Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national airline, has announced today that it will continue its award winning sponsorship of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship.
Having launched its services in Ireland in July 2007, Etihad first announced its sponsorship of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship in March of 2008. Etihad’s marketing activity in the first year of its sponsorship of the Championship was awarded the European Sponsorship of the Year in the Business to Consumer category by the ESA*.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “Etihad Airways has developed a strong affinity with Ireland since launching flights four years ago, with Dublin quickly establishing itself as one of our most popular routes. We are very proud of our partnership with the GAA and we have worked with them from the senior championship through to grassroots hurling. I am delighted that we are continuing this partnership which has worked so well for both parties.”
Etihad’s relationship with hurling has gone from strength to strength since 2007. Along with the sponsorship of the Hurling Championship, Etihad has played host to the M.Donnelly Inter-Provincial Hurling Championship Final between Leinster and Connacht which took place in Abu Dhabi in 2009.
Highlights of Etihad’s sponsorship initiatives of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship include the innovative “Best Club Under the Sun” and the “Home for Hurling” competition.
The “Best Club Under the Sun” search took place on www.etihadgaa.ie and was based around how GAA clubs give back to their local community. The clubs nominated themselves on the website, four were then shortlisted and the general public were asked to vote for the club they felt deserved the title of “Best Club Under the Sun”. 2008 saw Portumna from Galway win the title. In 2009 Lucan Sarsfields came out top and 2010’s winners Clonlara from County Clare have just returned from the training camp of a lifetime, spending a number of days in Abu Dhabi with hurling legend Nicky English putting them through their paces.
The “Home for Hurling” competition has asked members of the public to nominate friends or family members living aboard for the chance to be flown back to Ireland to watch a Hurling Championship game. The competition was run in conjunction with RTE’s Sunday Game and brought people back for matches from all corners of the world.
Speaking about the sponsorship, Christie Cooney, President of the GAA, said: “I am hugely enthused by the prospect of another exciting GAA Hurling Championship and excited about seeing more hurling of the quality that we have been treated to in recent years.
“I thank Etihad Airways for their support of the championship and everything that they do to help raise the profile of the competition. I look forward to their ongoing support ahead of what promises to be a superb summer of action.”