Sponsorship Awards


An independent panel of recognised and expert judges, representing the sponsorship industry, will determine the winners of The Irish Sponsorship Awards.

Our focus is to deliver a balanced judging assessment from industry leaders who will bring their extensive knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise to the judging process ensuring that the winning entries are truly outstanding and worthy of receiving an Irish Sponsorship Award.

The panel is carefully selected to ensure the Awards judging process is fair and objective. The Judges are bound by a strict confidentiality agreement and are required to declare any conflict of interest in entries over which they deliberate, in which case that entry will be reallocated. The integrity of this process lies at the very heart of all that we do.

We recognise and respect the sensitive nature of the information submitted in the entries. Submissions are not disclosed or discussed outside the judging process. We do not publish the names of companies, organisations or individuals that have not been shortlisted for an award, nor will we reproduce any information from your entry unless prior permission is given.

A comprehensive judging process has been put together to decide the worthy winners of The Irish Sponsorship Awards:

Judging Process

  • After the closing date for receiving submissions, all entries will be sent for the first round of review.
  • Entries will be carefully scrutinised with the best selected to go forward to the shortlist for each category.
  • The shortlist of finalists will be published on the Awards' website.
  • Judges are divided into a minimum of two panels, ensuring any potential conflict is avoided.
  • The judges will score each of the entries allocated to them against a predetermined set of scores.
  • Scores are then collected and collated, with the entrant receiving the highest overall score being declared the winner of that category.
  • The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony. The judge's decision is final and no correspondence, telephone, email or communication of any kind will be entered into in relation to decisions reached.


2017 Judging Panel

The winners of The Irish Sponsorship Awards 2017 will be decided by an independent panel of distinguished industry experts.



Maeve Buckley - Director, Line Up - Sports Media Entertainment

Maeve Buckley - Director, Line Up - Sports Media Entertainment

Maeve has had an impact on Irish sports events over a long period, and has worked with iconic teams and major projects such as Ryder Cup, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool FC, and Man City. Maeve specialises in the development and commercialisation of international sports events, as well as arts and tourism projects. She has a deep understanding of the European sport industry and the most successful events happening across that landscape.

Maeve was a Board Member of Sport Ireland from 2012 to 2015, and was voted one of the Most Influential Women in Sport in 2014 and 2015 (sportforbusiness.com). She previously worked in international marketing roles with Orange, Salvatore Ferragamo and Bord Bia, based in Amsterdam, Milan and Madrid. She holds an MBA from the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid and has a BA (Hons) degree from University College Cork, and speaks French, German, Italian and Spanish.


Lorraine Walsh - Head of Marketing, Laya Healthcare

Lorraine Walsh - Head of Marketing, Laya HealthcareLorraine Walsh is Head of Marketing with Laya Healthcare. She holds responsibility for Advertising, Sponsorship, PR, Internal communications along with Digital and Social Media. She led the development of the rebrand of Laya Healthcare following the management led buyout in 2012. She has been with the business for over 10 years. Laya Healthcare is the 2nd largest health insurer in the market with 27% Market Share.

Paul Collins Founder & CEO, Ballywire Media & Journalist, Today FM

Paul Collins - Founder & CEO, Ballywire Media & Journalist, Today FM

Tipp native and University of Limerick graduate Paul Collins is founder and CEO of Ballywire Media Limited, a video content business established 10 years ago with the objective of empowering brands and organisations to tell their unique stories through broadcast quality video content.

Since its establishment a decade ago, Ballywire has collaborated with major national and international companies and agencies and generated millions of client hits on social media.

Paul is also a founder member of the newsroom at national commercial radio station Today FM and an award winner at the Radio Industry awards for editorial content.

Sean McAuliffe - Director, Sport Collective

Sean McAuliffe - Director, Sport Collective, UKSean McAuliffe is a senior sports marketing executive with over 20 years’ experience in the sports industry. He began his career in Formula One before becoming Commercial Director of leading sports licensing and sponsorship agency CPLG representing the commercial interests of sports bodies such as UEFA, FIFA, The FA, RFU and ECB. He went on to join The Football Association as Global Head of Business Development overseeing The FA Group global commercial strategy. Sean is Co-Founder and Director of Sport Collective, a specialist sports rights agency working with sports teams, International Federations and NGBs and acts as a commercial consultant for UEFA. 

Jim O'Toole - Principal, sportsinterim.com

Jim O'Toole - Principal, sportsinterim.com

Most recently Chief Executive Officer at English Premiership Rugby club Worcester Warriors, Jim has extensive experience across the sports marketing and management spectrum. A former CEO of two global series in powerboat racing and professional sailing, he also has 20+ years agency experience having worked for and with brands such as FIFA, Manchester United, Ferrari and Williams F1 teams and the English Premier League.

