Joe Doherty has received the highest honour in Irish cricket, being elected president of Cricket Ireland at the AGM held in Dundalk today.
Strabane-born Doherty has previously held some of the highest offices in north-west and Irish cricket, being a former chairman of both, and has just stepped down as the chairman of the influential Cricket Committee of Cricket Ireland.
Doherty played all his cricket with his native Strabane, making his senior debut for the club in 1969.
A canny off-spin bowler, he twice took nine wickets in intermediate cricket, against Waterside in 1975 and Drummond in 1988.
He was also a steady top-order batsman, with his highest senior score of 67 coming against Burndennett in 1981.
Following his election, Doherty said: “It's been a long journey from Courtrai Park in Strabane where I played my first softball cricket under local rules, but I've loved every minute and cricket has been very good to me already.
"I'm looking forward to repaying the faith that Strabane, the North West Cricket Union and Cricket Ireland have always placed in me and I want the cricket community to see that there is unlimited opportunity in Irish cricket for all, irrespective of upbringing or geographical origin."
Former Cricket Ireland and Northern Cricket Union Chairman Dr Murray Power was named president elect, and will take over the reins from Doherty in 12 months' time.
Cricket Ireland chairman Ross McCollum welcomed the new president saying: "I'd like to wish Joe Doherty the very best for the coming year, and thank Robin Walsh, who was a magnificent ambassador for Irish cricket."
McCollum also confirmed that North West president Andrew Fleming will replace Doherty as the NW representative on the Cricket Ireland Board, while confirming Peter Dineen as the Munster delegate following the sad death last year of Leo Durity.
In other news from the AGM, Cricket Ireland announced a financial profit of €117,300 following a successful season both on and off the field, with highlights including winning the three main Associate tournaments, and successfully hosting sell-out fixtures against both Pakistan and England.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom also announced that RSA will be ending their sponsorship at the end of 2014 after a seven-year partnership: "I'd like to thank RSA for their terrific support over the last seven years.
"Their involvement was a primary factor in helping us finance our player contract structure which has been so successful and has directly impacted upon the growth of cricket in Ireland.
"Equally, RSA’s early notification of their intentions has given us the maximum time to seek a replacement shirt sponsor in a year in which we are playing in the World Cup, hosting England and hosting the ICC World T20 qualifier.
"On the field, our male and female players of all ages continue to do us proud, while another significant growth in participation numbers year-on-year is a powerful testament to the extraordinary growth of the game in Ireland, not to mention the tireless work of our magnificent volunteers and development staff.”