AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Vipers’ sponsor game-plan keeps players in safe hands

Trading places . . . Isaac Sullivan, Vipers' Safety and Darren Donaghy of Donaghy Safety Training exchange workwear for cameras.
Trading places . . . Isaac Sullivan, Vipers' Safety and Darren Donaghy of Donaghy Safety Training exchange workwear for cameras.

The North West’s only American Football team are on the search for a future gridiron star - and they want your help to do it.

Donegal Derry vipers gained promotion last season and ahead of competing in IAFL1, launched an innovative drive to attract player sponsors for the new season.

Vipers management believe their sponsorship game-plan will cut the cost of participation in the sport - a potential deterrent to attracting stars of the future.

“Player fees in the IAFL are among the highest in the country for any sport at a cost of €150 per player each season,” said Cathal Curran, a founder member of the Vipers. “This fee must be shouldered by each player wishing to get involved and that can be a deterrent for some.

“When we formed Vipers a few years ago, 47 people turned up to our first training session. We decided that we didn’t want people leaving and would need to find a way to reduce the cost.

“The obvious option was to create a player sponsorship scheme.”

Safety accounts for the lion’s share of the costs and so a sponsorship partnership with the Vipers was a perfect fit for local firm Donaghy Safety Training.

Director Darren Donaghy explains: “At Donaghy Safety Training we know all too well the importance of safeguarding health and wellbeing whether in the workplace or the sports arena. We are aware of the great steps taken by the Vipers to ensure the safety of players in training and on the field of play. We’re proud to be associated with this initiative and in the sponsorship of the Viper’s safety man in the defensive line-up for this season.

“When it comes to safety on the field in American football there is a cost involved but it is a small price to pay to ensure player wellbeing is safeguarded.”

Costs covered by player sponsorship include ambulance provision for home games, player insurance fees, safety gear such as helmets and shoulder pads, and gameplay spending.

Kernans Group is the main Vipers’ sponsor for the 2017 campaign. Nando’s Restaurant in Derry is helmet sponsor and Mintbet is the club tracksuit sponsor.

Any business or individual seeking to sponsor a player or get involved can get in touch via Facebook @donegalderryvipers or call Cathal Curran on +353 86 036 2383.