The 2015 Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland Championship was officially launched at an event in the spectacular surroundings of Glendalough in County Wicklow today.
The competition gets underway on May 27th when three quarter finals in the Leinster championship are played.
Sponsors Bord Gáis Energy announced a number of new initiatives at today’s launch and unveiled its new line up of ambassadors for the 2015 championship. Following in the footsteps of previous ambassadors such as Liam Rushe, Richie Hogan and Joe Canning are: Shane O’Donnell (Clare), Anthony Spillane (Cork), Mikey Breen (Tipperary), Jason Flynn (Galway), Conor McDonald (Wexford), Cian Lynch (Limerick), Colin Dunford (Waterford), Conor Martin (Kilkenny), and Cian O’Callaghan (Dublin). This is Cian O’Callaghan’s second year to represent the Dubs on the list. Ryan McCambridge was the Antrim representative at today’s launch.
To bring fans closer to the Championship, the ambassadors will post videos and write blogs right throughout the season. These can be viewed on the BGEU21.ie website, along with information about the ambassadors and the games.
Bord Gáis Energy’s campaign for the 2015 championship will celebrate the role that family plays in the lives’ of young players. Whether it is driving them to training or consoling them after a tough loss, families provide a crucial support network. Bord Gáis Energy recognises this support having seen it first hand over the last seven years. Ambassadors were accompanied by relatives at today’s launch. Family members will be provided with match tickets during the season and can get involved in match day activities.
One of the campaign hashtags for the 2015 championship, #NoPressure, is very much linked to family. As well as offering support, families keep players grounded and never let them get too far ahead of themselves. When a big brother says ‘No Pressure’ you know he means the exact opposite in a good natured way! Fans can keep an eye out for #NoPressure on social media and on match days.
TG4 will broadcast eleven games over the course of the 2015 Championship and fans will once again be able to nominate their Man of the Match via Twitter using the #LaochBGE hashtag during the live match broadcasts.
Speaking ahead of the launch Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Aogán Ó Fearghail said: “It’s an exciting time of the year for outstanding young hurlers across the island and I am looking forward to this year’s Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U21 All-Ireland Championship.
“Once again we can expect some great games at this level and you only have to go back to last season’s championship to see how high the standard is.
"The games between Clare and Tipperary in the Munster championship, Wexford and Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final and Clare and Wexford in the All-Ireland final to mention but three were stand-out matches but there was high quality fare throughout.
“If it’s even half as good in 2015, we’re in for another very exciting season of U21 hurling”.
Chief Operating Officer at Bord Gáis Energy, Dave Kirwan commented; “Everyone at Bord Gáis Energy is very proud of our sponsorship of this championship and is equally proud of how the championship has developed over the last seven seasons. Each year we try and approach the championship with fresh, new ideas and this season is no exception.
“For 2015, there will be a special focus on the support of the family and fans at match venues can look forward to the Bord Gáis Energy ‘No Pressure’ Cross Bar Challenge. Supporters can expect more high quality video content from our ambassadors and will also have the opportunity to challenge the ambassadors themselves.
“But central to this Championship are the players and I wish all our ambassadors and their teams the very best in the coming months. I can promise everyone at Bord Gáis Energy will help as much as possible to allow them perform to the very best of their ability”.
Ger Cunningham, Sports Ambassador at Bord Gáis Energy added, “It’s like the beginning of a new era in the U-21 Championship and one no doubt that will keep supporters on the edges of their seats throughout the summer. Clare are the 3-in-a-row champions but with a new management structure now in place, and having lost a number of key figures from the panel they know they’ll have it all to do to retain the Cross of Cashel trophy.
“There are plenty of potential heirs to their throne with last year’s beaten finalists Wexford sure to play a major part again in 2015. However they are only one of a number of teams with realistic hopes of winning provincial and All-Ireland titles.
“It all gets underway on May 27th in Leinster and it will be a long, hard road before we know who will make it through to the Bord Gáis Energy GAA hurling U21 All-Ireland final on September 12th”.