In what is a first for an Irish bank, AIB has commissioned an hour-long documentary that will be shown on TV3 as part of its ongoing sponsorship of the GAA Club Championships and its ongoing #TheToughest campaign.
Having long believed that the Club Championships are “the toughest of them all” AIB wanted to explore how it compared to other club games across the world. With this in mind, the bank enlisted English footballer David Bentley and All Star baseball player Brian Schneider to put the theory to the test. The pair of professional sportsmen are set to trade places with Crossmaglen footballer Aaron Kernan and James Stephens’ hurler Jackie Tyrell, who will in turn be temporarily transferring to Sunderland FC and a Floridian major league baseball team respectively. All four players will be swapping professional and sporting lives so while the GAA players will be experiencing all the demands that come with professional sports, Bentley and Schneider will have to quickly come to terms with a challenging training schedule coupled with a full-time job.
“With its predominantly winter schedule, the constant pressure of knockout matches, having to balance the demands of family, work or college with training and playing matches, and of course, the fact that some of the biggest names in GAA haven’t won a club medal, we believe that the AIB GAA Club Championships really is the toughest of them all” commented Brian Keating, AIB Brand Director. “With this film, what we wanted to investigate was, could the GAA club game actually be the toughest in the world?”
In one of the more unusual club transfer requests in GAA history, former major league Baseball star Brian Schneider will be joining The Village on a short term transfer this month. Schneider, who played with the Montreal Expos, the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies until his retirement in 2012, will temporarily swap his baseball bat for a hurley.
The 6’3″ former catcher will be based in Kilkenny and will train and play with James Stephens while Jackie Tyrell is off to Florida to take part in spring training with a top major league baseball team.
In the second player swap, former Tottenham Hotspur player David Bentley will find out just what it takes to epitomize #TheToughest when he lines out with six times AIB GAA Club Championship winners Crossmaglen Rangers. Going in the other direction, Crossmaglen’s Aaron Kernan will discover just how tough it is to be a professional athlete when he signs for Sunderland FC.
“David and Brian will be part of the parish; they will train with the club and play in a challenge match with rival a club, as well as work day jobs. They’ll find out just how tough it is to live and train as a GAA club player” said Keating. “And, given we often have a lot of preconceptions about the lives of professional athletes, it’s going to be very interesting to see how both Jackie and Aaron get on with their new clubs.”
The hour long documentary is being produced by the IFTA award winning Motive Television and will air on TV3 at 10pm on Monday, 9th March.
Updates and short videos will air in advance of the show on both www.facebook.com/AIBGAA and @AIB_GAA