Jim Bolger is the new Chairman of Leinster Council

November 8, 2018

PHOTO: James Doyle, Chairman, Clonmore GFC presenting Jim with an inscribed Galway crystal decanter (and set of glasses) to commemorate his inauguration as Chairman of Leinster Council / Cathaoirleach, Comhairle Laighean.

Saturday, 28 January 2017 was a historic day for Clonmore and Carlow GAA as our own Jim Bolger was inaugurated as Chairman of Leinster Council at the Leinster GAA Convention in Mount Wolseley, Tullow.

Chairman of Clonmore GFC, James Doyle, made a speech at the Convention congratulating Jim on his appointment and later made a presentation to Jim on behalf of the club to mark this special occasion.

A nice touch by Carlow County Board was that the three main Stewards inside the Convention room were Clonmore men Des Byrne, Tommy Kelly and Michael Byrne who are regular Stewards at Netwatch Cullen Park.

Many of Jim's friends and former team mates from the Hacketstown and Clonmore areas joined him and his family in their celebrations in Mount Wolseley afterwards and a good night was had by all.

Well done Jim – we wish you well during your three year term of office. ******************************************************

When Jim Bolger takes up the position of Chairman of Leinster Council on 28 January 2017, he will become the first Carlow man to hold this prestigious position in the 133 year history of the GAA.

This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows the popular Clonmore man and the commitment he has shown to the GAA throughout his life. Born in Hacketstown in 1964, Jim cites his inspirations as his late father Liam, who won Senior Football Championships with Clonmore in 1955 and '56, his uncle Eddie Forde, a lifelong stalwart with Clonmore GFC, and the late Sean O’Toole, an inspirational trainer who guided Clonmore and Kiltegan teams to championship successes in Carlow and Wicklow in the 1980s.

Jim was a prodigious underage talent and at the tender age of 14 played in the 1978 County U-21 football final for Clonmore. He won an Intermediate Championship in 1980, aged just 16, and was still playing with Clonmore when they won the Junior Championship in 1994. Jim also won Senior and Junior Leinster schools titles with Tullow Community School in the 1979/80 season and had the honour of captaining the u-15 side.

County recognition wasn’t long in coming and Jim played at every level for the county. A fast, uncompromising defender, Jim played for the Carlow U-21 team that lost by one point to Dublin in the 1984 Leinster final. The following year in the u-21 Quarter-Final he held Offaly star player Peter Brady to one point and actually scored a point against him for good measure. In the drawn Semi-Final he had the daunting task of marking Meath’s All Star corner forward, Bernard Flynn. It says a lot about the Clonmore man that Flynn failed to raise a flag. Unfortunately Carlow narrowly lost the replay. Jim continued to serve Carlow throughout the 1980s regularly lining out alongside such greats as Paddy Quirke, Tommy Dwyer, Lar Molloy and Kevin Madden.

Jim spent much of his working life in the Army, primarily based in Clancy Barracks Dublin serving in the Bomb Disposal Unit before being appointed Safety Officer for the 2nd Eastern Brigade. In addition, he served overseas in Lebanon in 1986/87. Jim won three All-Army football titles playing alongside well known GAA figures such as John Maughan, Kevin McStay and the late Dermot Early to name but a few. Unfortunately Jim's playing career was brought to an abrupt halt in an All-Army semi-final when he severed his achilles tendon. Defying medics at the time it took him four years to get back playing the game he loved. While living in Dublin and after starting a family Jim became an active member of the Ballyboden/St Enda’s GAA club in Rathfarnham and captained them to a Junior League title in the twilight of his career. He became actively involved in coaching and managed their Minor footballers to a South Dublin title in 2004, a team that included among others, Dublin star Michael Darragh McCauley. When he retired from the Army, he set up his own business before taking up a post with the newly formed Health Services Executive. After a time, Jim moved closer to home and having taken up employment in the Safety, Fire and Emergency Services Department of Laois County Council, settled in Killeshin with his wife Vera and children, Kate, Shane and Ross, all of whom are immersed in the Killeshin GAA club.

Jim immediately became involved with Clonmore GAA serving on their Intermediate Management Team before Carlow came calling and he went on to serve as selector with the County Senior and U-21 teams for a number of years. He was the principal author of the county’s Five Year Football Development Plan in 2008 and went on to serve Carlow as Leinster Council Delegate subsequently. His talent for administration and leadership skills were recognised when he moved on to Leinster Council and held the position of Treasurer before being elected as Vice-Chairman in 2014.

The affairs of the GAA in Leinster will be in very capable hands with Carlow’s Jim Bolger holding the reins. He has done his club and county proud.