And so we lace up our boots and get ready to go again for another year in the business of sport.
2019 promises to be one in which Ireland shines on a world stage, in terms of performance and hosting.
The Open Championship will be one of the biggest sporting events ever to be hosted here when it lands at Royal Portrush on the North Antrim coast in July.
Just shy of 200,000 tickets for the four days of competition have already been sold and the event will set a new record for the tournament.
We are delighted to welcome Malcolm Booth from the R&A who run the event as a guest speaker at our Sporting Year Ahead event in Dublin on Friday morning, January 18th.
It will also be a major year for Irish Rugby with the World Cup looming in Japan in September and October.
Ireland has never progressed beyond the Quarter Finals but as the World ranked number two team and with a second win over New Zealand under the belt since November last, there are high hopes for a new benchmark.
First up though will be the Guinness Six Nations where we will defend the title and last year’s Grand Slam.
Padraig Power from the IRFU will be our second Keynote speaker at The Sporting Year Ahead, looking at these two key events on the rugby calendar.
In the GAA there will be a sense of history surrounding Dublin’s bid for an unprecedented five in a row senior football titles, while a repeat of last year’s high levels of competition and excitement in hurling is enough to sharpen anyone’s level of anticipation.
It will be a massive year for the FAI with qualification for next year’s Euro 2020 Finals, and the four games to be staged in Dublin, resting on the qualification tournament which will be run off between March and November.
Hockey’s Irish Women’s Team, the Team of the Year in 2018, will look to turn the excitement of last summer into more of the same when we host the Olympic Qualification tournament, most likely at UCD, in June, while the following month will see the men’s Cricket team play a historic first ever full test match against England at Lords.
In horse racing we will get to see the brand new Curragh Racecourse unveiled in the spring after a two-year redevelopment and in Athletics, there is so much promise to come from the exciting levels of success achieved on the track last year.
There will be major sponsorships signed and renewed, significant media partnerships brought to life and a world of other developments which we will bring to you as we have over the past six years through the Daily Sport for Business digest and our ever-larger roster of events.
The Sporting Year kicks us off in front of what will be a packed room in the Iveagh Garden Hotel on January 18th and we have major events already in the pipeline in education in March, in sponsorship away from the major sporting properties in April, in the area of Sport for Social Good in July and for our Annual Women in Sport Conference in November.
We will host six Members Round Table events through the year, the first being with our 30 Under 30 from 2018 taking place on February 14th, and we will also be staging a number of special events around the country for the first time this year as our membership expands to encompass ever more leaders in sport and business.
We hope you will enjoy the journey ahead over the next 12 months and wish you every success as you chase your personal and professional dreams throughout 2019.