Etihad Airways flight attendant Natalie Morton, from Gold Coast, Australia, with the Liam MacCarthy Cup
The GAA is flying high after Middle East airline Etihad agreed to sponsor senior hurling for the next five years in a deal thought to be worth about €5m to the association.
The Abu Dhabi airline has also secured exclusive naming rights to Croke Park‘s new Skyline rooftop attraction that’s due to open in June.
Visitors will get a bird’s eye view of the capital — from 17 storeys up. They’ll be able to perch themselves on five viewing platforms constructed on top of three of the stadium’s iconic stands. Croke Park is the fourth largest stadium in Europe, with capacity for 82,300 spectators.
Etihad boss James Hogan was in Dublin yesterday to announce the GAA sponsorship deal.
The Australian, whose ancestors hail from Tipperary, described hurling as “one of the world’s most remarkable sports”.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Hogan said the deal with the GAA was about “putting something back into the community”.
He said he was aware how important the GAA was at a local level in Ireland.
Etihad already brings one Irish club every year to Australiaunder its “Best Club Under the Sun” competition. The club receives coaching and plays a challenge match at Melbourne‘s Etihad Stadium before the first test of the Ireland-Australia international rules series.
Last year, Clarinbridge in Co Galway won the Etihad competition.
GAA president Criostoir O Cuana said the association was “delighted” with Etihad’s renewed sponsorship commitment. He said Etihad brought a “fresh approach” to the promotion of the game.
Etihad has also expressed an interest in buying the Government’s 25pc stake in Aer Lingus. Mr Hogan said that the airline remains interested in looking at the airline if and when the Government formally puts the stake up for sale.
– John Mulligan- Irish Independent