St. Galls are the 2016 VW7s Champions!

Congratulations to St. Galls who won the 2016 VW Football 7s. 

The 44th running of the All Ireland Senior Football 7 a side competition took place last weekend.  9 months in the planning, it would not have happened without the cross club support demonstrated and preparation.  Even with all the planning, 18 hours away from the first throw in yields its own problems. With some moans, groans and "I told you so", hundreds of club members, young and old, overcame major and minor adversities to deliver a memorable tournament for all involved.  The Infant of Prague must have been lining out for some club, thus ensuring the beautiful weather and possibly the scoreline for one of the teams.
Early on in the year, the Football Committee set out to find a suitable partner who would see the value in the day and help us make the tournament a desirable date in the GAA calendar.  And so it was through well worn club contacts, Legacy Consultants, who feature Bernard Brogan in their line up, introduced Volkswagen Ireland, already sponsoring the Junior competition in St. Judes.
Despite having 43 years experience, every year provides its own learning.  Last year we had to overcome a county board stopping their teams from travelling, another running their full club championship on the day and our own clubs having to play AFL 1 and AFL2 fixtures on the eve of Dublin's victory in Croke Park.  
This year, we found an appetite for the clubs to get involved and a pride in County Boards in having their teams involved. The invite list for 2017 is already being written with teams reserving their places.  Another difference, was the involvement of the 32 county VW Dealer network, who are local to just about every club in the country.   
In August, we formally announced Volkswagen Ireland as Sponsor and enjoyed the wide grins of our newly crowned Leinster Champion Dubs in the photo shoot.  The publicity achieved from this photo shoot and the formal launch the week before the tournament, generated massive interest amongst the clubs, officials and Boards. 
The drive to get teams is a hard road to follow, obviously, the best teams will be involved in Championship.  St. Galls, our 2016 winners, are still involved in Championship.  They said they are our friends and would not let us down, even if it meant not sending down the full squad.  If that was only three of their first team, then God help the rest of Antrim. Corofin always said it was a vital part of their championship preparation and our own team, including only two of last year's ten, which in itself  (other than Ronan Ryan and Pat Burke), was mostly made up of our U21s who went on to win the Dublin Championship. Who will make the leap this year? Cian O'Connor certainly asked to be considered with his goal of the tournament contender:
The huge online success this year, with the #VW7s hashtag making an impression on someone's twitter account about five MILLION times and the huge success of the Bank of Ireland's Snapchat team will mean a greater online advertising presence next year, to take advantage of the worldwide audience for our tournament.  Moves were made this year to better integrate the companies supporting the club with programme adverts and online, by having them at the launch and present on the day.  
TG4 were back after the success of our own live streaming on the internet last year.  They spent the afternoon interviewing, recording and meeting our people and produced a brilliant highlights package on GAA2016, available now on their player: 
VW TV provided highlights on twitter and the Giant Screen, from the other venues. A fantastic service using Sky Ports level staff! @volkswagenIE @DubMatchTracker risked severe repetitive strain injury to deliver content forth accounts.
Even with the Paralympics and a massive Water Protest, RTE used the day to great effect for them and gave us and our sponsors fantastic coverage! RTE radio sport were there from 10 am and it did seem that they had kidnapped Tommy Lyons, he was so long in the hut!  Thanks Tommy, Craig Dias, Johnny Magee and the many others who helped us get the VW7s on air.
Massive volunteerism, paying guests, groundsmen, cross club support digging us out, sponsors, advertisers, visitors, media, administrators and of course, oh yes, the players, 11 am to 6.45pm, quality sport of the highest level, winners and losers.  At least we know St. Galls will bring the cup back with them next Autumn, when they come to defend "OUR" trophy!
Thank you again to everyone, on and offline, who has made some contribution, big or small, to the success of the 44th All Ireland Senior Football 7s at Kilmacud Crokes, sponsored by Volkswagen.