ONE of the most intriguing county conventions in years reached a fittingly theatrical conclusion as surprise package Michael Kerr was elevated to the position of chairperson on Tuesday night.
It was billed in most quarters as a two-horse race between high-profile challenger Damian Harvey and sitting incumbent Roisin Jordan, but the Carrickmore man was narrowly favoured by the 150 delegates in attendance.
In doing so, the Eire Og man becomes the first ever Tyrone chairperson from a hurling club, while Jordan will be naturally disappointed that she only saw out three years of an expected five-year tenure.
Club Tyrone Secretary Damian Harvey’s attempt to take over the top seat set the stage for the most
dramatic county convention in living memory as the officer posts among the highest echelons of the Tyrone committee were battled for.
Vigorous debate and palaver on the lengthy list of motions and recommendations made this a drawn-out affair, but the white smoke billowed from Garvaghey at around 10.40pm after Jordan had been eliminated at the first count.
Her second preference votes were transferred between the two candidates and Kerr was duly appointed county chairperson by 78 votes to 66.
Speaking to the assembled media after the vote, Kerr expressed his delight at his appointment.
“It’s a big honour for myself and my family and the two clubs that I’m associated with.
“I’m a Carrickmore Eire Og man at heart and a Carrickmore Naomh Colmcille man too.
“Never before have we had a Carrickmore man as chairman – Jimmy Treacy was claimed as a Carrickmore man but he was technically a Clonoe man.”
Kerr has been in the position of vice-chairman over the past three years. His promotion to the highest post perhaps came a little earlier than expected due to Harvey’s challenge.
“The way it is at the minute, every office is open every year and it’s up to people to put themselves forward. Any candidate here tonight was more than capable at actually taking up office. I’m honoured to have been elected and I hope to do them proud as the chair of the county board.”
As chairperson of the CCC, Kerr was responsible for overseeing the streamlining of this year’s league programme. He says he will install a plan for his forthcoming tenure as chairperson in the coming days.
“I’ll be sitting down with other officers in the next couple of days and we’ll draft the way forward. Hopefully as a county we’ll all come together in the good of GAA in Tyrone.”
He also had warm words for Roisin Jordan, who became the the first woman to hold the position of a county board chairperson in late 2014.
“Roisin has been a tremendous asset to Tyrone down through the years and when she was elevated to the chair, she definitely served this county well and I have nothing but the highest regard for her both as an officer and as a friend.
“I wish her all the best going forward in whatever capacity she will be involved. I’m sure she’ll not walk away.”
Kerr also expressed his desire to find a resolution for the ongoing controversy surrounding the Tyrone ladies use of Garvaghey, which sparked a fiery debate on Tuesday night.
Treasurer Raymond McKeown explained that the ladies have no option but to pay charges due to tax regulations, while a recommendation that clubs pay £200 each to the Tyrone LFGA will be voted on at the next monthly meeting of the Tyrone committee.
Kerr said: “That’ll be discussed around the management table of our county committee. I expect to see the ladies involved with some of those decisions and I expect to see resolutions with all the issues in Tyrone GAA.”
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