Joe Hannigan, Friends of Tipperary Football stalwart and father of county player George, was elected chairman of the County Football Board at its convention in Thurles last week.
In a vote for the top job, he defeated outgoing secretary Michael Power.
Mr Power didn’t seek re-election as secretary and the new man in the job is Grangemockler’s JJ Crowley.
And while the huge crowd at convention looked forward to a bright future for Tipperary football, there was concern over the future of the board itself. Its future hangs in the balance with Croke Park anxious to rid the Association of elected sub committees, in favour of appointed ones.
The Convention could well be the last of its kind for the Football Board, a fact which was criticised by delegates and Board officers – former Chairman and current Chairman of the Friends of Tipperary Football Pete Savage told delegates that disbanding the Board would set football in Tipperary back forty years.
A huge attendance – the biggest in years – came in anticipation of multiple contests for top table positions. But, there was to be only one contest with the position of Chairman resulting in a head-to-head between sitting Secretary Michael Power and Vice Chairman Joe Hannigan. The Shannon Rovers man was elected by 122 votes to 79.
And, when he adddressed Convention, the new Chairman pledged to bring a renewed energy and freshness to the position and promised to reinvigorate the Board with innovative ideas, approach and outlook.
The former Tipperary minor, u-21, junior and senior hurler has been involved in the football scene in the county since 2005 and has been happy to “fight the up-hill battle with a small few colleagues” for the football cause.
Describing the occasion as a very proud one for his family and his club, he went on to say that Tipperary football is on the up with the proper structures in place and great people overseeing them.
“We are all Tipperary people and there is support wanted right now for Tipperary football teams. I am asking everyone now to make a special effort to be in Killarney to support our teams when they play Kerry in next year’s championship.
“Get behind the team because there could be a watershed day coming up. Tipperary football is going places. We have a serious squad of players together and we have proper structures in place. All sides of the house are on fire and I would appeal to the hurlers to support the footballers and the footballers to support the hurlers,” Mr Hannigan said.
In appealing to the clubs of the county to embrace football, the new Chairman looked forward to the years ahead when he hoped a Munster senior and All-Ireland title would materialise. He urged delegates, clubs, players and officials to work hard to make the dream become a reality.
Hugh Coughlan (Moyne Templetuohy) was elected Vice Chairman of the Board, while JJ Crowley (Grangemockler-Ballyneale) was elected Secretary following the withdrawl of Micheal McCormack (Fethard). The new PRO of the board is PJ Leahy (Moyne Templetuohy) meaning that the club will have two men at the top table.
Michael Power, who also withdrew his name from the Management Committee election, expressed disappointment to have lost the contest, but wished the new Chairman and the Board well.
He had great memories of his thirty years of involvement with the Football Board and cited the All-Ireland minor victory of 2011, with his son David at the helm, as being his greatest memory.
Delegates paid tribute to the retiring Secretary and there were also tributes paid to departing Chairman Noel Morris who stepped down after five years.