Sports Sponsorship Isn’t Always About Superstars and Big Brands – Often It’s More Important Than That

As Dublin captain James McCarthy climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand at Croke Park to lift aloft the Sam Maguire Cup, the emotion of the moment was etched into his face. Why? Well, because it was about much more than just that single moment.

It was about years of training. It was about the highs of winning and lows of losing. It was about getting knocked down and picking yourself back up again, stronger, and more determined than ever to succeed. It was about the unique bond that team-mates have and the journey they share. It was about the support of family, friends, coaches, and supporters during a lifetime of dedication to your sport. It was about representing your family, your community, and your county on the biggest stage in Gaelic games. It was about all these things and more.

Sport touches people like few other things do, but even amateur sport like Gaelic football is a competitive business. It takes talent, commitment, and resources to succeed. Echelon has been proud to provide one of those requirements – no, definitely not the talent – to Wicklow GAA this year, as part of a partnership to support the development of players and grow participation in Gaelic games throughout the entire county.

The difference funding makes in amateur sports – especially for a well-run voluntary organisation like Wicklow GAA – is incredible, both for the players and clubs in the wider community. Here’s how Wicklow are using Echelon’s sponsorship to help produce the stars of tomorrow across Wicklow’s county teams.



Wicklow GAA now has a nutritionist, Daniel Davey of Davey nutrition, working with them on a programme – to be delivered over three years – that will teach young players the basic principles of nutrition and how to fuel and refuel their body so that they can perform to the highest potential on the pitch. Wicklow is also providing its players with a nutrition pack – containing fruit, milk, and granola bars – so they can refuel after a three-hour training session.

Sports Psychology

Sports psychologist Tony Óg Regan will work with Wicklow over the next three years to teach players about the importance of mindset, creating good habits, self-belief, and many other useful psychological tools to ensure they can perform to the best of their abilities.

Performance Analysis

Wicklow now has subscriptions with sports video analysis software provider Nacsport. This means they can now perform video analysis sessions with their squads, including reviewing matches and working on tactical play going forward.


Wicklow have purchased six new sets of jerseys for all their football and hurling squads in the U14-U16 age groups. More than 200 players have also received training jerseys, jumpers, shorts, and socks.

Player development squads

In previous years, Wicklow had an U14 academy squad of 40 players which was chosen based on the county’s U13 rising stars programme. This year, Wicklow still has its academy squad but now also has a development squad made up of another 40 players. They are training monthly and are also taking part in high-performance camps, learning about nutrition, sports psychology and being exposed to a high standard of coaching. Already, a number of development squad players have made the step up to the academy squad.

More elite training

Every Saturday our academy squads trains for three hours, during which time they are exposed to elite tactical and technical coaching, strength and conditioning gym work, and athletic development on the pitch. Performances have improved as a result of being exposed to higher standards of coaching and having the opportunity to work more things in training that previously there was not time for in the shorter training sessions.

Winter S&C programme

Wicklow ran a winter strength and conditioning programme from November through to March, during which time the U15 and U16 football and hurling squads received two gym sessions per week under professional supervision, allowing players to develop in the GAA off season.

Exposure to High Standards

Wicklow GAA has been able to create a high-performance environment where players get the opportunity to develop and excel in their sport. They are being provided with the same facilities experienced by players in professional sports academies.

Sports sponsorship can be big business and involve big brands and stars – but it’s also about helping kids chase their dreams. Success is never guaranteed and, right now, Wicklow can only look on in envy as their neighbours in Dublin celebrate their 9th All-Ireland senior football championship in 13 years. However, Echelon is proud to be playing its part in helping develop the Wicklow players who will close that gap, while also inspiring those who play purely for their love of the game.

‹ Back to all News