Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill formally launched the 2014 Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Championships at an event in Croke Park last evening, at which new trophies for the competitions were unveiled.
This season will be historic, as for the first time, all nine All-Ireland Championships are integrated as Post Primary Schools competitions. Integrated provincial competitions have been underway since late September with the victorious schools progressing to the All-Ireland Semi-Finals which will commence on this coming Saturday March 8th.
Previously, Vocational Schools and Colleges have competed separately but this coming together of two sectors with such great traditions will lead to an increased profile for Gaelic Games in the Post Primary sector and will mirror structures within education and the Association.
The nine antique silver trophies were sourced for the integrated competitions, with the famous Hogan and Croke Cup titles retained for the Post Primary Senior ‘A’ Championships in football and hurling respectively. Representatives of both the Colleges and Vocational sectors are remembered in the dedication of the other seven Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Championships which recognise the contributions made by students, teachers and educationalists down through the years.
Among those honoured include GAA founder Michael Cusack, Tyrone Minor footballer Paul McGirr, and Galway hurler Niall McInerney.
An official GAA licensee since 2009, Masita came on board as sponsors for the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Championships in 2012/13. Masita Ireland is a family run,100% Irish business based in Kells, Co.Meath and has been involved as a supplier of equipment, clothing and kit to over 250 Post Primary Schools across all four provinces since 1999.
The partnership has led to an increased profile for the competitions and has also funded initiatives such as PPGAATV which provided highlights of a number of All-Ireland fixtures last year.
Uachtarán CLG Liam Ó Néill said: “I’m delighted to launch a new era for the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Championships. All schools and pupils in the Post Primary schools sector are now recognised on an equal footing. The new trophies are worthy of these All-Ireland competitions, which I have no doubt will produce great games at all levels over the next month.”
“The integration of these competitions at national and provincial level is a hugely positive step in the continued promotion and development of our national games in second level schools.”
“I would like to thank Des Smith and Masita for their continued support which has added further to the profile of Gaelic Games in Post Primary Schools”.
Des Smith of Masita Ireland said: “As an Irish family-run business, everyone at Masita Ireland is delighted to continue our sponsorship of the GAA All Ireland Post Primary Schools Competitions for this exciting new era of competitions. “
“We have always been aware of the commitment and passion that pupils, teachers, mentors and parents have for these great competitions but with being directly involved last year brought this to a new level. We witnessed some epic encounters at all grades throughout the All-Ireland Series”.
“We hope this extension will continue to increase the awareness of our products to more Post Primary schools and would like to wish the very best of luck to all sides throughout the country currently striving to challenge for these trophies which are a fitting tribute to the history of the Post Primary schools sector.”
The Masita GAA All-Ireland Post-Primary ‘A’ and ‘B’ finals in both codes will be broadcast live on TG4 on Saturday April 5th (Hurling) and Saturday April 12th (Football)
Video by Jerome Quinn.