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Armagh man Jarlath Burns elected 41st President of the GAA

He will succeed Larry McCarthy in the role next February

Jarlath Burns
Jarlath Burns. Photo supplied by Armagh GAA

Former Orchard County captain Jarlath Burns has been elected as the 41st President of the GAA.

The Silverbridge veteran – who will become the eighth President from the Ulster counties – will take over as Uachtarán next February.

The selection of the new President came on the first day of the GAA’s Annual Congress tonight (Friday).

Jarlath Burns was one of three candidates for the role, two from Ulster counties, coming up against Niall Erskine, currently GAA World Chair, from Donegal, and Offaly’s Pat Teehan.

And he ended on more votes than his two opponents combined.

The vote resulted in the County Armagh man sitting on 158 votes, with Pat Teehan on 70 and Niall Erskine on 49.

Jarlath, who is principal of St Paul’s High School in Bessbrook, is highly respected across County Armagh and beyond and will be a popular President.

Armagh GAA, after the result was declared, said it was a “poignant and proud moment for our county”.

In 2022, shortly before Covid struck, Jarlath was runner-up in the Presidential election race, when he was defeated by New York-based Larry McCarthy, the first overseas candidate returned to the governing body’s top post.

He had been leading by 17 votes after the first round, but lost out by 10 votes after McCarthy was to benefit from transfers to take him comfortably across the line.

But tonight he has emerged on top, his election greeted with great fanfare.

Alf Murray was the last Armagh man to hold the position of GAA President from 1964-1967, from Clann Éireann club in Lurgan.

Jarlath has had a successful playing career at college and inter-county levels, and most notably as the senior football captain in 1999 when Armagh reclaimed the Ulster Championship title after sixteen years.

He has proved himself to be an able and innovative administrator and has accumulated wide and valuable experience in a variety of roles at club, county, provincial and national levels.

Continuing to volunteer for his club and county, he currently serves as secretary for his beloved club Silverbridge Harps, and previous to this held the position of club Chairman.

He is currently Armagh’s delegate to the Ulster Council, a member of the Armagh County Management Committee and chair of the Ulster GAA Club Planning and Physical Infrastructure Committee.

Jarlath has been Chairman of a range of national committees, including the Standing Committee on the Playing Rules and the 125th Anniversary Committee, and was a consultative member of the GAA Strategic Committee of 2000. He served on Central Council from 2000 to 2003, was the first players’ representative on Ard Chomhairle and was then the Armagh delegate between 2009 and 2013. He was also on the GAA Management Committee in 2012-13.

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