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GAA in massive drive to take on Olympics, Euros

THE GAA is launching a massive marketing drive as it faces huge sporting competition this summer.

Gaelic games will have to cope with competition from Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.

Now new GAA president Liam O'Neill is to outline the assocation's plans at a meeting in Croke Park on Sunday.

He is expected to announce a major increase in promotional activities in the coming months.

The meeting is also believed to be linked to a recent directive instructing all counties to roll out their players for a "meet-and-greet" session with fans and media one evening next month.

Every county chairman has received a letter telling him to organise this open event with their senior teams on Friday, May 11. It must take place between 7pm and 8.30pm and there cannot be any matches that evening.

The "meet-and-greet" takes place just eight days before a hectic sporting weekend on May 19-20, which includes both the Heineken Cup and Champions League finals.

"This event will only succeed if it happens in every county, on the same night and at the same time," the directive instructs.

"We are relying on every county to co-operate in what will be a strong statement of our intention to vigorously promote the 2012 championships."

GAA director general Paraic Duffy acknowledged the difficulty the GAA faces: "We will have to market our games like never before."