Cllr Robert McDermott, the incoming chairperson of Offaly Sports Partnership.

McDermott succeeds O'Callaghan as Chair of Offaly Sports Partnership

Edenderry councillor, businessman, and former president of Leinster Rugby, Robert McDermott, was elected as the next chairperson of Offaly Sports Partnership a virtual AGM on December 14.

At the meeting, Miriam O’Callaghan stepped down as chairperson after leading the organisation for 10 years. Members and staff of the Sports Partnership have praised Miriam for her commitment, diligence and inclusive leadership over the last decade.

The new chairperson is the first resident of Edenderry to lead the county’s Sports Partnership.

Robert McDermott has a long involvement with his local rugby club in Edenderry and with Leinster Rugby, having been elected president of Leinster Rugby for 2015 - 2016.

In his time with Leinster Rugby, he was instrumental in launching its 'sport your mind' mental health programme, volunteer recruitment and retention programmes, supports for clubs applying for sports capital, and the launch and ongoing development of disability tag rugby in clubs nationwide.

He continues to act as Leinster Rugby’s Junior Rugby Team Manager. More recently, he was elected to Offaly County Council in the 2019 local elections.

Accepting the position of chairperson, Robert joined other members of the Sports Partnership in paying tribute to Tullamore native, Miriam O’Callaghan who oversaw the implementation of two strategic plans of the Sports Partnership.

Miriam O'Callaghan, the outgoing chairperson of Offaly Sports Partnership.

Well known for her commitment to sporting and community organisations and public life, Miriam has been instrumental in the promotion of camogie both locally and nationally.

Her involvement in the sport included playing in the 1970s and 1980s, serving on the re-established Offaly County Board from its infancy, and officiating and coaching in the sport. As a referee, she took charge of two All-Ireland finals in 1991 and 1993.

She became the 26th president of the national Camogie Association in 2003, and has also been a councillor with both Offaly County Council and Tullamore Town Council in the past.

In her final address as chairperson of Offaly Sports Partnership, Miriam O’Callaghan summarised its achievements of 2019, which included securing investment of over €500,000 for the county both financially and in-kind for a range of initiatives; a comprehensive schools’ fitness programme in 32 schools for 2,500 pupils; and education and training programmes for over 170 volunteers in clubs or other organisations.

The AGM also saw three further changes on the executive committee of the Sports Partnership. Outgoing vice chair, Senator Pippa Hackett, stepped down and was replaced by Jude Feehan (Community Games).

Eamonn Brady of the Combined Counties Football League resigned as the sports sector representative from the executive committee after 5 years, and was replaced by Miriam O’Callaghan.

Brian Pey takes over as Offaly County Council’s representative on the executive committee following the retirement of Senior Executive Officer, Martin Daly. Darren Butler (Offaly Athletics) retained the role of financial monitor while Councillor Declan Harvey also stays on the executive committee as the liaison officer from the Local Community Development Committee.

More from this Topic