By Martin Breheny
John Horan’s rise to the most prestigious administrative position in Irish sport has been unusually quick. Unlike the four rivals he beat in tonight’s election, he never served as county chairman but established a high profile through his involvement with schools and coaching.
He ran for vice-chairman of the Leinster Council in 2008 but lost by a vote to Martin Skelly, one of last night’s beaten candidates. Elected vice-chairman three years later, Horan took over as provincial chairman in 2014, completing his term last month before concentrating on the Presidential contest.
He now begins a year as President-Elect prior to taking over from Aogán O Fearghaill next February, when he will become the first President from Dublin since Dr. JJ Stuart in 1958-61.
As with previous Presidents-elect, he will keep a relatively low-profile for the next year, but judging from his comments over recent months, he has a clear vision of how he will proceed once he settles into his office in Croke Park.
A major analysis of the GAA at all levels it likely to be among his top priorities, having recently pointed out that one hadn’t been carried out since the 2002 Strategic Review, undertaken at the behest of then President, Seán McCague.
Horan, who is principal of St.Vincent’s secondary school in Glasnevin, has also identified club activity (he is a member of Na Fianna) as a priority. The plight of club players, many of whom are left without a structured fixtures schedule during the summer months, is now very much on the agenda and will still be there when Horan takes over next year.
When asked late last year after his Presidential candidacy was announced if he thought he would win, he replied: “Well, I’m not running to be beaten and I’m not running to have a second run (in 2020) either.”