3, Ireland’s fastest growing mobile network, this week confirmed a two-year sponsorship of Waterford GAA. The company, whose CEO is Dunmore East man Robert Finnegan, take over from Glanbia plc, whose association with the county’s teams goes back over a decade.

The new sponsorship deal covers both the hurling and football codes and includes all grades from minor to senior. As part of the agreement a new-look Waterford jersey will be unveiled by Azzurri in early 2010 displaying the 3 logo.

Secretary Tim O’Keeffe says the County Board are really looking forward to the partnership with 3 which “will bring a new dynamic to the promotion of Waterford GAA and hurling in particular… and we have no doubt that our clubs and supporters will fully support 3 and their product range.”

A “delighted” Robert Finnegan added: “Over the years, and in particular the last decade, the Waterford hurlers have brought great joy to the county and its ex-pats. Many people across the country have taken the hurling team into their hearts for their honesty, passion and style of play. During this time the county’s footballers have travelled a less glamorous road but last season showed that the potential is there amongst the current crop of players for promotion in the league and a good display in the championship.”

And he said that “as a Waterford man I am aware of the sacrifices made by the players to represent their county and of how the economic downturn is affecting the GAA both at county level and amongst the grassroots.”

Club sponsors of Waterford United since the start of last season, the progressive company’s other sporting linkages include the 3 Irish Open, which is returning to Killarney in 2010, and Padraig Harrington.

At last week’s county convention in Dungarvan, outgoing Waterford GAA chairman Pat Flynn confirmed that the board’s team sponsorship agreements with Glanbia (hurling) and Lawlors Hotel (football) had ended.

Paying tribute to their mutually-beneficial, long-standing association with both, he was happy that they would remain supporters of the county, with Glanbia to sponsor the senior and minor hurling championships, as well the junior and intermediate hurling county finals, and Lawlors Hotel as sponsors of the senior football championship.