THE Clare County Board is now bracing itself for a contest for the top job in Clare GAA for the first time in nearly ten years, after last Friday’s closing date from nominations ahead of the County Convention on December 18.
The Clare People has learned that Noel O’Driscoll is to stand for the position, while sources within the St Joseph’s Miltown club have revealed that former chairman, Michael McDonagh, “has decided to let his name go before delegates” from around the county at next month’s Convention in a bid to return to the chair.
Now that McDonagh is set to bow to pressure to stand for election once more, it paves the way for an East v West confrontation in the race to find a successor to Ballyea clubman Michael O’Neill, whose five-year term at the helm of Clare GAA affairs will come to a close at Convention.
Four people were nominated for the position, current vice-chairman Joe Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills), Noel O’Driscoll (O’Callaghan’s Mills), Sean O’Halloran (Bodyke) and Michael McDonagh (St Joseph’s Miltown).
However, after the November 23 closing date for nominations to be forwarded to county secretary Pat Fitzgerald, two of the candidates in the persons of Joe Cooney and Sean O’Halloran moved to rule themselves out of the running, with Noel O’Driscoll the only candidate to step forward and declare his candidacy.
That leaves Michael McDonagh as the only live opposition to Noel O’Driscoll’s bid to become the first chairman from the O’Callaghan’s Mills club since the current vice-chairman of the Munster Council Robert Frost served five years in the chair from 1994 to 1999.
“I have my mind made up. I am standing for the job,” O’Driscoll told The Clare People on Monday. “I had no interest in the chair whatsoever, but I was approached by people about six months ago to put my name forward.
“I went away and thought about it, was nominated and now I’ve decided to let my name go forward. I’ve been involved in the GAA as a player – I played my first juvenile match at eight and my last match at 48 – as a coach, a referee, a selector and a board officer,” O’Driscoll added.
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