By Damian Dolan
New Scotland County Board Chairperson Peter Mossey wants to instil some leadership back into the GAA north of the border.
Mossey was confirmed as the county’s new chairperson at last week’s board meeting after the position was left vacant at December’s Convention.
In doing so, he became the first Scotland chairperson to come from the Dálriada club, which combines Aberdeen and Dundee.
“I felt that Gaelic football was at a point where they [the board] needed leadership. I was able to commit to that, and provide the leadership that they’re looking for at the moment,” Mossey told the Irish World.
“I could detect that from the last Convention when an email went around appealing for officers to stand for the positons.
“There are three of four issues I think I can contribute to and it’s an opportunity to put something back, with all of the experience I’ve had in the GAA.”
It’s a role he’s well qualified for. Mossey previously served the board as chairperson of its sub-committee for the redevelopment of Pearse Park, as well as being the current chair of Dálriada since 2013.
It’s his second spell as the club’s chairperson, having also occupied the position when the club was founded in 1990. In between, he’s fulfilled every other role at the club.
It remains to be seen if Mossey, whose hometown club is Gortin St. Patrick’s in Tyrone, will continue as Dálriada chair, following his appointment to the Scottish board.
Heavily involved in university GAA in Britain, Mossey was also chair of British University GAA for 20 years (1995 to 2015).
His services to University GAA and Scotland were recognised by the Irish World at our awards last year.
Mossey, a professor of Dentistry at Aberdeen University, believes Scotland has the potential to be a very important county within the GAA, and is unique in a variety of ways.
As well as being able to boast the most northerly club in the GAA family, in the form of Dálriada, it’s also the only county which is also a country.
And as Mossey points out, it’s also the only county in the northern hemisphere which stages an international GAA tournament, in shinty. Something he believes Scotland can build upon.
At grassroots level, Mossey would like to see a renewed push to maximise participation. The lack of a hurling club is also something he is acutely aware of, and something he hopes to provide some ‘direction’ to rectify.
A lack of hurling is just one of the challenges facing Scotland and Mossey, as the county tries to balance its strength and success in the All Britain with developing the game.
“We have some of the best teams in Britain, because they’re winning British championships, but we also have a developmental aspect and to try and cater for both simultaneously is not easy,” he said.
“You have to make sure that your elite teams get elite opposition. We also have the challenge of making sure that the elite teams don’t play the teams that are trying to start off with new players. That would be a massive missmatch.”
But there are also plenty of positives to build upon. On Friday, GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail will be in attendance for the sod turning at the new £3.8 million Clydebank Development in Glasgow, which will provide long term Gaelic Games facilities in Scotland for the coming generations.
Also on the agenda is pushing forwards with the redevelopment of Pearse Park, the adopted home of Gaelic Games in Scotland situated on the South East side of Glasgow.
With the Japanese knotweed eradicated, Mossey believes the board is now in a position to launch a new initiative. He expects Tir Chonaill Harps to become the ground’s ‘anchor club’ when the redevelopment is finally completed.
“It needs to be maintained and they’re be keen to do that. We’ve already established that,” said Mossey, who is also eager to strengthen Scotland’s links with the rest of Britain, Ulster and Croke Park.
“I’ve probably been at every annual Congress in Ireland over the past 20 years in one guise or another, and have got to know all of the presidents.
“That’s a very important aspect that we should be using to our advantage in the forthcoming revival.”
Mossey stresses, though, that essential to all of the above will be rebuilding the ‘team ethos’ within the Scotland County Board.
“That team building will determine the success, or otherwise, of this venture over the next few years,” he said.