Electric Ireland and the GAA have reached agreement on a five year extension to their involvement as main partner of the All Ireland Minor Hurling and Football Championships.
The deal doubles the original partnership signed in 2012 and will be deepened from this season by the addition of a new Minor Stars Awards echoing the All Star concept of honouring the best player in each position across both codes.
The Awards will be decided by a four man selection consisting of former Cork hurler and current Clare hurling selector, Donal Óg Cusack; former Armagh All Star footballer, Oisín McConville; former Galway hurler and All Ireland Club hurling Championship winning manager, Mattie Kenny and Meath Senior football manager Andy McEntee.
Kenny spoke yesterday of the importance of bringing young players through into the senior games. Cuala had seven players only two years out of Minor on their match day panel at Croke Park when winning the All Ireland on St Patrick’s Day.
“It’s more challenging in an urban environment where the club has to compete with so many other distractions for the attention of players and where the generational bond to a club may not be so deep but that is changing and it’s important to build it from Minor to Senior.”
The awards will also incorporate a public vote through Electric Ireland’s social media channels. A presentation ceremony will be held after the All Ireland Minor Hurling and Football Championship Finals have been played with the best performer in each position honoured with a selection on the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Hurling and Football Teams of the Year.
The extension of the partnership will make for an interesting management of assets on All Ireland Hurling Final Day when Electric Ireland and Bord Gais Energy will both be involved as main partners of the two games.
In a world of Digital and LED advertising that will be easier than in previous years when Guinness sponsorship of the Hurling Final could not be advertised during the Minor game as a result of a voluntary code of sponsorship and advertising best practice.
“Electric Ireland are delighted to announce that we are extending our sponsorship of the GAA All Ireland Minor Championships for a further 5 years up to 2021,” said Electric Ireland General manager Paul Stapleton.
“We will continue to tell the stories of these exceptionally talented young hurlers and footballers and we will help to recognise their supreme effort through initiatives like the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards.”
“These annual awards are a big part of every sport and it is only fitting that the Minor stars are given the opportunity to shine on what is a major moment in their young sporting lives.”
“The Electric Ireland GAA Football and Hurling All-Ireland Minor Championships offer a glimpse into the rich future that is to come for our Association.,” added GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail.
“The annals of the GAA are filled with examples of legendary players who set out as Minors, paving their way to becoming superstar senior athletes.”
“For many, the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Championships also carry a purity and a freedom of expression that make them a delight.”
“We are excited to continue to cement the bonds of friendship and partnership with Electric Ireland, and between us, we look forward to working to help showcase these magnificent young ambassadors and shining stars for the GAA.”
Having been sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland Minor Championships since 2012, Electric Ireland has committed to continuing the partnership until 2021. Throughout the course of the partnership, Electric Ireland has been re-defining what it means to be a Minor in GAA with the This Is Major campaign, designed to empower young players, ensuring they feel driven to compete, improve and to strive for more in their sporting lives.