About Us

About the GPA

The GPA is the representative body for high performance inter-county players. Founded by players in 1999, and strengthened by a merger with the Women’s Gaelic Players Association in 2020, the GPA supports over 4,000 current male and female inter-county players and a growing number of former players across the four core pillars of Player Representation, Player Welfare, Player Development and Equality. The GPA is dedicated to investing in a better and more sustainable future for county players and provide services and support in the areas of Career Development, Education, Life Focus and Health and Wellbeing.

Our Purpose

We support players throughout their careers and post career under three key pillars:

    1. Represent the interests of all our players
    2. Protect their welfare on/off the pitch
    3. Support their development as people
    4. Equality

Our Vision

To create an environment that upholds the brilliance of our inter-county players and games. Allowing Gaelic players to excel as high performing athletes on the pitch and in their lives off the pitch. Unprejudiced by team, tier, gender, or sport.

Our Mission

To balance the huge demands placed on players with the opportunities, support and investment required for them to be at their best, on and off the pitch.

Our Values

WE ARE LEADERS.

WE ARE CARING.

WE ARE AMBITIOUS.

WE ARE INNOVATORS.

Publications

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE

Donal Óg Cusack
Philip Greene
Ciarán Kilkenny

Matthew O’Hanlon

Co-Chair NEC

County: Wexford

Code: Hurling 

Sporting career: Represented Wexford at various levels in Hurling and Football. Captain of the Wexford Hurling team

Professional career: Currently a Sales and Marketing Professional

 

Maria Kinsella

Co-Chair NEC

County: Carlow

Code: Football

Dónal Óg Cusack

County: Cork

Code: Hurling

Bio: Dóal is the former Chairperson of the GPA. He is also an Irish hurling coach, TV hurling analyst with the Sunday Game and a former player. Donal Óg is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to play the game of Hurling, winning honours at all levels of the sport.

Cited as one of the most influential Irish Sports People of his generation, through his championing the cause of player welfare with Cork, founding the Gaelic Players Association along with his innovation as a goalkeeper and hurler.

He is a Senior Engineering Manager for the American Multinational Johnson & Johnson who he has worked with for other fifteen years.

Aoife Murray

County: Cork

Code: Camogie

Podge Collins

County: Clare

Code: Dual Player

 

Niamh Collins

County: Dublin

Code: Football

 

Naos Connaughton

County: Roscommon

Code: Hurling

Philip Greene

County: Sligo

Code: Football

Sporting career: Played with Sligo for 11 seasons, winning 1 Connacht title and 2 National Leagues.

Professional career: Head of Aircraft Leasing at HSBC

Ciarán Kilkenny

County: Dublin

Code: Football

Neil McManus

County: Antrim

Code: Hurling

Chloe Morey

County: Clare

Code: Camogie

Niall Morgan

County: Tyrone

Code: Football

Kate McKay

County: Down

Code: Football

Michael Murphy

County: Donegal

Code: Football

Mickey Quinn

County: Longford

Code: Football

Lorraine Ryan

County: Galway

Code: Camogie

Board

Philip Greene
Donal Óg Cusack

Brian MacCraith

Chair of the GPA Board of Directors

Bio: Brian recently finished a very successful 10-year term (July 2010 to July 2020) as President of Dublin City University (DCU), where, among a broad range of initiatives, he actively supported the development and growth of the sport with a particular emphasis on Gaelic games.

During this time, DCU developed significantly in terms of scale, footprint, and international reputation. It became Ireland’s fastest-growing university, rising to more than 18,250 students in 2020, and added three campuses (DCU St. Patrick’s Campus, DCU All Hallows Campus, and DCU Alpha, the university’s Innovation Campus) in the North Dublin region.

