Irish cricket receives major boost from RSA
Ger Siggins (Irish Daily Star)
THE sport of cricket received a major boost yesterday with the announcement of an improved and expanded sponsorship programme with RSA Insurance.
RSA’s CEO Philip Smith congratulated the Irish team on their victory at the World Twenty20 qualifier in Dubai last month, and backed them in their plans for further expansion of the game in a lucrative four year deal.
Ireland teams all the way down to Under 15 will be sponsored by the firm which is the largest non-life insurer in the country.
Mr Smith said “While maintaining our sponsorship of Ireland’s national cricket teams, exciting new developments such as the new domestic competitions, grass roots and key event programmes will see RSA support the development of the game at all levels across the country”.
RSA will sponsor a new interprovincial series between the three major unions from 2013, with a ground-breaking North v South series at 50 and 20 over level this summer.
The grass roots ‘Get into Cricket’ programme aims to bring the game to schools and communities where it hasn’t been seen for many years.
And the insurance giant will also back a new awards scheme with a gala presentation.
Minister for Sport Michael Ring thanked Mr Smith and said “We need sponsorship in these difficult times because government just doesn’t have the resources.”
Cricket Ireland boss Warren Deutrom explained how the Irish team reached its new high ranking in T20.
“Who would have thought that four years ago when RSA first started their sponsorship that Ireland would be ranked higher than West Indies in that form of the game.
“Phil Simmons is convinced that it was getting our best home-based players on central contracts that has made the difference.
“And it was RSA’s support that allowed us to do that.”