Newly appointed Donegal GAA PRO John McEniff is certainly no stranger to working in the GAA.
For, the affable, eloquent and candid Bundoran native – who was ratified by the Co. Board this week - has considerable experience with his home-town club in various roles and was also a former PRO of the Southern Minor Board.
John has been involved as treasurer, PRO, coaching officer and mentor to various teams at various times for over two decades in his native Bundoran.
He was ten years as a very efficient and reliable PRO with Bundoran.
As a player, he was a young substitute on the Bundoran team that won the Donegal senior football championship in 1979 when they beat MacCumhaill’s by 0-9 to 1-5.
And he is also quite familiar with quite a number of current Donegal players from his involvement with various development squads in recent years.
He takes over from outgoing PRO Ed Byrne and is very conscious that the first few months will be a learning period.
And when asked how he got involved in becoming involved in the PRO and other roles he candidly replied: “No I was never pressganged into it, I just find it very difficult to say no.
“A vacancy came up at county board level and a few people approached me and I agreed.”
John admitted that becoming county PRO was “a big step up”.
“It is a very different thing to be sending results and the odd match report to the papers to dealing with you lads.”
“And attending county board meetings will be new to me to,” he added.
Outgoing PRO Ed Byrne will be assisting John in the early stages, something he appreciates very much.
“Ed Byrne is a great man, he is showing me the ropes and he is on the county board so I will be expecting Ed to be the main man for quite a while yet.
“He will be guiding me in the start,” he confirmed.
John already knows much of the Donegal media already which is a good help.
He has “absolutely no particular” view on his new role for the present.
“I don’t have any vision at the moment, but I have been involved in the GAA for many years.”
When asked what Donegal means to him he said: “The same as any Donegal GAA fan and you like to see them do well and you shed a tear when they win an All-Ireland.”
He added: “This new role means that this will be the first in many years that I will not have been involved with Bord na nOg in Bundoran since 1998.
“I am still coaching officer in the club.
“I find it very difficult to say no.”
Meanwhile, John is coming in at a very exciting team for the GAA in Donegal.
Tir Conaill are reigning Ulster senior champions and Gaoth Dobhair and Red Hugh’s are also Ulster champions while there is a wealth of underage talent making the transition to senior ranks in the county.
But John is no stranger to some of the Donegal senior squad from his days with the likes of Eamon Doherty, Paddy McBrearty, Caolan Ward right up to Peadar Mogan from his term with development squads.
“I am familiar with some of the current players from the development squads that I was involved with.
“I would be more familiar with some of the players than with the county board officials.
He added: “I am looking forward to the role but it is a big challenge and I look forward to that challenge. It will take a while to settle in and I don’t envisage being particularly good at the job for around four to five months.”
But, one suspects. that it will not take this very capable Bundoran GAA man too long to come to terms with one of the most challenging roles in the modern association.
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