Lucrative new sponsorship deal sees Déise call answered

A lucrative new sponsorship deal between the mobile phone company 3 Ireland and the Waterford County GAA Board was officially signed off yesterday and will embrace all of the Déise teams in both hurling and football over the next two seasons.

The deal brings to an end a highly successful partnership between the county board and the dairy food giant Glanbia who have been the sponsors of the Waterford teams in all of the hurling grades for the past 12 years.

The Ballyragget based company will however take over the sponsorship of the domestic senior, intermediate, junior, and minor hurling championships in the county.

The chief executive officer of the new sponsoring company, Waterford born Robert Finnegan, said 3 Ireland are more than happy to be coming on board at such a potentially exciting time for Waterford hurling.

“Over the past decade the county’s senior hurlers have brought so much to the game and have thrilled followers the length and breadth of the land with their exciting performances,” said Mr Finnegan. “It would be my hope that during our sponsorship term that the hitherto elusive All-Ireland SHC title will be won.”.

Waterford County Board secretary Timmy O’Keeffe said the clinching of the deal with 3 Ireland makes it a very exciting time for the Association in Waterford and hopefully will also mark a new beginning.

“To attract a new sponsor at a time of such economic difficulties is a major boost for the county board and for all of the Waterford teams,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

The specific details of the new sponsorship arrangement have not been disclosed, by either side, but it’s believed that over the two-year period the total amount involved will be substantial.

Meanwhile Kildare’s new county board chairman, Pádraig Ashe has dismissed proclamations from the GAA hierarchy regarding the importance of solving the club fixtures problem as “soundbytes”.

As he has promised to make Croke Park and Leinster Council officials very aware of the county’s dissatisfaction with the current inter-county championship structure, and is calling on the abolition of the back door system.

The Straffan clubman was the sole candidate to replace Syl Merrins, whose five-year term had come to a conclusion, and he made it clear that he would waste little time in ensuring that GAA chiefs would be made aware of his views.

The outgoing vice-chairman has been in charge of domestic fixtures in recent years and as a result, has first-hand evidence of the effect the inter-county championships have on the clubs.

“There have been a lot of soundbytes from Croke Park and Leinster Council on club fixtures,” said Ashe. “Change to the inter-county championship structure must happen to give greater time for club games to be played.

“The inter-county season is too protracted and the back door system needs to end. I will show that Kildare are no longer happy at club level with the system.”

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