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High Society

Brogan and Kelly set for Patrick's Day date with Obama

The two GAA stars have been invited to Washington for the White House’s annual celebrations.

IF ENDA KENNY is feeling slightly nervous ahead of his St. Patrick’s Day trip to meet US President Barack Obama, he can take comfort in the fact that he won’t be the only White House newbie in the Irish delegation.

Earlier today, the GAA announced that Footballer of the Year Bernard Brogan and Tipperary hurling captain Eoin Kelly have been invited to take part in the White House’s official celebrations on March 17.

The pair will travel to Washington next week as part of the official Irish party which is expected to be headed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

A spokesperson for the GAA confirmed to that the invitation had been forwarded through the American ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, an avid sports fan.

Mr. Rooney’s family own the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the most successful American Football teams, and the Ambassador has been a key figure in negotiations to host an NFL fixture in Croke Park in the near future.

Although it is not known whether Rooney or the GAA selected the two players in question, the GAA’s statement acknowledges that “the invites come in recognition of excellent individual contributions to the players’ respective 2010 Championship campaigns”.

Brogan was awarded Footballer of the Year for his part in guiding Dublin to an All-Ireland semi-final berth, while Kelly captained Tipperary to a memorable All-Ireland victory over record-chasing Kilkenny last September.

The GAA also confirmed that the association’s president, Christy Cooney, had been invited to attend. He was forced to decline, however, as he is scheduled to attend the President’s Awards on March 16 and the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championship finals the following day.