Sport

Kevin leads way on and off pitch

November 9th, 2018 4:00 PM

By Denis Hurley

Kilbree's Kevin O'Donovan with the TSB Cup after his team's victory over Ballinascarthy in the RCM Tarmacadam JCHC final at Ahiohill on Sunday in which he was the top scorer. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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WHILE he is about to take on the biggest role in Cork GAA circles next month, Kevin O’Donovan showed no signs of being distracted as he helped Kilbree to Carbery Junior C Hurling Championship glory last Sunday morning.

The Rossmore side enjoyed a 1-13 to 0-12 win over Ballinascarthy at Ahiohill, with O’Donovan scoring 1-8, including seven pointed frees, from full-forward.

Off the field, bigger tests will certainly await O’Donovan as he succeeds Frank Murphy, who is retiring after 45 years of service.

Following a recruitment process, which began in July, organised by the GAA’s human resources department at the request of Cork County Board, O’Donovan was chosen and his appointment will be finally approved at next Tuesday night’s county board meeting.

O’Donovan was county board vice-chairman this year, having previously been coaching officer, and has also been a games development administrator and development squads administrator. He holds a degree in agricultural science and a PhD from UCD as well as a postgraduate diploma in education from UCC.

An unwieldy situation in the county championships, partly caused by the removal of automatic relegation, will be among the first areas he will be tackling, with the problem of regular games for club players during an intercounty-dominated summer will also be looked at.

In 2016, O’Donovan revealed a 25-point plan for the betterment of Cork GAA, which included recommending the appointment of directors of hurling and football, county and regional centres of excellence, increased coaching staff and a reorganisation of the Rebel Óg underage structure.

Cork chairperson Tracey Kennedy welcomed the appointment at a time of great opportunity and challenge for the county.

‘Our priority is to maintain and improve the high level of engagement by clubs, players and volunteers whose work shapes and defines the organisation in the county, and to ensure that Cork GAA is equipped to grow and operate successfully into the future,’ she said.

‘The performances of all our county teams are also of paramount importance. The success of our development squad programme, in which Kevin has been pivotally involved, is vital to the creation of a pathway for success in the future. With reports due from our strategic plan implementation committee and our football planning committee in the near future, we will expect the new secretary to drive any recommendations approved by the county board. ‘Kevin succeeds someone whose work on behalf of the GAA in Cork and nationally is immeasurable. In his term of office as county board secretary, Frank Murphy has overseen the growth of the GAA organisation in Cork, the phenomenal success of our inter-county teams, the radical redevelopment of club facilities, the development of three new stadiums, the achievement of unparalleled sponsorship support for our county teams and so much more.

‘Cork County Board looks forward to working with our new secretary as we enter a new phase in the life of the GAA in Cork and we wish him every success in his new role.’

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