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All-Ireland winning Donegal manager with lofty ambitions takes over as LGFA President

Míchéal Naughton: ‘In my term as President, I would love to see Croke Park at full capacity for All-Ireland final day.’

New LGFA President Míchéal Naughton with his daughter, Erin.
New LGFA President Míchéal Naughton with his daughter, Erin.
Image: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

MÍCHEÁL NAUGHTON HAS taken the reins as President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association [LGFA].

The Sligo native, representing Donegal and Ulster, officially succeeded outgoing President Marie Hickey at today’s virtual Annual Congress, having been elected last March.  

“I will always do my utmost to continue the good work that has already been done,” Naughton — who had two successful stints in charge of Donegal, delivering the 2010 All-Ireland intermediate title in the first of those — said today.

“I will continue to champion one of the fastest growing female sports in Europe. We’re not the finished article but we’ve built an Association that we should be very proud of.  

We need to focus on our biggest asset – our players. In my term as President, I would love to see Croke Park at full capacity for All-Ireland final day. (A record attendance of 56,114 was set in 2019, with three finals played on ladies football’s showpiece day.)

“Looking forward to the next four years, I want to continue on the great work and collaboration with the GAA and Camogie Association. I want to forge greater links and bonds.”

Naughton takes over as the 13th different President of the LGFA since its inception in 1974, his term covering the next four years as he leads the Association into its 50th year in existence in 2024.

A successful businessman working in the hotel industry and a Fianna Fáil Councillor, Naughton hails from West Sligo but has been based in Donegal for over 23 years. Affiliated to the Four Masters club, he was formerly Donegal and Ulster Council Chairperson, and has been heavily involved in ladies football through the years.

Source: LadiesFootballTV/YouTube

Best known, perhaps, for his role as Tír Chonaill manager, Naughton guided the county to All-Ireland tier two success in his first stint in charge, before returning to oversee a Division 2 league title win in 2016.

He now follows in the footsteps of Laois native Hickey, who completed her second three-year term today.

Westmeath’s Geraldine Giles also served for two terms as President from 2003-2009, while Wexford’s Pat Quill was President of the LGFA for three terms (1985-1988, 2009-2012 and 2012-2015).  

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Source: LadiesFootballTV/YouTube

In her final speech as President, Hickey said: ”Our links with the GAA and Camogie Association have never been stronger at national level. This will continue to improve as we work towards a federal system of governance.  

“This is a time for great reflection – it has been an incredible journey.”

You can read a thread on LGFA Congress here, where CEO Helen O’Rourke noted that the Association is now back to a “blank canvas” with regards fixtures amidst lockdown 3.0, but a clearer vision should be outlined soon.

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Emma Duffy

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