Galway funds blow
GALWAY football has taken a heavy end-of-year knock with the news that Aer Arann have withdrawn as team sponsors.
It's the latest example of how the recession is biting into sport in a manner that would never have been envisaged a few years ago, and leaves Galway looking for a new sponsor in a much reduced market place.
Their five-year deal with Aer Arann, believed to be worth around €500,000, had two more seasons to run.
However, Aer Arann ran into financial difficulties as the downturn accelerated and went into examinership last August after posting big losses over the previous two years. It exited examinership last month.
Aer Arann, whose chairman Padraig O Ceidigh is a native of Spiddal, also sponsors Connacht rugby and has a separate deal with Munster rugby, neither of which are under threat.
Aer Arann's sponsorship was a key factor in persuading Joe Kernan to take over as Galway manager in October 2009 as he was able to avail of their regular schedule between Galway and Dublin. Kernan left after one year and now Aer Arann have departed, leaving a big void which the Galway football board will now try to fill.
Galway hurling's 20-year sponsorship deal with Supermacs is unaffected and will continue next season.