The Democrat's Caoimhín Reilly chats to Fra Kieran, Louth County Board secretary, who is bidding to become chairman. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CHAIRMAN?
Some clubs asked me to run and I want to improve things in general in the county. It’s been an ambition of mine to run for chairman.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE, IF ELECTED?
I’d like to try to help Louth as best I could while working together with people. I would create an environment that we could all work well together; supporters, clubs and players, camogie, hurling, Gaelic football and ladies’ football, from underage up to senior. I would also have a very good relationship with the hurlers and hope to improve Louth on that front, as well as trying to up the profile of handball.
HAVE YOU A MANIFESTO?
I want us to move forward together. I hope to bring discussion, communication and dialogue. I’d love to see Louth progress and that everybody would feel proud to be a part of Louth via progress on the club scene. The sub-committees would work well together, with fresh faces involved, and I’d like to see this county get back to where it was many years ago. There are some fantastic people and clubs in Louth, but I think the urban areas need help. There is some regeneration needed there through the Minor Board and Coaching & Games; the rural areas as well.
WHERE DO YOU FEEL LOUTH GAA IS AT AT THE MOMENT?
We’re not that far away, but I’d like to give the process a shot and to drive it on and help particularly the rural and urban communities.
WHERE, THEN, DOES YOUR IMMEDIATE PRIORITY LIE?
There is no point in looking at the past. It’s just a matter of working together to move the process forward. My aim would be to see a complete change in fortune of Louth GAA. I would like to oversee a new Strategic Development Plan for Louth GAA for the next five years. I see the need for supporting all urban and rural clubs to develop football from underage level through to senior. We need to find ways to encourage ex-players and clubpersons back into their local clubs to assist with this redevelopment. Times are changing and it can be difficult for clubs to encourage ex-players and new members to help with developments within the club. Indeed, it is difficult for many of these clubs to currently survive. We are too reliant on the same few Gaels around the county and this is where I feel we need to offer assistance to clubs that are struggling. I would look to establish a committee solely to look after these clubs with issues they may be having. Apart from the new proposed county grounds, I’d like to improve and promote GAA in urban areas along with ensuring GAA remains strong and pivotal in rural parts of the county. We need to see teams, from underage to senior, compete at a national level, with every Gael being proud of Louth GAA and of what it has achieved and will achieve. This will only happen if we work together as one within the county to a new proposed five-year Strategic Plan.
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN HELP THE COUNTY GROUNDS DEVELOPMENT?
There are tremendous people and a lot of enthusiasm on the part of those on the wonderful committee who are looking after the county grounds’ project. Myself, I’ve been at meetings in Croke Park and spoken to all the respective financial men, I know most of them in the GAA personally, so I can bring connections to the table, which I’ve already done. Spending time in Leinster was a great learning curve for me as well.
HOW CAN LOUTH'S DECLINE AT INTER-COUNTY LEVEL BE ARRESTED?
We need to get players from all parts of the county and to help the clubs as best as we can with coaches.
CAN YOU PROMISE LOUTH GAELS ANYTHING?
I would have passion, enthusiasm and commitment, and I would be willing to work with every- body. As any club secretary will tell you, if they phone me about something and I don’t know what they’re looking for, I’ll find out about it. I think communication is most important.
CLICK HERE FOR PETER FITZPATRICK'S INTERVIEW
- THE DEMOCRAT EXTENDED THE OFFER OF AN INTERVIEW TO DECLAN BYRNE, BUT RECEIVED NO RETURN COMMUNICATION.