A New Leader with a Simple Message
Last Saturday was a landmark for the GPA with Donal Óg Cusack stepping down as Chairman after 13 years at the helm. A enigmatic figure, Donal Óg’s departure has led to change, and that change is in the shape of a 28 year old hurler from Murroe-Boher in Limerick.
Séamus Hickey, current Limerick senior hurler, was elected as our new Chairman at the AGM at the Radisson Blue, Athlone.
“I am immensely proud and humbled to have been considered for the role by the players and the GPA itself. It was never something I aspired to but with Donal Óg stepping aside after such an influential tenure there was a need for new blood and I was happy to step in and do my best to continue the legacy that the GPA is building within Irish sport and Irish society in general.”
The Limerick native has a simple message for all GPA members.
“My message is simply one of gratitude for their support, and a promise to be authentic in how I represent the GPA every time I’m called upon.”
Currently working in Stokes Institute in the University of Limerick in the area of engineering heat transfer research, the former All Star knows too well that it’s a tough act to follow, but that it’s a journey he’s excited to proceed on.
“The proposition is daunting to be perfectly honest but there is a sense of excitement at having to follow the highest of standards set by Donal Óg. Any trepidation I have is immediately offset by the knowledge that Donal Óg is always on the other end of the phone, the same way Dessie, Siobhan and Aidan are. I know how much I value my participation with the GPA and I feel my experiences on the NEC and my work with the Student Workshops and the student report give me a strong insight into the organization and the needs of the inter county GAA players today.”
Séamus has high hopes for the future and the most pressing is the ongoing funding agreement negotiations with the GAA.
“I’d like to be part of securing a long term funding agreement with the GAA that creates the platform to grow the GPA player’s development programmes and all player services. This is crucial for our Association as with increasing player engagement with the GPA come greater resource challenges and I want to be sure that the excellent staff within the GPA aren’t limited simply by insufficient funding and an under-equipped organizational structure.”
Considering his background is in UL, it comes at no surprise that the incoming Chairman has set his sights on helping our substantial student population.
“I want to develop the Student Council from its current form and strengthen our 3rdlevel education supports for students. The most significant part of this is getting a universally accepted support model for student inter county players implemented in all 3rd level institutions.”
Aside from his devoted work to the student workshops and the following student report, Hickey was integral in the recent success of the Super 11’s in Boston.
“I was delighted with the success of the Super 11’s game in Fenway. We left Fenway with the admiration of the Red Sox organization and a sizable new American audience who fell in love with the game of hurling. “
We’ve no doubt that Séamus will take up the mantle of GPA Chairman with great authenticity and humility, leading the organization through the next stage of our journey.