Brian placed a strong emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion and developed several significant initiatives in this context.  He has also chaired many critical reviews on behalf of the Irish Government and has been a board member of IBEC, Chamber Choir Ireland and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Maria Kinsella

Co-Chair NEC

County: Carlow

Code: Football

Matthew O’Hanlon

Co-Chair NEC

County: Wexford

Code: Hurling 

Sporting career: Represented Wexford at various levels in Hurling and Football. Captain of the Wexford Hurling team

Professional career: Currently a Sales and Marketing Professional

 

Aoife Murray

Secretary

County: Cork

Code: Camogie

Niamh Collins

County: Dublin

Code: Football

 

John Glennon

Bio: John Glennon is a founding and managing partner of RSM Ireland which is a Top 10 Accounting firm in Ireland and part of the 6th largest global accounting network in the world. John has considerable experience helping mid-market leaders develop strategies to grow their business. He has worked with many foreign owned clients in helping them develop localised strategies and business plans to drive local success while remaining integrated with the overall corporate global strategy. John is a member of the RSM European Leadership Team. John is also a Board Member of the German Irish Chamber of Commerce.

Philip Greene

County: Sligo

Code: Football

Sporting career: Played with Sligo for 11 seasons, winning 1 Connacht title and 2 National Leagues.

Professional career: Head of Aircraft Leasing at HSBC

Patricia Gordon

 

 

Dónal Óg Cusack

President

County: Cork

Code: Hurling

Bio: Dóal is the former Chairperson of the GPA. He is also an Irish hurling coach, TV hurling analyst with the Sunday Game and a former player. Donal Óg is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to play the game of Hurling, winning honours at all levels of the sport.

Cited as one of the most influential Irish Sports People of his generation, through his championing the cause of player welfare with Cork, founding the Gaelic Players Association along with his innovation as a goalkeeper and hurler.

He is a Senior Engineering Manager for the American Multinational Johnson & Johnson who he has worked with for other fifteen years.

Kate McKay

County: Down

Code: Football

Seán Murphy

GPA: Seán is a member of the GPA’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board sub-committee on Remuneration, People and Change. 
Seán has been a member of the National executive (NEC) since 2012. 

Professional Career: Seán joined Aer Lingus in 1991; he started his career in Ground Operations and has served in a number of senior roles in his time at Aer Lingus including, Cargo, Catering, InFlight Services, Human Resources and as a Board Member (2002-2006). His current role is Executive Director of HR & Dublin Airport Operations

Sporting Career: Seán was a Member of the Dublin County Football Management team (under 21’s) 2014-2017 and is currently a member of the Dublin Senior Football Management team since 2019.

Education: Irish Management Institute 
BA (Hons) Degree in Business Management
University of Michigan
Smurfit Business School

Ailbhe Gilvarry

STAFF

Colm Begley

Tom Parsons

Email: tom.parsons@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Charlestown, Co. Mayo

My Role: CEO

Bio:

I serve as CEO but also provide injury and wellbeing advice to players. My playing career started with Mayo in 2008 and I retired in 2020. I overcame substantial injuries during that time, including a career threatening knee injury.

I have a passion in protecting player welfare and ensuring equality is achieved for our male and female players. My vision is that all players have the opportunity to succeed in life, as often the demands on the pitch can be all consuming.

Professionally I am a Fellow with Engineers Ireland and have held various executive leadership roles before moving from Chairperson of the GPA National Executive Committee to become the GPA CEO. I’m very proud to serve the players.

Currently serving as CEO for the Gaelic Players Association, having previously served on the Board of the Gaelic Players Association as a non-executive director. Since my debut with Mayo in 2008, I have developed a passion for investing in player wellbeing. My vision is that every player can leave the game with balance and success both on and off the pitch.

Before taking up the CEO of the GPA I was the European Culture Manager for Jacobs, a fortune 500 professional and technical solutions company. My remit was to lead the BeyondZero programme in Europe, which was core to the organisation’s culture, focusing on Safety, Wellbeing & Leadership. I had originally joined Jacobs in 2012, and held Lead Engineering and Project Management Roles as a Chartered Engineer for various major infrastructure projects across the organisation. A Career Highlight for me was being awarded as an honorary Fellow with Engineers Ireland in 2021.

