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Back to Press Releases 18 December 2019

Electric Ireland highlights unexpected alliances as it launches year three of first class rivals

17th December 2019: Electric Ireland has joined forces with four Intercounty GAA stars to launch the 2020 Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon, Sigerson and Higher Education Championships. Electric Ireland’s First Class Rivals campaign celebrates unexpected alliances formed by County rivals coming together in pursuit of a common goal to win some of the most coveted titles in GAA.  

Although bound to their county through a traditional allegiance, intercounty footballers Robert Finnerty (NUIG and Galway) and Eoin O’Donoghue (NUIG and Mayo) and intercounty hurlers, Darragh Fitzgibbon (UCC and Cork) and Mark Kehoe (UCC and Tipperary) will put their county rivalries aside as they battle it out for the prestigious Electric Ireland Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup titles in 2020 with their colleges. 

Speaking on behalf of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Uachtaráin Seán Ó hÓráin said, “The GAA is excited to welcome the 2020 season of the Electric Ireland Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championships. These competitions are known for a high standard of play with an extremely strong calibre of talent, with many familiar faces from the intercounty scene joining forces in pursuit of one goal. We are delighted to have Electric Ireland on board as sponsors of these historic competitions who have made a great impact since joining as sponsors in 2017.”

Electric Ireland Group Sponsorship Manager, Edel McCarthy, said, “We are thrilled to be launching year three of our First Class Rivals campaign, with our long-standing commitment to young GAA players and their communities through our sponsorship of both the Electric Ireland Higher Education Championships and Electric Ireland Minor Football & Hurling Championships. It’s a pleasure to be able to support these players as they combine their studies with life on and off the pitch. It promises to be a thrilling season celebrating the unexpected bonds created by intercounty rivals as they come together as teammates in the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups.”

2019 Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup winner and UCC Hurler, Darragh Fitzgibbon, commented “I am delighted to be a part of Electric Ireland’s First Class Rivals campaign with my UCC teammate and county rival, Mark Kehoe, to launch the 2020 Electric Ireland GAA Higher Education Championships. First Class Rivals really encompasses what these competitions are all about. College is such a great experience, but to be a part of a completely new team with guys you have only ever met on the field as your rivals before is an exciting challenge. 2019 was an exceptional season for me and my UCC teammates as we claimed the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup and I am excited for what the 2020 season has in store.”

NUIG and Mayo Footballer, Eoin O’Donoghue, added “The Higher Education Championships are a brilliant way to start the year. Although some of us are usually divided by county lines, the opportunity to join up and play with one another is an experience I am really relishing. Electric Ireland have raised the profile of the competitions in recent seasons and last year, people saw the quality of games on offer through the live streaming. Hopefully even more people will tune in and support the competitions in 2020.”

Electric Ireland is committed to investing in young talent, launching the four-year sponsorship of the Higher Education Championships in 2018, adding to its sponsorship of the GAA Minor Championships.

Electric Ireland’s Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championship campaign, First Class Rivals showcases the unique trait of these historic GAA competitions that sees team composition, unlike in club and county championships, determined by place of learning, not place of birth, allowing traditional rivals to form the most unexpected of alliances.

Over 7,000 students take part in the Electric Ireland GAA Higher Education Leagues and Championships that commence in November and culminate in the Electric Ireland Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup Finals which take place on 29 January and on 12 February respectively. The draw for the competitions took place on 04 December 2019 and the full schedule of fixtures can be viewed at

Follow the Championships and be a part of the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #FirstClassRivals.