Although bitterly disappointed at losing out in his bid to become the 39th GAA President, Longford’s Martin Skelly was very gracious in defeat as he extended congratulations to the Uachtarán-tofa, Dublin’s John Horan at GAA Congress on Friday night.
“Maybe for a few weeks Longford were on the All-Ireland trail. It didn’t happen this time but hopefully someday it will happen in the future,” reflected Cashel clubman Skelly.
Horan’s triumph was comprehensive and he was comfortably elected on the 1st Count to succeed Cavan's Aogan O Fearghaíl as President in 2018.
The outgoing Leinster Council Chairperson secured 144 of the 278 first preference votes on offer, exceeding the 140 quota by 4 votes, and giving him ten more first preferences than the 134 garnered by the four other candidates combined - Frank Burke (Galway) 46; Sean Walsh (Kerry) 46; Martin Skelly (Longford) 22; Robert Frost (Clare) 20.
Ironically, in 2008, Martin Skelly defeated John Horan by a single vote to become Leinster Council Vice Chairperson and this success meant the Longford County Board Chairperson of 2001 to 2007, would serve three years as Provincial Vice Chair before being automatically elevated to the Chairperson’s role in 2011, also for a three year stint. Horan, subsequently served as Vice Chair to Skelly, before succeeding him as Leinster Chair in 2014.
Martin told delegates at Congress, “I’d like to congratulate John on an outstanding victory, and I’ve no doubt that the Association is in excellent hands going forward.”
He said it was ‘an excellent campaign and not a wrong word said’.
He thanked everybody that worked with him prior to Friday’s election. “They were very, very loyal, as indeed were the county of Longford and my club of Newtowncashel, all who rallied around me during the course of the campaign.”
Martin concluded, “I wish the Association well going forward and I look forward to having some little role, one way or the other, whether it is my club or with my county.”
Election for Uachtarán-tofa
Total valid poll 278
Count One result
Frank Burke (Galway) 46
Robert Frost (Clare) 20
John Horan (Dublin) 144
Martin Skelly (Longford) 22
Sean Walsh (Kerry) 46