I earned a Master of Science in Energy Management with a focus on Organisational Behaviour and sustainability, and completed a Post Graduate Certification in Leadership. I am a STEM ambassador for Engineers Ireland and speak regularly on the importance of Positive Mental Health, and High Performance Culture.

Ciarán Barr

Email: ciaran@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Belfast, Co. Antrim

My Role: Head of Finance and Operations

What does it involve in a nutshell? Ensuring that the members of the GPA have access to the services they require in the areas of Welfare and Development. Also ensuring that the GPA manages its financial resources to allow it to fulfil its mission, in a way that is compliant with best practice governance standards in the voluntary sector.

Favourite part of my role: Looking forward to working for and on behalf of our members, and meeting lots of GAA and other sports people.

Favourite Sporting memory: Lots of great memories across Waterpolo, Football and Hurling. But here goes, playing Hurling in the Feile of 1977 in Waterford, as a 12 year old corner back for O’Donovan Rossa GAC Belfast. My big brother Dee was mid-field.

Colm Begley

Email: colm@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Laois

My Role:Player Welfare & Engagement Manager

Bio:

My position is Player Welfare and Engagement Manager. My primary goal is to enhance the standards of welfare and wellbeing within our games, while ensuring we provide our members with the support, resources and environment that assist them to flourish both on and off the field. I am a sports and people enthusiast. My career to date, including my time as a county footballer with Laois and a professional footballer with the AFL, has been dedicated to sport and supporting the betterment of not only the games, but the people involved in it. I have always strived to work within elite performing environments, and GPA is no different. I care strongly about helping players find the right balance, ensuring players get as much out of playing our game as they put into it. I feel privileged to serve the players and I’m excited to help lead an association that is driven by talented and passionate members.

Currently serving as Player Welfare and Engagement Manager. My role focusses on enhancing the standards of welfare and wellbeing both on and off the pitch for a better player experience for all members. It is also my ambition to position the GPA and our games as a National and International lead in the area of Player Welfare and Wellbeing.

I have worked for the GPA since 2018, initially as a project coordinator. I was a member of the NEC in 2018 before becoming an employee. I have served as a GPA rep for 5 years.

I have always been passionate about players receiving the recognition, investment & support they deserve for the commitment they give to our games. I want to ensure that players lives are balanced, and that playing Inter County is a positive and growing experience, rather than something that takes away from their lives. I am very proud to work for the GPA as I know the positive impact we can provide, and see immense potential for the continued growth of the association and the members that make it.

Before joining the GPA I worked for Leinster GAA as a Games Development Administrator where I focussed on the development and organisation of initiatives and structures that would help grow the Gaelic games within Laois. My priority was to support talent development and increase engagement which would lead to more efficient and sustainable GAA networks.

I have a Bachelors Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Science and Health in DCU and a Masters in Strength and Conditioning from Carlow IT. Additionally, I have recently completed a Professional Diploma in Management from the Irish Management Institute. 

Gemma Begley

Email: gemma@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Tyrone

My Role: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager

Bio:

I am a huge advocate for and passionate about delivering equality for GPA members. I engage with players across all areas of the GPA to enhance their playing experience and lives beyond the game.

Having represented Tyrone LGFA for 15 years, my experience of working to improve the playing standards was the reason I got involved as one of the founding members of the WGPA when it was established in 2015.

It was a privilege to serve the association as a project manager until the integration with the GPA in 2020 and since then, I have assumed the role of EDI manager, within the GPA team.

I have been a passionate, public advocate for advancing the experiences of players, through my 15 year intercounty career and subsequently in my professional career. I have captained senior teams at club, county and provincial level, and supported players with their needs off-the-field, acting as a link to GPA/WGPA supports.

