Etihad Airways, sponsors of the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship, hosted a special “Poc Fada”, Gaelic for “long shot”, competition at Croke Park yesterday, Wednesday 30 May.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline invited 14 hurlers, from the 14 championship counties, to take part in the Poc Fada. Each player was tasked with aiming the sliotar at destinations on a giant map of the Etihad network that was rolled out across the Croke Park pitch.
Local charities, nominated beforehand by each player, then received two return flight tickets to the destination that the sliotar landed on.
The Poc Fada was staged to celebrate the sponsorship launch of the Etihad Skyline at Croke Park Stadium. The new Etihad Skyline is a roof top tour of the stadium and includes spectacular views of Dublin.
Irish comedian Dara O’Briain gives the official introduction to the narrative which visitors will hear through their audio guides as they take the tour.
Etihad Airways recently signed a multi-million Euro extension deal to sponsor the GAA’s Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship for the next five years. The airline first became a partner of the Championship in 2008, less than a year after it began flights to Dublin.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Etihad Airways is proud to place its name on the Skyline at Croke Park, an attraction that will entice thousands of visitors to the stadium and city each year.
“The Etihad Skyline, and the recently extended GAA deal, underlines Etihad Airways’ commitment to Irish culture, tourism and sport and we look forward to building on this in the months to come.
“It was fitting therefore that we host a Poc Fada, a traditional Irish challenge, to launch the Etihad Skyline and we are thrilled for the charities that will benefit from the Etihad Airways flights around the world.”
Liam O’Neill, President of the GAA, said: “The Etihad Skyline is an exciting and innovative initiative that further enhances Croke Park as a tourist destination in addition to its stand out features as a renowned sporting arena.
“I would like to acknowledge the role and support of Etihad Airways and its partnership in this venture.
“The Etihad Skyline adds another dimension to any visit to the stadium by offering unrivalled views of Dublin and it will prove attractive to home based visitors and tourists alike.”