worked with him. On a personal level it was a privilege to share the journey with Dónal Óg for nearly a decade and a half. Throughout those eventful years I can attest to Dónal Óg’s integrity, judgement, courage and passion.

“I hope that Dónal Óg will be able to contribute to GPA projects in the future and I’ve little doubt that he will continue to play an active role in the development of our games. In the meantime, I wish him the very best in his new role with Clare.”

James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Working in a voluntary capacity since 2002, Cusack has been instrumental in the development of the GPA. The three-time All-Ireland winner has helped champion the status of inter-county hurlers and footballers and played a pivotal role in brokering the agreement with the GAA which saw the GPA recognised as the official representative body for players in 2010.

Speaking after today’s meeting, Cusack commented: “While today is an emotional day for me personally it is an important day for the GPA as we look to the future and embrace change. I am incredibly proud of the GPA and what we have achieved together.

“I believe the GPA Player Development Programme, supporting our athletes to be their very best off the field as well as on it, is a model that will serve players and the wider GAA very well into the future.

“Of course there are significant challenges still to be met – none more so that ensuring county players increasingly engage with GPA programmes and do not commit to the games at the expense of their personal development. We need to ensure that the proper resources are made available to support our players.”

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