IT BEGAN with Pitman-Moore back in the early ’90s; moved on to the hugely successful and generous Tegral company three years later and now in 2013 a new logo, a new name and, whisper it, a newly designed Kildare jersey, as Brady Family Ham become the latest firm to pin their colours to the mast of Kildare GAA, writes Tommy Callaghan.
Over the past few months the rumour machine has been in overdrive with suggestions that at least two major motor companies, one airline, a supermarket group and a few others, depending on who one listens to, were all vying for the front of the Kildare shirt.
So it is certainly hats off to the main negotiators (amongst others) who were tasked with the job of seeking out a new sponsor, namely Dermot Reilly of Club Kildare and Marty McEvoy, Commercial Director of Kildare County Board, as the fruits of their labours unfolded last week at a specially convened meeting.
The Keadeen Hotel was the venue and here it was officially confirmed that the Timahoe based meat company had come on board, for an initial three year period.
Former Kildare midfielder and present day Club Kildare Chairman, Pat Mangan, assumed the MC duties on the night, which in itself is testament to the changing relationship between that body and the County Board.
There has been much friction over the past number of months between these two arms of Kildare GAA with Croke Park insisting that Club Kildare become, along with all other county supporters clubs, a sub committee of the county board, but if Monday’s meeting was anything to go by Club Kildare has settled into its new role very comfortably indeed.
And so as Brady Family Ham is now officially the county’s new sponsor and this is a company that is not just going to sign a cheque and disappear. Far from it. As their boss man informed Monday’s gathering they just “don’t want to be on the jersey they want to be in the jersey.”
The man behind the present day Brady Family business is a well know Naas resident, Tipperary native, keen golfer and a former President of Naas RFC, Bill O’Brien.
Bill, of course is a Chukka Chukka and like all Chukka Chukkas (Tipperary natives who emigrated to Kildare) does not forget his roots. He acknowledged on Monday evening last when first approached by his good friend Pat Mangan, to come on board the Kildare bandwagon his first thoughts being “why should I as a Tipp man pour money into Kildare”?
But, as he said himself, on mature reflection and after taking an in-depth look at all the pos-sibilities, he was soon convinced that as a business move this venture has huge potential and so he signed on the dotted line.
There will be many ‘Gatherings’ throughout 2013 but this particular one will hopefully be looked upon as one of the most successful of the year from a Kildare point of view.
Yes, there are folk out there not overly happy with the jersey re-design and the additional colours, the green numbering etc. The traditionalists (myself included) will still shake their collective heads as the former all white shirt is slowly but surely taking on a more colourful, modern day, appearance.
Such is life but if success arrives with the Brady Family Ham logo and some extra colours on board all those reservations will disappear quicker than a plate of Brady’s ham.
Bill O’Brien and his company are one of the real success stories of modern day business and there is no doubt they bring a lot more than just meat to the Kildare table.
Here’s hoping that company’s success will now rub off on all those who don the Kildare jersey throughout 2013 and beyond.