Pride in our jersey

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council 18th April 2017

All Ireland Sunday

The third Sunday in September is a unique day in Ireland. Understanding what happens on the day helps foreigners understand our culture, a culture that takes massive pride in local success. That day is called All-Ireland Sunday. 85,000 people gather at Croke Park, headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to watch an amateur football match. Millions more watch it around the world.

Eye on the prize

GAA is an entirely amateur sport. It’s based on parishes. Parish teams play other parish teams. The best of those players make it onto their county teams – a huge honour. But it’s an honour that is earned by an incredible dedication. Players, who hold down ordinary jobs, also train to the same standard as professional athletes. Why do they do that? Pride. And the ultimate prize is to make it to the All-Ireland (inter-county) Final on that September Sunday.

All amateur

That dedication to an amateur sport, wishing to represent your parish and your county, is possibly unique in the world. But it’s the type of dedication you can expect if you base your business in Meath. As in their sport it’s just normal that people take a pride in their work. It doesn’t cost you, the employer, any extra to get those employees who will, willingly, go that extra mile, for pride sake.

Bragging rights

The whole purpose of playing your next-door-neighbour parish team is to have the bragging rights for the coming year. Nothing is held back when two close parishes play each other. The phrase is that they leave nothing on the pitch. But once the referee blows time the two teams are most likely to go to the bar together. After all, it’s quite likely that some of them are first cousins, who just happen to live in the next parish.

No such thing as ‘us and them’

In some cultures, there is an ‘us and them’ divide between employer and employee. But not in Ireland. We all play on the same team, happy to help grow a business stronger, believing that a stronger company means more jobs locally. That’s one of the reasons that people like to work near their homes. It gives them the ability to either play, coach or administer a local sports team, always in a voluntary capacity.

It’s all about THAT day

That’s why Meath people are eager to avoid having to commute, as many thousands must now, to Dublin City each day. Being close to their home communities gives them those extra hours that they can then give back to the community.  That’s one of the reasons everybody in Meath looks forward to new industries setting up in the county. That’s why they back the #MakeItMeath campaign.  It’s about the third Sunday in September.