AIB has begun the promotional build-up to the GAA club championship Finals which will take place under their banner for the 28th season on St Patrick’s Day at Croke Park.
First up on March 17th is the hurling final, where six-time winners Ballyhale Shamrocks, represented at a launch event yesterday by Joey Holden, will face off against St. Thomas’ of Galway, represented by Conor Cooney.
Galway can take pride in the fact that it is the first time since 2006 that two clubs from one county are playing in the club finals, with defending champions Corofin, represented by Martin Farragher, making their third appearance in five years against 2017 winners, Dr Crokes of Killarney.
13 years ago it was two Galway clubs who previously achieved that feat with Salthill Knocknacarra in football and Portumna in hurling, both emerging victorious.
Dr Crokes will be hoping to make it a clean sweep of AIB All-Ireland Club titles for Kerry in 2019, with fellow Kingdom clubs Beaufort and Kilcummin having already claimed Junior and Intermediate honours respectively.
AIB Manager Stephen Rochford holds the privileged position of being both a former All-Ireland club winning manager, with Corofin in 2015, and player, with Crossmolina Deel Rovers 14 years before that. He was also in attendance at Croke Park yesterday to launch this year’s AIB GAA Club Players Awards.
In their second year, the awards will see the top 15 Club footballers and hurlers honoured at a gala dinner that will take place in Croke Park on Friday, April 6th.
“AIB is thrilled to announce the AIB GAA Club Player Awards for the second year in a row,” said Denis O’Callaghan AIB’s head of distribution.
“We have been supporting the All-Ireland Club Championships for 28 years and we are honoured to properly acknowledge the hard work, sacrifice and dedication that these players put into this competition.”
“On behalf of AIB, I would like to thank not only the players but the clubs, communities and fans who have shown unwavering support throughout the season.”
Image Credit: Stephen McCarthy, Sportsfile