LIMERICK GAA and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) have signed a unique partnership firmly aimed at generating benefit for Limerick communities.
The 10-year partnership will cover a period which sees plans for Limerick GAA’s headquarters to be substantially redeveloped and opened up to the community, including a new plaza-type area and new stadium facilities.
The agreement also includes provision for the Gaelic Grounds to be re-named as LIT Gaelic Grounds from the start of this year’s inter-county Championships, with LIT’s commercial arm providing a financial contribution of €30,000 per annum in respect of this. There is no state funding element in this contribution, which is solely drawn from commercial activities.
The move builds on the historically close relationship between the two organisations, and is a major boost for Limerick GAA as it seeks to add further momentum to the growth of the association and its activities across the county following last year’s All-Ireland senior hurling title success.
It will also deliver significant benefits to LIT by providing internship and other work experience opportunities to students and by providing a “Living Lab” at LIT Gaelic Grounds for students to get real-time practical experience. It allows LIT to further raise its profile as a progressive Higher Education Institution, both in the Mid-West and beyond.
Announcing the partnership, Limerick GAA Chairman John Cregan, “I am very excited about what we and LIT are doing together. This partnership helps bring Limerick GAA to another level. We are on an exciting trajectory and this partnership reflects that new energy and vibrancy.
“LIT and ourselves are close neighbours on the Northside of the city, and we are very much building on the shared history of our two bodies here. By partnering like this, we are reaching into each other’s communities, unlocking a range of benefits for Limerick, for our clubs and for students. This is a far deeper relationship than a typical commercial one, and brings with it huge benefits that a conventional commercial relationship simply could not deliver. It is a win for all concerned and we look forward to working together for the benefit of all.”
LIT President Dr. Vincent Cunnane said, “We are delighted to be entering this partnership with Limerick GAA. Our two organisations have a shared ethos, a shared set of beliefs and a common history, which makes this partnership a natural fit. This agreement is unique in Ireland, and reflects a new confidence here in Limerick that we can go our own way, find our own models and deliver benefits for the people of Limerick.
“We have both been in the business of supporting our communities for a long time, and coming together to do this in a defined way now makes huge sense.
“This partnership is a win-win-win for Limerick, for LIT students and for Limerick GAA. It’s a symbiotic relationship where, for example, our students with be able to get invaluable and relevant work experience around for their chosen career area, with the benefit of their energy and education also being very much felt in the GAA. At the same time we will also be offering scholarships every year for Limerick GAA club members to come to college in LIT, and we will also be putting in place programmes drawn from specific LIT expertise to support smaller clubs.”
Also present at today’s launch was Limerick All-Ireland hurling medal winner and LIT student Diarmaid Byrnes. “I’m delighted to see LIT and Limerick GAA to come together for this partnership. Knowing both as well as I do, this is a great fit. You have two organisations that very much have similar core values and, ultimately, share a passion for our native sports.
“From a marketing student’s perspective, I see huge opportunity from this by way of the practical experience, in particular, that students can get from working as interns and on match days and other events at the LIT Gaelic Grounds. On the other hand, I know the type of impact LIT can have through the expertise it will bring on board for the GAA and clubs. It’s a perfect fit.”
The first partnership of its kind in Ireland, it is being positioned as a legacy of Limerick’s historic 2018 All-Ireland Senior Hurling title, and will include:
- Dedicated scholarship scheme for Limerick GAA Club members to attend LIT;
- Limerick GAA internships and work experience for LIT students in sports coaching, event management, marketing and other areas;
- LIT support for Limerick GAA clubs;
- Use of LIT campus facilities by Limerick GAA teams and administration;
- Use of the grounds as a “Living Lab” for LIT students for educational and other purposes;
- Re-naming of the Gaelic Grounds to LIT Gaelic Grounds.