The newly structured EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Championship was officially launched today in Croke Park. In attendance to assist with the launch of this exciting new competition was Mayo GAA’s Ryan O’Donoghue, Tyrone GAA’s captain Conor Shields, Monaghan GAA’s Fergal Hanratty and Cork GAA’s Liam O’Donovan. Former GAA Tyrone footballer, Conor Gormley, was also in attendance.
EirGrid, the state-owned company that manages and develops Ireland's electricity grid, have partnered with the GAA since 2015 as sponsors of the U21 football competition. With the competition evolving to Under 20 grade in 2018, this year looks set to be an extremely exciting year for all involved.
This revised competition allows young players to develop their skills at a the top level and prepare for their careers at senior level. Very much like the grid that EirGrid develops and manages, this competition gives talented young players the foundation required to build a very successful sporting career. That is a fundamental reason EirGrid partner with the GAA and this competition.
Fans will be excited to hear that the first throw-in of the 2018 Championship is in Ulster on 26 May, with Donegal and Cavan kicking off the competition. Proceedings in Leinster start shortly after with the first games between Longford and Dublin, Westmeath and Wexford, Kildare and Laois and Wicklow and Louth taking place on 28 May. The Connacht championship commences on 2 June, with Roscommon and Sligo coming face to face for the first time this year. Limerick and Kerry kickstart the Munster campaign when they play on 15 June.
Speaking on behalf of the GAA, John Horan, Uachtarán CLG said: “2018 is certainly a year of change in the GAA, not least with the alterations to our competition structures. The U20 competition that we are here today to promote certainly falls into that category.
“The merits of this championship are well documented, offering as it does an outlet before the senior ranks for players to mature and develop against players of their own age.
“I look forward to the new slot the competition now occupies and I would like to acknowledge our partnership with EirGrid and Rosemary Steen, Director of External Affairs, for her ongoing support not only of this competition but of the GAA in general.
“Best of luck to all of our competing players and to everyone else involved.”
EirGrid Director of External Affairs, Rosemary Steen commented;
“We at EirGird are excited to be in Croke Park, the home of the GAA to officially launch the EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Championship.
“We are very proud of the three core partnerships we have created with the GAA to date; we have been sponsors of the U21 football championship since 2015, we became the GAA’s first official timing partner in 2016 and we were the lead sponsor for the 2017 Irish International Rules team. Today is an exciting day as we officially launch a brand-new competition at U20’s level.
“While the sponsorships we hold are quite different, the crucial element is that communities benefit through our partnership with the GAA and we witnessed an example of this last year when we gifted four GAA clubs with a digital clock and scoreboard as part of our Moments in Time campaign. We will look to do that again this year and look forward to revealing the details later in the summer.
“EirGrid recently launched a new corporate social responsibility strategy and our partnership with the GAA supports this strategy, which focuses on developing positive relationships with communities, community groups and stakeholders.
“A wholehearted thank you to everyone who took the time to be with us today and a particular mention to the players of this new competition. We wish them the very best of luck in their respective campaigns.”