O'Neill's have been revealed as the new sponsors of the Derry Senior Club Football Championship ahead of Tuesday night's draw.
The announcement comes in a special year for the local firm who are celebrating 100 years of trading and manufacturing since being founded in 1918 in Capel Street, Dublin, as the city rose from the ashes of 1916. Since then, O'Neill's has grown to become one of Ireland's top sportswear companies, now employing over 800 nationally.
"O'Neill's have a long and proud history of partnership with our club and county teams, as well as supporters of our competitions and of local charities. They have a long time association with our minor football championship and we are delighted to now welcome them on board as sponsors of our flagship adult football competition," said Derry GAA county chairman, Brian Smith.
With the winners of the John McLaughlin Cup going on to claim provincial glory four times in the last five years (Ballinderry 2013, Slaughtneil 2014, 2016, 2017), the Derry senior football championship has been recognised as one of Ireland's premier club competitions. Five Derry clubs have qualified for the All-Ireland club senior final since the national competition began in 1970-71.
Kieran Kennedy, Managing Director, O’Neills International Sportswear Company Ltd said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Derry Senior football championship. We have a strong presence in the county with our store in Magherafelt and with the new store opening in Derry City in July we will create another 40 full and part time jobs. We are proud to be one of the largest employers in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area with over 600 people in Strabane, and over 800 throughout Ireland. I would like to sincerely thank Derry GAA and the clubs in the county for their support. In real terms it means we are creating valuable employment for local people.”
The 2018 Derry club championships in football and hurling will also see the introduction of a season ticket, which will go on sale next month priced at £80.
Brian Smith explained the thinking behind the announcement, saying:
"We are always conscious of providing value for money for our supporters and having consulted widely with our clubs, we have decided to introduce the concept which rewards regular attendance at our championship games. The ticket permits access to all adult club championship games in hurling and football and provides significant savings on a per game basis.”