Laois GAA are set for a historic day this weeekend when Liam O’Neill will officially begin his reign as president of the GAA at the association’s annual Congress in Killenard.
O’Neill will become only the second Laois man to hold the position in the history of the GAA since Bob O’Keeffe held office between 1935 and 1938.
The Trumera man had previously been disappointed when he ran for President in 2008, but having found no candidates running against him last year, he will become the first ever President of the GAA to be elected unopposed.
The intervening twelve months have been as hectic as they come for O’Neill, as he just recently presented medals to the Donegal senior footballers on a Friday night, addressed a coaching conference in Carlow on Saturday afternoon, before then travelling on to Cork to attend the Congress for the Camogie Association.
It has been like that for O’Neill since he was confirmed as the incoming president, and he will face a nervy time of it over the weekend too, as the Go Games model which he helped to develop for footballers and hurlers from U-12 down will be challenged. A motion from Portarlington GAA to reduce the Go Games to U-10 age groups and lower is on clar for the Congress, but it remains to be seen if it will be passed.
Games promotion is an issue close to his heart, and he has intimated that he hopes a nationwide debate on how competitions are run and structured will take place during his term.
Fittingly, Liam’s first official function as President of the GAA will be one close to home, as he will officially open the club grounds for Trumera on Sunday afternoon.
The ceremony will take place at 3.30pm, with a charity game in the memory of Jim Savage taking place at 4pm, followed by a function in the community centre afterwards.
See next week’s Leinster Express for extensive coverage of Liam O’Neill’s commencement of his presidency of the GAA, as well as reaction and profiles.