County Limerick GAA club Na Piarsaigh has been crowned the Etihad Airways Raise The Bar winners. The title was awarded by Etihad Airways, sponsor of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship, to the club who showed a crucial role both on the pitch and in their community. The ultimate prize is a year’s sponsorship package with the Abu Dhabi-based airline.
Na Piarsaigh came out top over rivals Blackrock from Cork, St Judes from Dublin, and Kilanerin from Wexford, after a public vote on www.etihadgaa.ie and votes from the judging panel. The panel was made up of Tipperary’s legendary Nicky English, the ‘Voice of the GAA’ Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, and The Sunday Game’s Des Cahill.
The Na Piarsaigh Club winners receive a once in a lifetime prize for Etihad Airways Raise The Bar:
- €10,000 cash sponsorship fund
- New branded playing and training kit
- Mentoring, coaching and social visits from key figures inside and outside hurling
- Regular fundraising prizes such as Etihad Airways flights and Hurling All Ireland Final tickets
Dave Walsh, Etihad Airways General Manager Ireland, said: “I would like to congratulate Na Piarsaigh for being awarded Etihad Airways Raise The Bar Winners. Their achievement, dedication and community spirit is exceptional and is a superb model to all other GAA clubs throughout Ireland. I hope the club will thoroughly enjoy their well deserved sponsorship package and continue to Raise The Bar both on the pitch and within their community.”
Na Piarsaigh showed that achievement comes in many forms, not just silverware. This gave them the edge and saw them beat off the other clubs in a tight final.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Liam Ó Neill said: “Congratulations to Na Piarsaigh Limerick on this wonderful achievement and I have no doubt the winning prize will be of great benefit and support to the club. The Etihad Airways Raise the Bar competition grabbed the interest and imagination of all our clubs and brought a fresh innovative approach to the promotion of the unique game that is hurling.”
Na Piarsaigh GAA club was founded in 1968 but 2012 saw the club rising above and beyond anything they had ever achieved before. Last year they secured county hurling titles in all codes including u12, u14, u16, minor, u21 and senior level. This was the first year they were also crowned county senior hurling champions. It didn’t stop there: they went on to win the Munster club championship and were only pipped to the post in the All Ireland semi-final in extra time.
Na Piarsaigh caters for a number of schools surrounding the Limerick City area including Caherdavin BNS and JFK and has also played a huge part in the success Ardscoil Ris has achieved in the Harty Cup over the last number of years. Na Piarsaigh never hesitates in offering its facilities to any of these schools for either training games or matches.
The club nurtures young talent and has shown their dedication and commitment to the junior hurling stars in Limerick. Every Saturday morning, 100 children aged from 4 years old come to learn and improve their hurling skills. The club encourages participation and places an emphasis on having fun and developing social skills at this important age. The community benefits hugely from this integration as the players and their families get behind the teams to show their support and pride.
The Etihad Airways sponsorship fund of Na Piarsaigh GAA club will go towards a state of the art all-weather playing surface with floodlighting for members, players, family, friends and whoever may have the privilege in using them to enjoy for years to come.
Etihad Airways has a rich history in innovative hurling competitions and ‘Raise The Bar’ follows the successful ‘Best Club Under the Sun’ competition, which last year was won by Clarinbridge GAA Club in Co Galway.