President-elect not 'out of touch' with GAA, while New York's Tailteann Cup bid back on table

‘Just because we’re overseas doesn’t make us any less involved in the Association,’ says New York chairperson Joan Henchy.

GAA president-elect Larry McCarthy.
GAA president-elect Larry McCarthy.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

NEW YORK GAA chairperson Joan Henchy has rejected the idea that president-elect Larry McCarthy is out of touch with the GAA because he’s lived in America since 1985.

At Congress last weekend, McCarthy saw off competition from Jarlath Burns to become the first president of the GAA to be elected from an overseas body.

Some critics have said that he would not have a good understanding of the issues on the ground in Ireland due to the 35 years he has spent in the States.

“I have no doubt in my mind Larry will succeed,” Henchy told The42.

“I think he’s very smart, intelligent and GAA-minded. People need to realise, just because we’re overseas doesn’t make us any less involved in the Association.

“We’re very in-tune with what goes on at home, we’re very sharp at what’s going on. We’re included, we pay a lot of attention all the time. 

“To the people that would say he’s out of touch, I would say they’re wrong. Categorically they’re wrong. Larry has been a member of management, he’s travelled the length and breadth of the GAA community. He’s quite aware of what goes on.”

Last December, Henchy became the first female chairperson of the New York county board.

McCarthy is a former New York chairman and remained a key member of the board, while he has played a major role in Gaelic Park’s planned redevelopment which gets underway later this year.

“He’s a really good listener so he does take a lot on board,” continues Henchy. “What can you say about negative remarks? You’re going to have negative remarks. You can’t please everybody all the time. I’d just say, give the man a chance.

“Every county board has their issues. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in New York, Dublin, Kerry or Clare. Larry totally understands the issues at hand. Fixtures would be something we deal with a lot.

“They’re an issue at club level and he’s well aware of it. We lack pitches here which is something we’re working at. Trying to get games in and making sure that you’re being fair to clubs. 

“From my own experience with Larry, I have no doubt at all that he’s well capable of the job. I don’t envy the job he has but I have no doubt that he will do it. 

“I’d just say, ‘Stay tuned.’”

a-view-of-the-action-during-the-camogie-all-stars-game A view of Gaelic Park, New York. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Having worked closely with McCarthy over the years, Henchy gives some insight into the man who will take over from John Horan in 12 months. 

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“Larry is one of the hardest workers I know,” she says. “He won’t ask you to do something he wouldn’t do himself. He’s mindful that ultimately there are rules and regulations.

“He’s a good man to enforce them. He’s not one to let somebody pull fast ones. When he was chairperson he was very much a leader and a great leader at that. As with any chair, you’re not going to please everybody all the time, however that’s not your job.

“Your job is to run the Association to the best of your ability and to apply the rules and regulations and uphold them. Larry, by all means, did it well and executed the position very well. I would only hope to be as good a chairperson as he was.”

The Kerry native was in Croke Park when McCarthy dramatically pipped Burns in the voting.

“I walked out of Congress on Friday night and I was never as proud in my life at being part of that Association. To be able to not see jurisdictional issues and not see gender issues.

“To be a member of an Association that’s fully inclusive was just a breath of fresh air and I was very proud to be part of that. 

“We were ecstatic to say the least and we’re very proud of him as a county.”

She also revealed that New York have re-opened discussions with Croke Park over possible inclusion in the Tailteann Cup this summer. 

Last month, McCarthy told The42 that New York had been told they would not be entering the inaugural Tier 2 championship but Henchy says “it’s not out of the question yet.”

“Tier 2 is something we’re very passionate about,” she explains. 

“It’s still being negotiated at the moment. I know there’s a lot of stories out there. It is being reviewed again. We’ve asked for it to be reconsidered for 2020. I know there’s been blanket statements made that we’re not in.

“Ultimately we heard that too but it is up for discussion again. We’re going to fight as hard as we can to try and have some inclusion this year if at all possible. And if that doesn’t happen to make sure we are included next year. ”

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Kevin O'Brien

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