Aer Lingus Hurling FestivalThe final brand to come under the spotlight in our series looking at the ways in which each of the three principal sponsors of the 2013 All Ireland Hurling Championship have activated their association with what has been a wonderful summer for the sport is Etihad Airways.

Centra and Hurling in 2013

Liberty Insurance and Hurling in 2013

2013 has been a year of deepening association between Etihad Airways and the GAA.  With the Gathering a major focus of Government and sporting body focus over the twelve months it was natural that there would be an involvement and the main addition to the sponsorship this year will be the International Festival of Hurling to take place in Galway later in September.

Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus are sharing top billing as sponsors of the event which will bring teams into the West to compete against each other in what will effectively become like a World club Championship within the sport.

It is a natural fit for an airline to become involved with much of the support being in the shape of benefit in kind tickets that would otherwise make it a challenge too far for clubs to take part.

Clubs hav been at the heart of Etihad’s involvement again on the domestic front with the ‘Raise the Bar’ challenge again takeing up a central position in their activation of the sponsorship.

Hurling clubs have been preparing video submissions as to why they should be considered for the E10,000 worth of sponsorship that was won last year by Na Piarsaigh of Limerick.

Entries remain open until September 30th after which a shortlist of four clubs will be chosen by former Tipperary manager Nicky English, RTE Sport’s Des Cahill and Micheal O’Muircheartaigh.  This will then be posted on the Etihad GAA website where a social media vote will help to determine the ultimate winner.

The prize includes tickets to use in fundraising, training and playing kit with Etihad Airways branding, a club quiz night compered by O’Muircheartaigh and many more elements that would make up to a fabulous year for the winning club.

Etihad’s sponsorship of the Skyline Tour across the roof of Croke Park is also into it’s second year and is another neat fit with the tourism trade upon which the 10 times weekly service between Dublin and Abu Dhabi is based.

A major benefit of having such an international supporter on board is the promotion of hurling on an international stage.  From in flight features to the association with other sporting partnerships such as Manchester City in the English Premier League, the Etihad relationship puts the unique sport of hurling in front of a wider international audience than would otherwise be the case and helps in pushing the international aspirations of the GAA.

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Sports Tourism Seminar at Croke Park (September 19th)
Sport for Business 20/20 at Ulster Bank HQ (October 8th)
The Business of Youth Sport Seminar (November 28th)