The Irish Sports Council has allocated grants totalling €181,000 to seven sporting events as part of support for the Gathering during 2013. The events in sailing, cricket, athletics, badminton, American football and bowling were identified as offering great potential for bringing large numbers to the country.
“Sport events are a key part of the Gathering,” said Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar. “Sports clubs, teams and organisations throughout Ireland have really embraced the year-long celebrations. This new programme of events complements the calendar of Irish sporting events already organised and gives us a great opportunity to showcase Ireland to new audiences.”
The money allocated will be used to enhance the promotion of the events to overseas competitors and their teams and families, as well as to creating an environment that will encourage return visits.
The power of sport to encourage tourism is well established with golf a major driver already and last year’s visit of Notre Dame’s College Football team delivering the busiest week in Irish tourism for five years.
15 Sports Governing Bodies made a pitch for part of the funds but only six were chosen and are outlined below. Sailing was awarded two separate grants for World Championship events in Dun Laoghaire and Kinsale, the latter being for disabled sailors.
Six of the events take place in and around Dublin and one in Cork.
We are pleased to see that the bodies behind over half of the events are full members of the Sport for Business community.
“Irish sport is delighted to make its contribution to the Gathering,” said Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council. “Sport makes a contribution to tourism every year through golf, outdoor recreation and many major events and our sports people have done so much to enhance the country’s reputation in recent years. We were delighted with the response to our programme for the Gathering and with the quality of the events that will be supported”.
The events selected for the additional funding are:
- European Team Championships (Athletics)
Athletics Ireland will host The European Team Championships 1st League at Morton Stadium in Santry on the 22nd and 23rd June. Over 1,000 are expected to attend to see Irish athletes compete with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland. This prestigious meeting will be the most significant international team track and field event ever to be held in Ireland.
- RSA Challenge One-Day Cricket international (Cricket)
The RSA Challenge One-Day Cricket international between Ireland and England will take place on September 3rd in Malahide Cricket Club, Dublin. As part of the Gathering Ireland 2013, Cricket Ireland will be creating a ‘Barmy Army’ Section for English Cricket Fans and has tailored a special offer of 2 nights in Bewleys Hotel, Ballsbridge, match ticket and airport transfers priced at £159. Up to 12,000 people are expected to attend the game with as many as 3000 travelling from the UK. Cricket Ireland have been promoting their Gathering through advertising, social media channels as well as through their counterparts in the English Cricket Board and through Irish players playing for English County Teams. The Blarney Army meets the Barmy Army: The Gathering will be celebrated in a very special cricket game on the eve of the RSA Challenge when a team of Irish fans will take on the visiting English fans.
- The American Games (American Football)
The American Games will take place in Tallaght Stadium, over the weekend of 1st September. It is envisaged that four North American teams – from college / high school ranks, will play a double header of two competitive scheduled league games in Tallaght Stadium. These will be competitive scheduled league games which will count towards the teams’ league standings in their US conferences. South Dublin County Council and South Dublin Tourism Limited will be heavily promoting these games in Ireland and the United States. Organisers expect up to 1000 people to travel from the USA for at least one week with many more expected to travel from the UK and Europe for the weekend’s events. It is expected this event will attract in the region of 1,200 overseas visitors to Ireland, most of whom will stay for 4 days.
- IFDS World Championship (Sailing)
The IFDS World Championship from 20th-30th August will bring sailors with disabilities together in Kinsale, Co. Cork for 10 days from all corners of the world. Up to 150 competitors are expected to attend this event along with coaching staff, support teams and families and friends. Competitors will travel from more than 20 countries and all continents. These include USA, Canada, Brazil, UK, Czech Republic, Russia and France.
- European and World Laser Championships (Sailing)
With Annalise Murphy achieving 4th at London 2012 and Ireland’s Academy sailors finishing 1st, 2nd, 4th & 8th at the Europa Cup in Italy in March of this year, the profile of Irish laser sailing has never been higher. Following the IFDS World Championship, the European and World Laser Championships will be held in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin from 30th August to 6th September. This event invites not just competitors but their families and friends also to “come for the event, stay for the Gathering!”
- Bowls Council Championships and Centenary International Series (Bowling)
In this year of the Gathering, Ireland plays host to the Bowls Council Championships and Centenary International Series from 26th to 30th June at Crumlin Bowling Club and St James’ Gate Bowling Club. Dublin has hosted the event just twice before, 1952 being the last time. A series of championship matches involving Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England along with Jersey and Guernsey will take place from the Wednesday 26th June to Friday 28th June while the Internationals take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June. Along with competitors and officials, over 500 supporters from all 6 participating countries are expected to attend this special Gathering.
- 2013 Badminton Irish Open (Badminton)
The 2013 Badminton Irish Open takes place in Baldoyle Badminton Centre from 4th-7th December. The Irish Open is part of the World and European Circuit where players can earn essential World Ranking and European Circuit Ranking Points. The Irish Open has a rich history in World badminton, with Ireland being one of the founding members of the World Badminton Federation. The event has been run uninterrupted since 1902, making it one of the oldest and most prestigious Badminton events in the world. This year’s event invites families and friends of competitors to join the festivities. Up to 300 are expected to attend from the UK, Europe and Asia.
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