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Burns confirms future bid for GAA presidency

Former Armagh captain and Silverbridge clubman, Jarlath Burns, has signaled his intention to run for President of the GAA and, although not declaring when, he confirmed it would be “sooner rather than later”.

It has been mooted that Burns may contend the 2020 election when the term of current President-elect John Horan will end.  At last month’s Annual Congress, Horan was elected to succeed Aoghán Ó Fearghail as GAA President in 2018.

It’s of little surprise that Jarlath Burns has his eye on the Association’s top job and, if successful, will undoubtedly bring a wealth of experience to the role.

Having captained Armagh to Ulster SFC success in 1999, the 49-year-old eventually hung up his boots last year, playing his final game with his club’s reserve team.

The St. Paul’s HS, Bessbrook principal has been immersed in the GAA, both on and off the field, and has held positions at club, county and national level.

Current secretary of Silverbridge Harps GFC, he has previously held the position of club chairman.  At county level, Burns was Armagh’s Central Council delegate from 2010 to 2015 and is now part of a sub-committee working on a strategic plan.

His involvement with the GAA at national level began in 2000 when he was appointed as the first players’ representative to Central Council.  Since then he has been involved in Scór, the GAA’s medical and welfare committee, its 125th anniversary committee, the pitch presentations committee, and he is currently chairman of the standing committee on playing rules.

In contrast to the opinion of many players, Jarlath Burns has endorsed the new ‘Super 8’ format agreed at last month’s Congress, dismissing suggestions that it is elitist: “We shouldn’t be apologetic for the fact that we want our best teams to contest the All-Ireland semi-final and final. That’s not elitist, that’s the reality of an effective draw,” he said.

“The Championship is there to achieve the champions, that’s why it’s called the Championship and we shouldn’t apologise for the fact that we want to ensure that the best teams get closest to the final.”

The Silverbridge man also endorsed the Association’s means of generating income, insisting there is nothing wrong with exploiting the GAA’s commercial potential.

“We don’t have an international outlet like the professional games, we don’t have the international money that rugby and soccer has so we have to make sure that we exploit the indigenous capability of our games,’ he added.