Previously I was self-employed, working with local SME’s on marketing & digital comms. My role with the WGPA for the last 6 years involved working day-to-day on behalf of the players and the NEC, across all functions of the association, a period which saw phenomenal change in the women’s game. I played a leading role on the release of the WGPA’s Levelling the Field report and the integration with the GPA, both of which led to our most significant achievement to date; equal state funding for female and male intercounty players was delivered in 2021, a landmark for equality in Irish sport.

The Player Reps days have been some of the most memorable, bringing large groups of players together and allowing them to share their experiences and build solidarity around common goals. There is a powerful energy in the collective voice and empowering players to use it.

The area of social justice is also of massive importance to me and one highlight in this area in 2017 was working with intercounty players on the Gaelic Voices for Change Solidarity Sleepout which raised over €200k for Homeless charities.

I firmly believe we can give all of our elite, amateur players equal opportunity and support to be the best version of themselves, while using our platform to drive positive change across wider society.

Tommy Doyle

Digital Media and Member Communications Manager

Email: tommy.doyle@gaelicplayers.com

Kieran McSweeney

Email: kieran@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Home: Dromahane / Club: Kilshannig / County: Cork

My Role: Head of Communications

What does it involve in a nutshell? My job is to ensure there is open and proactive communications with all parties who have an interest in the GPA but particularly with players.

Favourite part of my role: Finding new ways to help players tell their stories with purpose.

Favourite Sporting memory: Kilshannig winning the Cork Intermediate football title in 1988 and Cork’s Double in 1990.  Introducing Cork’s All-Ireland winning hurling team of 1986 as the 2011 Jubilee Hurling Team on All-Ireland final day at Croke Park.

Eamonn Murphy

Email: Eamonn@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Kildare

My Role: GPA Player Services Manager

What does it involve in a nutshell? Ensuring the voice of our members is heard and working to implement policies to protect their welfare on and off the field

Favourite part of my role: Observing the power of the collective player voice to impact positive change

Favourite Sporting memory: Kildare V Dublin Leinster final 2000/Man Utd winning Champions League 1999

Ian Reeves

Email: ian@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Dublin           

My Role:Lead Player Development & Wellbeing Coach

What does it involve in a nutshell? Through my assessment of the players’ need, I identify an all-inclusive proposal to support the person behind the player through our Player Development Programmes

Favourite part of my role: Engaging & connecting with GPA members to support them off the field

Favourite Sporting memory: Sean Óg Ó hAilpín’s all Irish speech after the 2005 All Ireland Hurling Final

 

Jennifer Rogers

Email: jennifer@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Westmeath

My Role:Player Development Manager

What does it involve in a nutshell? Working across the areas of development, welfare and representation and developing ways to enhance and improve the services and supports the GPA provides to our members

Favourite part of my role: Having the opportunity to contribute to the development of relevant supports and services for players and seeing the difference this can have on their lives

Favourite Personal Sporting memory: Winning the Intermediate All-Ireland final with Westmeath Ladies in 2011 and winning the Intermediate Club All-Ireland with my club Milltown Ladies in 2015 – can’t pick between these two, both were equally amazing for different reasons!

Favourite Sporting memory: Nickie Quaid’s save in the 2018 Semi-Final against Cork to force extra-time – what a game!!

Karen Thorpe

Email: karen@gaelicplayers.com

Where am I from: Dublin

My Role:Events & Education Manager

What does it involve in a nutshell? Managing big GPA events and Player Alumni Networking & Services

Favourite part of my role: Reconnecting former team mates at the annual Former Players Event

Favourite Sporting memory: Stephen Cluxton’s free to win the All-Ireland for Dublin in 2011

Welfare Engagement
Officers

Podge Collins

County: Clare

Code: Dual

Roisin Friel

County: Donegal

Code: Football

Kate Kelly

County: Wexford

Code: Camogie

Chris Kerr

Email: chris@gaelicplayers.com

County: Antrim

Code: Football

 

Aer-LingusAer-Lingus

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Northwood Business Campus,
Santry, Dublin 9

Email: info@gaelicplayers.com

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