Titanic launch for Championship
THE PLUSH surroundings of the blue riband Titanic Suite in the new Titanic Signature Project in Belfast, with that much talked about replica staircase, provided the most impressive of backdrops for the official launch of the 2012 Ulster Football Championships.
Of course, it was impossible to avoid at least a sprinkling of Titanic-related puns, but thankfully the use of words like ‘launch,’ ‘sunk’ and other such nautical terms were kept to a minimum as the real business of a summer of high-octane championship action draws ever closer.
Ulster GAA certainly pushed the boat out, no pun intended, in their efforts to kick-start the publicity of their schedule of games. The fact that eight of the nine Ulster senior county managers were in attendance, with Paddy O’Rourke the only exception, as well as at least one player from each participating county, proved that they really do mean business in their task of tackling a summer of competition from other sports head on.
Director-General Paraic Duffy represented Headquarters, but of course the Ard Stiúrthóir has a special affinity to the northern province as a Monaghan native.
He is steadfast in his belief that the Ulster football championship remains one of the jewels in the GAA crown, and that its ultra-competitive nature ensures that year on year it sets the benchmark for all others to follow.
“The provincial championships are hugely important in the GAA calendar, and we felt that at this time of year, that’s what we should allow all of the focus to be on. Of all the provincial championships, there is probably none more competitive than the Ulster Senior Football Championship.”