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Home » Breaking News » Deirdre Murphy appointed head of operations for Clare GAA
Running affairs for Clare GAA: Clooney's Deirdre Murphy has been appointed Head of Operations with Clare GAA. Photograph by John Kelly

Deirdre Murphy appointed head of operations for Clare GAA

Champion Chatter

Clooney’s Deirdre Murphy has been appointed as Head of Operations with Clare GAA. She will take up the role in the middle of October.

In an interview with The Clare Champion, County Board Chairman Kieran Keating stated that Murphy’s previous experience both outside and within the county made her stand out from the rest of the field.

“I suppose her experience and background makes her ideal for this type of role. Her work with the Camogie Association and UL speaks for itself while her natural ability on the field with Clare is well known. She knows Gaelic Games very well and has served a number of roles that have enhanced her knowledge of the games and business side.”

There was an initial field of 16 candidates for the role which over time was whittled down to the final three. Keating insists there was strong competition for the role and candidates from a wide variety of disciplines interested in this position.

“We had candidates from various backgrounds. We had people from a sports science background and others with somewhat similar experience to Deirdre in other roles such as universities. I can’t give details away other than the fact we had a strong field of candidates but I do feel we have somebody in Deirdre who can put her stamp on this role.”

The Head of Operations title has been used interchangeably with the Chief Operations Officer. In her position, she will be lead the County Executive develop strategies within the county and for implementing short and long-term plans to achieve Clare GAA’s goals.

The County Board Chairman believes Murphy’s previous experience of managing both employees and volunteers will help her in this role.

“Her enthusiasm and affinity with people is vital while we have seen that she is able to get the best out of people. There are lots of moving parts. You have development squads, their managers, coaching staff, facility volunteers and 54 clubs who all have volunteers putting in their time and effort.”

“You need somebody who can help understand and gel all those people towards working for a common goal. She understands the pressures faced by volunteers and employees within the GAA.”

With this position now filled, the focus will soon shift towards recruiting suitable candidates for the roles of Commercial and Brand Manager. Keating states that this is not a role Clare GAA are advertising for yet with the County Board Chairman stating that “no advert is pending.”

He wants Murphy to settle in to her new role first and then Clare GAA will kickstart the process of finding the right person for the job.

“We are not recruiting for that yet. We want to get our Head of Operations feet under the table first so there is no advert pending. We will be updating the Strategic Plan in December and once we have done that then we will go from there.”

Keating states that filling the role of Facilities Manager is of greater concern than that of the Finance Manager in the short term.

“The Facilities Manager is probably one of the most important appointments we will make. We are starting the process for this role in the months ahead. We have been very well served by volunteers. We know the importance of managing and having our facilities up to the required standard. We need to give our players and management teams every chance to succeed.”

He feels Murphy’s background; she secured a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce at NUIG, can ease the pressure in terms of hiring a Finance Manager in the immediate short term.

“Deirdre has a degree in Commerce so she does have expertise there. The Facilities (Manager) is probably higher up the queue in terms of what we need to focus on but we shall see.”

“We have more than a dozen committees working on different angles. They can help us record progress made and see where we need to shift our focus towards. That includes focusing on our plans for 2023 and looking further ahead.”

Murphy has previously work as the GAA Development Officer with the University of Limerick (UL).

During her time in the role, UL lifted the Ashbourne Cup in 2014, 2016 and 2017. There were back to back O’Connor Cup wins in 2014 and 2015, along with claiming the title again in 2017. From a Clare perspective, she served as GAA Development Officer when a Brian Lohan managed UL side claimed Fitzgibbon Cup honours.

She has also worked with the Camogie Association as a Development Officer in the Munster region for six years. The Clooney-Quin clubwoman has also served as a committee member with Club Clare while in 2015 she was one of seven founding members of the Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA).

On the field of play, Murphy helped Clare end a 78-year wait for a Munster Senior Camogie crown in 2012 while she was named Clare Camogie Player of the Decade in 2014. The Clooney/Quin woman won an All Ireland Intermediate camogie title in 1999 while she captained Clare to an All-Ireland Junior Camogie title in 2008.

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