Gerry McGovern, President of the Connacht GAA Council
A native of Cloone, Gerry McGovern is a former player, referee, Leitrim County Board Chairman and current President of the Connacht GAA Council. Here he talks to www.leitrimobserver.ie about why he loves Co Leitrim.
What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend in Leitrim?
My perfect day starts on a beautiful Monday morning with the sun beaming down. Yesterday was some day! I’ll have to get the paper to see what they said about it. The heading of the Irish Independent ‘Leitrim Capture the Nester cup after twenty five year wait’. What’s next to be done? Prepare for the home coming. It could be late but what about it. It will be worth waiting for. The team arrive to main street Cloone with the Nester Cup on board, speeches, yahoo’s and they are off again. A perfect end to a perfect day
Who has made the greatest contribution to Leitrim in your lifetime - and why?
From a GAA perspective it has to be the McGovern Brothers, Aughavas. In the early nineties when Leitrim Gaa needed a sponsor for the team, the McGovern brothers stepped up and continued to sponsor for many years. Later when Leitrim GAA was looking for a sponsor for the new stand in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, once again The McGovern Brothers led by James and Tony were there to answer the call. Their contribution also to various charities and organisation is phenomenal.
What's your first Leitrim memory?
Continuing the GAA theme, my first memory was attending with my father a match between Leitrim and Galway in Ballinamore. Michael O’Hehir was doing a commentary from a box inside the main gate. I don’t remember who won or what the score was.
What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
Only one answer to this question - Cloone with its beautiful scenery, and countryside noted for its peace and tranquillity. It also boosts of one of the most beautiful villages in Ireland with its beautifully presented flower beds, street paving, modern day church and spacious Community Centre. It’s got it all.
What do you think gives Leitrim its unique identity?
Leitrim unique identity comes from the pride and affection Leitrim people have for their county. Leitrim is not blessed with large resources but it will hold its own with any of the bigger counties when it comes to standing up for itself.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
I have always enjoyed the articles written by Tommy Moran for the Leitrim GAA match programmes and other Leitrim publications. I would also have to include Seamus O’Rourke as one of my favourites. I also like Colm O Rourke’s articles on GAA affairs.
What about a local walk - or view?
We are blessed with walks in Cloone. My favourite is the walk around Pairc Naomh Mhuire the Cloone GAA grounds. For the more ambitious walker we have the most beautiful walk entitled Bothar Na Naomh.
This a quite peaceful walk which now goes all around the beautiful Drumdarkin lake, with its numerous fishing bays, and now it includes the recently developed equestrian centre. We have another walk being developed at Keeldra Lake - Cloone is truly the walking capitol of Ireland.
What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?
Leitrim, like every other county, has many challenges facing it. Providing employment for our young people so that they can live and work locally. With the closure of our local services, like Post Offices, Garda stations the big challenge for Leitrim is to keep rural communities and our towns and villages alive and operational.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Leitrim, what would it be?
I would change the Planning laws so that our young people can build houses on the family farm and keep rural Ireland alive. I would provide a high quality broadband to every house. I would create three large employment hubs in the County in Carrick, Drumshanbo and Manorhamilton to add to the existing employment opportunities so we can provide top quality jobs for all the future generations of Leitrim people in search of work.