Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Sponsor move fuels falling out with Armagh

The Athletics Grounds in Armagh enjoyed the patronage of Morgan Fuels but now the company will sponsor Louth

Not only do Louth have former Armagh All-Ireland winner Aidan O'Rourke as manager for 2013, but they will also wear jersies emblazoned with the former Orchard county sponsors, Morgan Fuels, it has been revealed.

This comes in the wake of the fuel company withdrawing support from Armagh, including the naming rights of the Athletic Grounds, earlier this month.

Hugh Morgan's decision to back Louth will come as a surprise to many, with the deal beginning on January 1st.

It includes the jersey sponsorship of senior teams both in hurling and football, the junior football side, and under-21 and minor football teams for three years.

A statement which was released on the Louth website stated: “Louth GAA are pleased to announce Morgan Fuels as their new sponsor, commencing on 1st January 2013.

“At tonight's meeting of the County Committee, County Board Chairman Padraic O'Connor announced that Morgan Fuels will sponsor Louth county teams on a three-year term.”

It continued: “O'Connor expressed his delight at securing the sponsorship deal with a renowned GAA family and looked forward to forging a strong working and sporting relationship between the two parties in the years to come.”

The parting of the ways between Morgan and Armagh was a rather stormy one and became very public when both sides issued statements offering different versions on the matter.

Noting in a press release that his sponsorship of Armagh was ‘well in excess of seven figures', Morgan continued: “In very recent times, however, we have witnessed a serious decline in the atmosphere prevailing at county level matches, reflected in poor results and the souring of key relationships.

“As the principal sponsor of the county teams and of the Athletic Grounds, we have been in a very difficult position.'

After describing how the company had been ‘at odds' over what he described as the failure of the county board to provide sufficient branding and corporate facilities that were part of the arrangement, Morgan added that he requested the board should ‘bring forward a strategy that would equip Armagh football to go forward with confidence and to strive for the success they had achieved previously.”

The statement concluded: “I am sorry to say that my request was ignored and, consequently, I had no option but to suspend our financial support.

“This impasse has continued for the last six months and led to the complete breakdown of our relationship with the county board.”

Shortly afterwards, Armagh unveiled Rainbow communications as their new sponsors, and then promptly responded to Morgan's statement.

“While our partnership with Morgan Fuels has been prosperous and mutually respectful for many years, recently some complications have arisen regarding the sponsorship of Armagh.'

They added: “While we always welcome advice on how to manage our coaching and games, we will continue to ensure that this part of our operation will at all times be under the strategic control of our county board.”

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