Mary O’Connor, one of the GAA’s most decorated players has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Irish Sport. Currently working as Director of Technical Development with the Camogie Association she takes up her new position at the start of December.
O’Connor takes over the role previously held by James Galvin who is now Head of Sport at Dublin City University, and before him by Sarah O’Connor, now Head of Sport at Wilson Hartnell.
Involved in sport all her life O’Connor represented her native Cork with great distinction both in Camogie and Ladies Football winning a total of 12 All Ireland medals over a 16-year dual inter-county career. She was captain of the 2009 Cork Ladies Football team that completed five titles in a row. An All-Star in both codes she was Player of the Year in 2006.
More recently she was given an Honorary Doctorate from University College Cork in recognition of her contribution to sport and in particular to ladies sport.
In a distinguished 12 years with the Camogie Association she has been involved in the delivery of three national development plans that have seen growth in both the number of clubs and also in participation.
In 2013 she served as acting CEO of the Camogie Association prior to the appointment of Joan O’Flynn. She successfully guided the Association through a period of great change.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work for Sport in Ireland,” she said yesterday as news of the appointment broke.
“I have a very clear perspective of the challenges facing Irish Sport and in particular the challenges facing all national governing bodies without which organised sport would not exist at any level today.”
“The Federation is delighted with the appointment and we believe Mary will do a great job for our members,” added Roddy Guiney who was appointed Chairman of the Federation last month.
“This is an important time for our members. While the recent budget brought welcome increases to overall funding for sport this has tended to be for capital projects.”
“The fact remains that the National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships are the bodies that deliver the programmes from grassroots to elite sport.”
“Core funding for them continues to be substantially less than in 2008 when it was at its highest level. The Federation looks forward to working with Mary in her new role both promoting sport and seeking additional funding for our member organisations”.
That blend of positive promotion of the power of sport and its importance across so much of society, with the ability to kick and scrap for more funding against competing interests in Government is at the heart of the role and it is one that O’Connor will be well suited to.
We have had the pleasure of having her address Sport for Business events in the past and always been struck by her insight and intelligent analysis of how problems need to be solved.
The Federation has the right people in place to make a strong contribution to sport as part of the fabric of society. We look forward to seeing that become reality.
Throughout November we will complete the Sport for Business Most Influential Women in Irish Sport, in partnership with Liberty Insurance, leading up to our third Annual Women in Sport Conference at UCD on Thursday, November 30th.
Sport for Business features regular interviews and events with our members providing exclusive insight on the relationships that work best for sport and business.
Image Credits: Inpho / Lorraine O’Sullivan