herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

dubs' leinster chief will put in the miles

Finbarr will bring vast experience and wisdom to new top role

FINBARR O'Driscoll was out watching the Jackies. He's getting used to the banter.

"Here comes the President. All bow."

Or "will you be getting tea and cake at half-time. And can we come with you."

Finbarr smiles it all off. He's the new President of the Leinster Council.

He's well used to the road to Portlaoise. He had been the Dublin delegate to Leinster.

His co-pilot is Dave McCabe. With Dave for company, the miles pass by quickly.

It can be late when the duo return to Dublin, but they have always been happy to serve.

It was Dave that suggested that Finbarr go forward for the post. The Dublin county board gave him the green light.

Then there was an election. "I was glad of that. It's always good to have an election," says Finbarr.

He's following Marie Hickey, who will take over as the Association President in March, accepting the chain from Pat Quill.

"I'm following some fine people into the role, men like Wally Thompson and Bill Daly."

Finbarr has given decades to the ladies game. He was one of the top referees in the sport.

He proved a crucial presence as the countdown clock was introduced.

Of late, he has been getting used to looking at his own watch. The early days of the year have already been busy with meetings and matches. And a hundred other things.

"I felt the time was right to commit to the position," he reflects.

He's a member of St Olaf's. He's a retired school principal.

He loves travelling, sport and music. He has followed the Lions, Munster and attended several Heineken Cup finals.

He has been on tour with the Irish soccer team and he follows Cork City and Spurs.

He's been to more concerts than Dave Fanning. He has several lined up for this year.

He delights in the offerings of Fleetwood Mac, Simply Red, AC/DC, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, among others.

Seeing a more competitive Leinster Championship would be music to his ears.

Dublin have been dominating the provincial turf like Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

"I'd like to see the standards evening out at all levels. I recently attended a colleges game and one side won far too easily. That's no use to anybody.

STANDARD

"The development within the province is vital. There's a lot of work to be done. It's also important that we keep the standard of refereeing up."

Being Leinster President will see Finbarr become a Vice-President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. And he will also sit on the management committee.

"I have been straight into the hot seat after Marie Hickey. I have been chairing meetings and that's something I haven't done in a while."

He'll take it all in his stride. He likes to get the job done quickly. Quick, sharp meetings and head back to the capital.

That was his style as a referee. And he'll bring that to the boardroom.

The messages of goodwill have been flowing since the white smoke went up.

And he has felt his entourage growing at the matches.

He has quickly learned that everybody likes their tea and cake!

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