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*Deirdre Murphy. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

DEIRDRE MURPHY has been appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Clare GAA, The Clare Echo can reveal.

Chairman of Clare GAA, Kieran Keating informed County Board officers on Tuesday night that the interviewing panel had recommended the appointment of the Clooney woman. She will begin the role on the first week of October.

An initial shortlist of sixteen candidates for the vacancy had been made before this was whittled down to a final three. The role of COO/Head of Operations is intended to evolve into a Chief Executive Officer, as per the strategic plan of Clare GAA. The hiring of an individual to fill the paid position is viewed as a turning point in the Association’s history within the county. From the outset, she had been one of the strongest candidates in a field which included a sitting County Board officer, former officials and club officers.

For close to two decades, Deirdre represented Clare camogie at adult inter-county level, making her debut in 1997, getting the call from Patricia O’Grady. She was captain of the side that claimed the All-Ireland junior title in 2008 and claimed a Munster senior championship in 2012 managed by John Carmody. In 2014, she was named as Clare’s camogie player of the decade in a concept to mark the 110th anniversary of the Camogie Association. She was nominated for an All Star award on seven occasions.

Colm Honan’s first year in charge of the county seniors transpired to be Deirdre’s last year lining out in saffron and blue. That year saw Clare contest the National Camogie League Division 1 final for the first time where Kilkenny proved too strong in Semple Stadium (1-15 0-04). Her last outing for the Banner County was the 2014 quarter-final defeat to Galway (2-10 0-14) at The Gaelic Grounds on a day where thunderstorms, sunshine and hailstones formed part of a pulsating contest.

Deirdre Murphy speaking to Clare FM following Clooney/Quin’s intermediate success last year. Photograph: Ruth Griffin

Murphy is still lining out at club level for Clooney/Quin, the winners of the 2021 intermediate championship have returned to the senior ranks with the former secondary school teacher continuing to be a key part of the side.

A founding member of the Women’s Gaelic Players Association in 2015, Deirdre played a critical role in securing Government funding for the group a year later as it sought better representation and recognition for female inter-county players and helped to open them up to further opportunities. She remained part of the WGPA board until 2019.

From 2007 to 2013, she worked as a Munster Camogie Development co-ordinator with The Camogie Association. For the past two seasons, she has been an active member of Club Clare.

During Deirdre’s four year tenure as Gaelic Games Development Officer at the University of Limerick, the college won two Fitzgibbon Cup titles, three Ashbourne Cup titles and three O’Connor Cup titles. She moved on from the role in May 2017 to become the First Year support co-ordinator at UL. While working in the college, she also obtained a Masters Degree in Work and Organisational Behaviour.

Creation of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) role arose as part of Clare GAA’s five year strategic plan which was compiled by the nine-person working group comprised of Enda Connolly, Eoin Conroy, Eoin Doohan, Conor Gilligan, Roisin Glynn, Colin Kelly, Kieran Keating, Mark O’Connell and Enda O’Flaherty. The development of the SPG arose following the efforts of Éire Óg’s Niall O’Connor in calling for change and progression within Clare GAA.

As COO, Murphy will be responsible for working with the county executive to develop the vision and strategies of the GAA within the county and for implementing short and long-term plans to achieve the Association’s goals. She will report to the office of the Ard Stiúrthóir of the GAA Tom Ryan and Clare GAA Chair Keating.

Duties include the management and supervision of full and part-time personnel, ensuring all approved policy matters are applied, allowing Clare GAA to meet the highest standards of transparency, integrity and accountability. The COO will also assist with the implementation of the five year strategic plan including the production of an annual operations plan and a framework to enable officers to operate as an effective team.

Identifying partnership and sponsorship prospects for the county with external parties is another part of the role plus sourcing funding opportunities with the Treasurer, Rebecca Sexton while also working together to apply proper governance of all financial services.

Links with clubs, schools and community groups to promote gaelic games and assisting the Games Development Manager form other requirements of the role.

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