Denis Ellis, the new Donegal chairman, is maintaining a long and proud Naomh Columba record on the Donegal GAA executive board.
Ellis, the current Naomh Columba chairman, was elected county vice-chairman at the annual Donegal GAA Convention on Sunday in the Mount Errigal Hotel. He defeated Dan Harnett, from Letterkenny Gaels, in a two way contest for the position. The position was vacated by Naomh Brid clubman Danny McNamee.
He is the fifth Naomh Columba man elected to high office in the last five decades. He is following in the footsteps of Francie Cunningham, Sean O’Einne, Paddy ‘Beag’ Gillespie and Declan Cunningham, all of whom held positions on the Donegal executive over the last 50 year.
The late Francie Cunningham served as both chairman and treasurer; Sean O’Einne, was assistant treasurer for a time, while Paddy ‘Beag’ Gillespie, is a former assistant secretary and Declan Cunningham a former Youth Officer.
“It is a big and challenging job but one I’m looking forward to and I am very grateful to all those who voted for me,” Denis Ellis told the Democrat.
“I see it as a great honour for both myself and my club. I’m the fifth Naomh Columba clubman elected to the executive in the last 50 years.”
The remit of the vice-chairman includes standing in for the chairman at times and as member of the management/executive committee of the county board.
However, one the main duties of the vice-chairman is to chair the County Competitions Control Committee - the committee involved in running of fixtures and disciplinary matters.
The vice-chairman and the assistant secretary are the two officers responsible for the day to day running of fixtures.
This will see Denis Ellis teaming up with Sean McGinley, from the neighbouring club Kilcar, who is the assistant secretary.
“Fixtures and getting games played I suppose is the major part of the job and will take up most of my time and energies.
“Nowadays when it comes to playing of games, they have be fixed in conjunction with the county team and that is the challenge.
“But it is a matter of getting common ground from all involved and as far as I am concerned the important thing is that club players have games on a regular basis.
“We all have to strive to get a continuity of club games and we cannot have a situation where clubs go weeks in the middle of the summer without football.
“Hopefully, this is something we will succeed in doing this year. I believe it is something that can be achieved if we can all sit down and trash out a solution among ourselves.”
Denis Ellis has been the Naomh Columba chairman for the past three years. He is due to step down at the club’s annual general meeting on Sunday.
Down the years he has served in numerous positions in the club including registrar, assistant treasurer and chairman of the minor board. He is also a former treasurer of the old South West Divisional board and is a former county minor and U-16 manager.
And he holds the distinction of being the first Donegal U-16 football manager to win the Ted Webb Cup. That was in 1991, and in the time before Galway and Mayo entered two teams, in the competition.