Helen O’Rourke is CEO of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. It is a role she has held since 1997 making her the longest-serving CEO in Irish Sport.

She has led the sport to become an early beneficiary of the surge of interest in Women’s sport, a move which coincided with Lidl joining forces with the Association and bringing significant marketing heft in its wake.

Record attendance at the TG4 Ladies Football All Ireland Final was a marker for increased participation at every level of the game, and increased coverage from its broadcast partner of more than

Expanding into the introduction of a popular Gaelic4Mothers&Others programme has extended the reach towards those who did not have a chance to play at a young age.

O’Rourke came up through the volunteer ranks after playing and then helping to create the first Dublin County Board. She became President of the LGFA in the 1990s and when the decision was taken to appoint the first CEO in 1997 she left her teaching job behind to become a full-time sports administrator.

See who else has been named on the list alongside Helen O’Rourke by clicking on the image below.




This is the tenth edition of our Sport for Business listing of 50 Women of Influence in Irish Sport.

Read more about the list and nominate who you think should be a part of it in 2022.

We are proud to do so again this year with AIG, an organisation that has pledged its commitment to equality in its partnerships with Gaelic Games, Tennis, Golf and more, for whom “Effort is Equal” and with whom we have ambitious plans to extend the reach of this annual celebration of the Women who are making a difference.

This year’s list will be drawn as before from the worlds of leadership, partnership, storytelling, and performance.

We began this journey in 2013 when challenged that we would never be able to produce a list of twenty Influential Women in Irish Sport. The 20 stretched to 30, then 40 and 50 and it still does not do justice to the talent that is out there.

This year once more, to keep things fresh we will introduce at least 30 percent of fresh names from last year. That will be the hardest part to have some names replaced but if it was too easy it would be of less value.

The list we will continue to build over the coming weeks is a snapshot of those women who are making a mark on how sport is played, consumed, grown and delivered.

They are part of making the role of women in sport unexceptional by being exceptional in what they do.