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Leinster Rugby hit back at claims of 'subliminal exploitation' of Dublin GAA fans

Heineken Cup champions charged with stealing the All-Ireland champions’ colours by county GAA chiefs.

Leinster out half Jonny Sexton and Dublin forward Bernard Brogan.
Leinster out half Jonny Sexton and Dublin forward Bernard Brogan.
Image: Inpho

LEINSTER RUGBY HAVE been charged with ”subliminal exploitation” of Dublin’s famous blue jerseys.

But Donnybrook chiefs have moved quickly to deny the claims.

In a wide-ranging, six-year strategy document (PDF link), called Unleashing the Blue Wave launched last night, the county officials  say they are aware of “flourishing professional franchise” encroaching on their brand.

Part of the document reads: ”The Blue Jersey is a unique, inclusive brand, uniting Dublin’s dense expanse, blurring the difference in class and possession which became so pointedly manifest during the delusional days of the Celtic Tiger.

“Dublin’s county teams are of monumental cultural and social importance to the city but, with over a fifth of the country’s population resident here, they are also of enormous strategic importance to the future well being of the GAA.

“While blue must become the colour of success, this is no cheap marketing gimmick. Blue is the colour of our Dublin heritage, of our Irish, Gaelic identity in the capital city, the colour that helped separate the capital from its colonial past. It is the colour of the ideal… of Heffernan and Foley, of Mullins and Doherty, of Boland and McMahon, of Barr and Curran, of Brogan and Whelan, of Rushe and Keaney… of Hill 16.

“It is an extraordinarily effective promotional tool, enshrined in the anthem of the county’s often maligned but fiercely loyal supporters. Blue is also the colour of a commercial phenomenon, of capacity crowds, of broadcasting schedules and of ambitious sponsorship. But it is a success harnessed by the centre which can serve to sustain the peripheries.

“The blue jersey is a unique, inclusive brand, uniting Dublin’s dense expanse, blurring the difference in class and possession which became so pointedly manifest during the delusional days of the Celtic Tiger.

“We can’t copyright a colour but the subliminal exploitation of Dublin’s unique sporting hue by our competitors has not gone unnoticed. Mutual respect is essential in Irish sport yet the appeal of a flourishing professional franchise is still a real challenge in the struggle for hearts and minds in Dublin while the demographic shift continues to distort traditional values and interests.

“Our Blue affords Dublin GAA the greatest potential to evolve as the flagship brand of commercial sport in Ireland. Successful implementation of our strategy will also reinforce the fact that Dublin is GAA Country.

Leinster, for their part, reject the claims. Speaking to TheScore, a spokesmen for the Heineken Cup champions said the contents of the GAA document ‘came as a complete surprise’.

“The simple fact is that in no way, shape or form have we tried to affect any other team or organisation. A lot of our players come from GAA backgrounds – Rob Kearney would have played for Louth minors, Shane Horgan the Meath minors. And they bring that skillset to the rugby pitch which is something we value.

“The one thing that is unique amongst Irish sporting organisations is that we all promote each other. You say it with the success of the cricket team, everyone was happy to get behind them. And with ourselves, we’re very much a 12-county organisation – not just Dublin city – and were delighted to see the success of Dublin’s footballers and the Kilkenny hurlers this season.

“And the fact is Leinster have always played in blue,” he added.

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