Jarlath Burns becomes President of the GAA

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Ulster GAA

1st Mar 2024

On Saturday, Jarlath Burns became the 41st President of the GAA since 1884 when he succeeded Larry McCarthy of New York at GAA Annual Congress, held in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry.

A member of the Silverbridge GAA Club in Armagh, Jarlath has served his club, county and province with distinction on and off the field.

He was his club’s secretary at the time of his election and served the club in a multitude of roles over several decades.

On the field, Jarlath played with Armagh for 13 seasons and was midfield and captain when they won the Ulster senior football title in 1999 – their first Anglo Celt Cup since 1982.  Prior to that, he was a part of the St Mary’s team which captured the Sigerson Cup in 1989. During his school years he attended St Colman’s College in Newry, a place where Association founder Michael Cusack had taught prior to the establishment of the GAA.

As an administrator at national level, he served as chair of the inaugural Players’ Committee in 2000 and was chair of the GAA’s 125th anniversary committee in 2009 and Scór Naisiúnta. He has served as Armagh’s Central Council delegate as well as sitting on the GAA’s Medical and Scientific Committee and Pitch Presentation group, and the Standing Committee on Playing Rules. In 2006 he managed the Ireland Women’s International Rules team that defeated Australia.

Passionate about the Irish language and a fluent speaker, he has been a co-commentator on TG4 for many years.

Jarlath is a secondary schoolteacher and as Principal of St Paul’s in Bessbrook in Armagh has overseen its growth to a student population of 1,800.

He is the first former senior inter-county player to be Uachtarán CLG since Kilkenny’s Nickey Brennan (2006-2009) and is the first official from a club in the north of Ireland to lead the Association since Fermanagh’s Peter Quinn (1991-1994).

Having been runner-up to Larry McCarthy three years earlier, Jarlath was elected on the first count at the Uachtarán Tofa election in Croke Park held at GAA Congress in 2023, claiming 158 of the 277 votes available. Born in 1968 in a family of eight children, he is married to Suzanne, and they have five children and one grandchild.

He is the second Armagh man to be GAA President after Alf Murray held the position from 1964-1967. Jarlath’s term of office will run until February 2027