The Commercial Story of the 2018 SSE Airtricity League First Division – Part One

The SSE Airtricity League First Division is up and running and there are a number of positive developments for clubs off the pitch going into the campaign. New front of shirt sponsorships for Cabinteely FC, Cobh Ramblers, Finn Harps and Shelbourne indicate a willingness for brands to get involved.

A stronger grounding for the clubs is being achieved through the development of the U19, U17 and this season U15 Leagues.

We saw in our recent interview with SSE Airtricity Sponsorship manager Leanne Sheill that they will be mounting strong digital and in-ground activation across the season backed up by JGA Sports.

Having looked at the ten clubs in the Premier League last week to see what they have been doing we now turn our attention to the second flight.

Athlone Town

It was a season to forget last year for Athlone as off-field distractions including allegations of match-fixing were compounded by a strong i=og heavy defeats and finishing up at the foot of the table.

Hopefully, there will be more stability at the club this season. They are the oldest club in the country having been founded in 1887 and were original members of the League of Ireland, which they have finished as champions twice in the 1980’s.

They have retained Top Oil as their main sponsor and Nike as their kit partner.  There are secondary deals in place with Pat McDonnell paints, Mobile Motor Factor and Teamwear Ireland while their stadium is one of the most modern in the League having oped in 2007.


Cabinteely have found their feet in the First Division after a slow start in their first two years and their strength at Junior and Development level will likely see them moving in a positive direction again.

The main shirt sponsor for this season is Geoghegan Home Extensions while last year’s main partner the Dublin School of Grinds remains as part of an extended family of sponsors.

Windsor Motors are new to the fold this year as well while Friends First, the Royal Marine Hotel and Sherry Fitzgerald complete a strong level of local backing.

The concept of the club as part of the community, offering ‘football for all, from small to tall’ has a strong resonance and the club was a winner at last years Sport for Business Partners event where part of the prize was a session with sponsorship specialists Core Sponsorship.

Cobh Ramblers

Cobh Ramblers have new shirt front sponsors this season in the shape of the local five star Fota Island Resort.

“We are delighted to announce our new partnership with the Cobh Ramblers,” said Seamus Leahy, Director of Marketing at The Fota Collection.

“There are important similarities between the ethos of both Fota Island Resort and the Cobh Ramblers, with a strong focus on family and the community, a stand-out factor in both.”

“We’re delighted to come onboard as a sponsor of this successful team and the associated local community and the sponsorship is a natural fit.”

Cork’s Red FM are official media partners and appear on the back of the shirts while Breaking the Silence and the Irish Heart Foundation are both official charity partners for 2018.

Drogheda United

Scotch Hall Shopping Centre remains on board as the main club partner, also providing a unit for the club shop which increases visibility in such a prime location in the town.

There is also a partnership in place with Dundalk Institute of Technology and secondary partnerships with Integral Fitness and Leisure and Owen Fox Jewellers.

Finn Harps

The pride of Donegal added a new main partner this year when managed services provider KN Group came on board.

“KN are very pleased to add Donegal’s senior club to our sponsorship portfolio,” said CEO Donagh Kelly at the sponsorship announcement.

“Finn Harps have always been one of the big names in Irish football and we know there is a lot of hard work being done at all levels of the club.  We look forward to supporting the club over the next two years as they look to build an exciting future.”

In similar fashion to Cabinteely, they have retained previous sponsors on a new package as well with the McGettigan Group remaining on board.

Join us tomorrow when we will complete our look at the remaining five teams playing in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.


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