It’s thirsty work trying to win an All-Ireland so Dublin’s GAA teams should be in good shape this year having agreed a three-year sponsorship deal with Ballygowan Natural Mineral Water and Energise Sport, which are both owned by Britvic Ireland.

The two brands have elbowed Deep RiverRock out of the picture and will be officially unveiled next week as Dublin’s hydration partners for its men’s football and hurling teams at senior and U-21 grades. The value of the contract isn’t clear but it is understood to involve a six-figure sum each year.

The sponsorship comes just as the inter-county season begins to gather momentum with the start of the national leagues. Kevin Donnelly, country director for Britvic Ireland, described Dublin GAA as a “perfect partner” for both Ballygowan and Energise Sport. “Collaborating with Dublin GAA gives us a great platform to promote the benefits of healthy hydration for everyone. We are thrilled to get behind the boys in blue in 2015 and beyond.”

Tomás Quinn, commercial and marketing manager for Dublin GAA, said the county was “delighted to be working with two home-grown Irish brands that are experts in hydration and performance”.

Dublin hopes to build a “long-standing relationship with Britvic,” he said. This was a sentiment echoed by Donnelly. “Dublin is a big brand and we’d like to see the deal extend beyond the three years,” he said.

Ballygowan has been given a new lease of life in the past couple of years following Britvic’s decision to make it the only water brand in its portfolio, thereby opening up exports to the British market.

Ballygowan is currently shifting about 50 million litres a year and is the fastest growing part of Britvic’s family of brands. Energise, meanwhile, is the fastest growing sports drink here.

Donnelly said Sky’s coverage of the All-Ireland championships, which has brought the sport into millions of homes in Britain, made the Dublin deal even more appealing for the company. “It certainly helps. It gives us a broader audience and there are also a lot of Irish living in Britain.”

Ballygowan is sourced and produced in Newcastle West in Limerick. How will the locals feel about the company sponsoring Dublin rather than the Treaty county?

“There’s no issue there at all,” Donnelly said. “Ballygowan is a national brand.”(IrishTimes)


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