Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Michael Ring have announced Sports Council backing for a number of Gathering sporting events including the European Athletics Championships, an American Football tournament and a face-off between the Ireland and England cricket teams.
The Irish Sports Council has allocated grants totalling €181,000 to sailing, cricket, athletics, badminton, American Football and bowling to host events in 2013 that will bring visitors to the country.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: ‘Sport events are a key part of the Gathering Ireland. Sports clubs, teams and organisations throughout Ireland have really embraced the year-long celebrations. This new programme of events complements the calendar of Irish sporting events already organised and gives us a great opportunity to showcase Ireland to new audiences.”
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring said: “All of these events promise to be great fun in their own right, and I want to thank the sporting organisations for organising them. The number of Gatherings is still growing, and there’s plenty of time to organise a celebration of your own, if you haven’t done so already. Every club, parish and community has a role to play in the Gathering.”
Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council said: “Irish sport is delighted to make its contribution to the Gathering. Sport makes a contribution to tourism every year through golf, outdoor recreation and many major events and our sports people have done so much to enhance the country’s reputation in recent years. We were delighted with the response to our programme for the Gathering and with the quality of the events that will be supported”.
The Irish Sports Council allocated €181,000 for investment in the Gathering 2013 and invited submissions for sports bodies. Submissions were received from 15 sports bodies and seven were events selected to be part of the Gathering.
These events are in addition to the initiatives already undertaken by sporting organisations throughout the country and include:
European Team Championships (Athletics)
Athletics Ireland will host The European Team Championships 1st League in Santry Stadium on the 22nd and 23rd June. Over 1,000 are expected to attend to see Irish athletes compete with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland. This prestigious meeting will be the most significant international team track and field event ever to be held in Ireland.
RSA Challenge One-Day Cricket international (Cricket)
The RSA Challenge One-Day Cricket international between Ireland and England will take place on September 3rd in Malahide Cricket Club, Dublin. As part of the Gathering Ireland 2013, Cricket Ireland will be creating a Barmy Army Section for English Cricket Fans and has tailored a special offer for these and Irish abroad for 2 nights in Bewleys, Ballsbridge, match ticket, airport , priced at £159. Up to 12,000 people are expected to attend the game with as many as 3000 travelling from the UK. Cricket Ireland have been promoting their Gathering through advertising, social media channels as well as through their counterparts in the English Cricket Board and through Irish players playing for English County Teams. The Blarney Army meets the Barmy Army: The Gathering will be celebrated in a very special cricket game on the eve of the RSA Challenge when a team of Irish fans will take on the visiting English fans.
The American Games (American Football)
The American Games will take place in Tallaght Stadium, over the weekend of 1st September. It is envisaged that four North American teams – from college / high school ranks, will play a double header of two competitive scheduled league games in Tallaght Stadium. These will be competitive scheduled league games which will count towards the teams’ league standings in their US conferences. South Dublin County Council and South Dublin Tourism Limited will be heavily promoting these games in Ireland and the United States. Organisers expect up to 1000 people to travel from the USA for at least one week with many more expected to travel from the UK and Europe for the weekend’s events. It is expected this event will attract in the region of 1,200 overseas visitors to Ireland, most of whom will stay for 4 days.
IFDS World Championship (Sailing)
The IFDS World Championship from 20th-30th August will bring sailors with disabilities together in Kinsale, Co. Cork for 10 days from all corners of the world. Up to 150 competitors are expected to attend this event along with coaching staff, support teams and families and friends. Competitors will travel from more than 20 countries and all continents. These include USA, Canada, Brazil, UK, Czech Republic, Russia, France, etc. John Twomey, Irish Paralympian sailor and current IFDS President has been promoting the event overseas and in his hometown.
European and World Laser Championships (Sailing)
With Annalise Murphy achieving 4th at London 2012 and Ireland’s Academy sailors finishing 1st, 2nd, 4th & 8th at the Europa Cup in Italy in March of this year, the profile of Irish laser sailing has never been higher. Following the IFDS World Championship, the European and World Laser Championships will be held in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin from 30th August to 6th September. This event invites not just competitors but their families and friends also to “come for the event, stay for the Gathering!”
Bowls Council Championships and Centenary International Series (Bowling)
In this year of the Gathering, Ireland plays host to the Bowls Council Championships and Centenary International Series from 26th to 30th June at Crumlin Bowling Club and St James’ Gate Bowling Club. Dublin has hosted the event just twice before, 1952 being the last time. A series of championship matches involving Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England along with Jersey and Guernsey will take place from the Wednesday 26th June to Friday 28th June while the Internationals take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June. Along with competitors and officials, over 500 supporters from all 6 participating countries are expected to attend this special Gathering.
2013 Badminton Irish Open (Badminton)
The 2013 Badminton Irish Open takes place in Baldoyle Badminton Centre from 4th-7th December. The Irish Open is part of the World and European Circuit where players can earn essential World Ranking and European Circuit Ranking Points. The Irish Open has a rich history in World badminton, with Ireland being one of the founding members of the World Badminton Federation. The event has been run uninterrupted since 1902, making it one of the oldest and most prestigious Badminton events in the world. This year’s event invites families and friends of competitors to join the festivities. Up to 300 are expected to attend from the UK, Europe and Asia.