It was a case of third time lucky for Brendan Gilmore as he was elected Chairman of Longford GAA at the annual Convention in Aras Ui Bhriain, Pearse Park on Friday night last.
The Rathcline clubman had contested two elections for the top position in recent years but was defeated by Pat Cahill on both occasions. He was delighted but also relieved to have finally reached the holy grail.
“I’m beaming now but I was worried earlier on. I’m so relieved it’s all over. You look around and there are 90 delegates here and you don’t know how they are going to vote; it’s a secret ballot. We have great democracy in the GAA and I just got across the line tonight. It’s going to be a hard act to follow after Pat Cahill but I have a good committee and we will work together as a team,” he told the Leader.
Gilmore is no stranger to the top table and has held various positions on the County Board: He said, “I started off as Vice-Chairman of the county board so I have now been elected to four different positions on the executive. I was Secretary for a number of years and then Treasurer for five years and I am now starting off in the highest office; as Chairman of the County Board.”
Humble in victory the new Chairman spoke highly of the man he defeated in the election, Fr Manning Gaels clubman Pat Donnelly. “Myself and Pat are very good friends. I’d be working in the Town Council and we would have functions. I would ring Pat to come in and he would look after the event and control everything. I’m just sorry for him on this occasion but Pat could still come back on the County Board at some stage.”
Things both on and off the field are going very well for Longford GAA with a major profit in their finances being recorded this year. “It’s a credit to the County Board,” said Gilmore. “When I left it a few years ago I built the accounts up and they have continued on with that. Please God we continue with the good work we have done. The county team are now in Division 2 and we are at a very high level of football. It’s going to take extra money to train the team and we have to make the step up.”
Gilmore has many hopes for both the county team and his own club Rathcline during his reign as Chairman. “My hope is that Longford stay in Division 2 of the National League and also that during my time as Chairman we could possibly win the Leinster Senior Championship. On the local scene I hope Rathcline would go on to win the Intermediate Championship and they were unlucky against Granard this year. There’s a county title in them. Rathcline were always good to me and next September it will be 50 years since we won the Junior Championship.”
The development of Glennon Brothers Pearse Park is also something Gilmore is looking forward to working on: “We have a lot of money spent redeveloping Pearse Park and we need to improve the capacity to maybe around 15,000. It will be great for the town and county. Maybe we would look at installing floodlights too.”