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"I'm Here To Serve" - The New OCI President Who Once Represented Ireland At Water Polo

"I'm Here To Serve" - The New OCI President Who Once Represented Ireland At Water Polo
By Conor Neville
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Sarah Keane, the CEO of Swim Ireland, is to succeed Pat Hickey as the President of the OCI. She was elected at tonight's EGM at the Conrad Hotel.

She won 29 of the 42 votes up for grabs. Willie O'Brien, the acting President of the OCI since Hickey's arrest in August, came in 2nd with 12 votes. Bernard O'Byrne, the former CEO of the FAI, won 2 votes.

A former national swimming champion, she also represented Ireland internationally in water polo. A solicitor and a former partner with the law firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice, she was appointed head of Swim Ireland in 2004.


The swimming association initially - for whatever reason - regretted the decision to appoint her and tried to back out of it. She took an injunction to prevent this. The judge sided with her and prevented the swimming association from naming her replacement.

She was widely perceived to enjoy the support of most of the bigger glamour sports at the Olympics, such as athletics, boxing and swimming. This was in contrast to Willie O'Brien who was backed by the wrestling association, the ice hockey body and the archery association, the latter being his own sport. The O'Brien strategy was similar to the one deployed by Pat Hickey during his 28 years at the helm.

O'Brien was the closest of any of the trio to Hickey and according to observers in the room like Ian O'Riordan, the outgoing President was heavily praised by many of the delegates at the meeting. Hickey wasn't there on the night.

She spoke to RTE the other day about what she regarded as the main challenges facing the OCI.


Restoring trust in the organization from its members, athletes, the Government and the public. The OCI should be a force for good for all sport in Ireland. The first step on this journey is to ensure that the organisation’s leadership has the necessary skills and experience to restore it to its rightful place as a key body in Ireland’s sporting infrastructure.

Her comments after her election...

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