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GAA Football Championship Announces Start in London

Tourism and Sport Minister Brendan Griffin joined Connacht GAA and Tourism Ireland at the Embassy of Ireland in London to announce the start of the 2019 GAA Football Championship.

This year’s football championship kicked off on Sunday (May 5), with the meeting of London and Galway at McGovern Park, Ruislip, before New York hosts Mayo at Gaelic Park in the Big Apple. The two games herald the start of an eagerly awaited competition that will involve at least 68 games – barring replays – before the All-Ireland champions are crowned at Croke Park on Sunday, September 1. The early stages of the competition will see the four provincial championships unfold before the two quarter-finals groups are confirmed and the All-Ireland series takes centre stage.

The event in London was organised with the co-operation of the Ambassador to the UK, Mr Adrian O’Neill. It’s part of activity to showcase football and hurling as attractions for overseas visitors to Ireland, as well as to raise the profile of the games in Britain.

Our unique Gaelic Games have become an increasingly important element of the tourism offering in recent years and they are represented prominently in Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity – in Britain and elsewhere around the world. Tourism Ireland invited top British travel and sports journalists and influencers to attend the event in the Embassy of Ireland. The marketing body will also invite the journalists to come and visit Ireland this summer and to include a GAA match in their itinerary.

Brendan Griffin TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, said in a statement: I’m very aware of the many tourism benefits that sporting events bring to all parts of Ireland. One of the unique identifiers for Ireland, that gives us real stand-out in a very congested global tourism market, is our Gaelic Games. They help attract both international and domestic participants and spectators, with economic benefits for local tourism businesses. Sporting and cultural events have contributed significantly to the success of Irish tourism.”

“The Tourism Action Plan 2019 – 2021, which Minister Ross and I launched last December, commits to ensuring that the appropriate structures and supports are in place to attract sporting and cultural events, which generate additional overseas tourism revenue and contribute to the promotion of Ireland. I hope the 2019 Football Championship will be a memorable one and I wish all participating counties the best of luck, including New York and London who are hosting games this coming weekend.”

Siobhan McManamy, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets, added: “We are delighted to partner with the GAA, to announce the start of this year’s Gaelic Football championship in London. Gaelic Games offer our overseas visitors an insight into something that is unique to Ireland and an opportunity to enjoy a truly authentic Irish experience. In our promotions, we’re encouraging British visitors to come and sample an integral part of our culture – by attending a Gaelic football or hurling match. We’re reminding them that it’s a really great thing to do on their Irish holiday – providing a fun, unique and memorable experience.”

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