GAA Football

Antrim officials depart county board duty due to work commitments

Antrim chairman Collie Donnelly (back, right) at the Gaelfast launch alongside GAA President John Horan earlier this year. The St John's man will step down after three years in the role

ANTRIM GAA has been dealt a blow by the news that three key county board officers will step down from their respective posts.

Chairman Collie Donnelly, vice-chairman Terry Reilly and Treasurer Pol Mac Cana will give up their positions ahead of county convention later this year after being part of ‘Saffron Vision' that swept to power in 2015.

It is understood work commitments forced the trio to take the reluctant decision to step away from their time-consuming executive roles but would assist in any way possible to help make the transitional period as seamless as possible.

Sources close to the three men insist they would remain involved in a more informal basis in helping to continue to build the Antrim GAA brand.

In the three years the trio were involved, ‘Saffron Vision' was a resounding success.

Working closely with the newly created fundraising body, Saffron Business Forum, the new county executive put Antrim GAA on a solid financial footing and got the wheels turning again at Dunsilly's Centre of Excellence that had stalled over car-parking issues.

Crucially, members of ‘Saffron Vision' repaired the fractured relations with the Casement Park Social Club who continue to offer significant financial support to Gaelic Games in the county.

And due to the new county board's impressive financial performance, Croke Park backed the ambitious ‘Gaelfast' project – designed to reinvigorate Gaelic Games in Belfast primary schools – with an initial £1m investment over the next five years.

The county board has continued to work with all stakeholders in seeing a new Casement Park built although progress at the west Belfast venue has been painfully slow.

The timing of Donnelly, Reilly and Mac Cana's departures will come as a major surprise to Antrim Gaels - but it gives potential candidates three months or more to get to grips with what each post entails.

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