Massive blow as An Post pulls plug on Rás & ‘Sean Kelly team’

Posted on: May 18th, 2017

Massive blow as An Post pulls plug on Rás & ‘Sean Kelly team’

Massive blow as An Post pulls plug on Rás & 'Sean Kelly team'

On the eve of the Rás, An Post has announced it is ending all of its Irish cycling sponsorship deals.


Irish cycling has been dealt a massive blow with news that An Post is abruptly ending all of its cycling sponsorship deals.

The national postage company, which is struggling financially, has confirmed on the eve of the Rás it will no longer sponsor the event.

And it is also pulling out of Rás na mBan and the An Post-Chainreaction Continental-level trade team.

The withdrawal was anticipated because of the company’s own difficulties.

And it had already stopped sponsoring the An Post Cycle Series at the end of last year, though did not announce that move at the time.

Aileen Mooney of the company’s communications office said the company had been Irish cycling’s leading supporter for a decade.

“The conclusion of these sponsorships comes at a time when An Post is facing significant financial challenges,” she said.

“As we set about implementing a new strategy for An Post, we must focus our resources on reshaping and restructuring our business, and on new product development.”

Mooney added the company was announcing its plans now in order to give the events and team time to plan for the future.

The move will impact all three but will hit the Rás very significantly as An Post assumed a huge level of control in exchange of its sponsorship.

The sponsor scrapped the race’s website, opting to host all information about the event on its corporate site.

It also assumed all the race’s media work, including creating new social media accounts and even announcing the national team selections for the race; an unprecedented move for a sponsor.

The company pulling the plug means the race will now need to rebuild that capacity at a time when it is looking for a new sponsor.

However, An Post supported the race through the worst of the recession and helped ensure its survival during that period.

It has also been involved with the Sean Kelly team since 2008 and its withdrawal leaves that team with a big hole to fill.

However, Sean Kelly said he was very grateful for the support over the last decade.

“We have greatly enjoyed our partnership with them which has allowed us to provide a platform for the on-going development of professional riders,” he said.

Rás director Tony Campbell said An Post’s contribution had been immense.

“We built a great partnership with An Post since they came on board in 2011 with the event growing year on year,” he said.

“They have worked tirelessly with us to develop the An Post Rás.

“This week we are welcoming 39 top teams from around the world to compete in the eight-day stage race bringing huge excitement and a significant economic boost to towns and villages along the route.”