Jim recently launched sportsinterim.com, offering flexible and cost effective senior interim management solutions to sports businesses in the UK and Europe.

Mark Osikoya - Associate Vice-President Global Partnerships, NBA

Mark Osikoya - Associate Vice-President Global Partnerships, NBA

Mark started his career with Adidas, managing sponsorship properties across football, rugby and basketball before moving on to work for The FA where he led the sponsorship programme and successfully secured multi-million pound sponsorships across The FA Cup and the English national football team.

The FA role was followed by a spell working in the commercial team for The London 2012 Olympic Games Organising Committee, before moving on to Coca-Cola GB, where Mark headed up the Sponsorship function across sport, music and fashion, which included The Olympic and Paralympic Games, Wayne Rooney, The Football League, Jessica Ennis and Team GB.

After Coca-Cola Mark worked as a consultant for Barclays on the activation of their global sponsorship properties and launched their new global activation strategy for The Barclays Premier League.

Mark currently works for the NBA and since joining in 2014 has been responsible for leading the team that manages the global, regional and national partnerships that the NBA has with their commercial partners across the EME region. He is also a judge for the BT Sport Industry Awards and a trustee for The Palace for Life Foundation charity.

Noel Mooney - Head of Business Development, UEFA

Noel Mooney - Head of Business Development, UEFA

Noel is Head of Business Development at the Union of European Football Association’s (UEFA) leading and supporting the growth of football across UEFA’s 55 national associations.

A former player with Cork City and Shamrock Rovers, Noel is a former Head of Marketing at the Football Association of Ireland where he was also a member of the Senior Management Team. Noel is a board member of the Federation of Irish Sports and holds a Masters in European Sports Governance from Sciences Po in Paris.

Mike DaRe - Global Head of Influencer and Advocacy, Johnnie Walker
Mike DaRe - Global Head of Influencer and Advocacy, Johnnie Walker

For over 15 years Mike DaRe has developed and led strategic communications, sponsorship and partnership agendas for some of the world’s biggest brands including, Johnnie Walker, Reebok, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Proctor and Gamble. Passionate about helping brands find and play their role in culture, Mike has driven a range of ground-breaking advocacy, influencer and media relations work that has delivered tangible results to the bottom line.

Over the last decade Mike has forged and leveraged connections between brands and a series of high profile events and moments in culture including Formula One, multiple Super Bowls, CMT Country Music Awards, MLB All-Star Games and The Daytona 500.

His most recent work was a global Bladerunner 2049 partnership with Johnnie Walker, a fully integrated campaign that included limited edition consumer-facing product design and release, highly visible product placement, bespoke content creation with director Denis Villeneuve and an acclaimed immersive consumer experience at the flagship Comicon event in San Diego.

During his time with Johnnie Walker his cultural advocacy strategy has been critical in taking the performance of the world’s most valuable Whisky brand back into consistent growth, demonstrating Mike’s belief that a brand’s work in culture must deliver measurable business results.

Martyn Wilson - Head of Sponsorship & Hospitality, RBS 

Martyn Wilson - Head of Sponsorship & Hospitality, RBS  As Head of Sponsorship & Hospitality at RBS, Martyn has responsibility for defining and implementing the bespoke sponsorship strategies that support the brand & commercial objectives of their 12 brands (NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, Coutts, etc.) & 3 customer facing franchises. Martyn’s sponsorship career started in 2000 and before joining RBS he worked with a handful of agencies on the execution of some great brands’ sponsorship activation (e.g. Tennent’s Lager, Sky, Whyte & Mackay and CIS Insurance).

Irene Gowing - Communications Manager, Bord Gáis Energy

Irene Gowing - Communications Manager, Bord Gáis Energy

Irene joined Bord Gáis Energy in 2008 and was involved in the design and creation of the organisation’s sponsorship programme. Today as Communications Manager she is responsible for defining and implementing the Brand, Sponsorship and PR strategy for Bord Gáis Energy.

With 15 years industry experience in the energy and construction sectors Irene is a highly qualified marketing professional with a passion for strategic thinking.

Joe Rafferty - Director, Mass Participation Sports, Titan Experience

Joe Rafferty - Director, Mass Participation Sports, Titan Experience

Joe is a sponsorship & events professional with over 15 years’ experience working across every facet of the sports and events industry.

Joe began his career with Nike in Ireland, before moving to Adidas to head up the brand’s sponsorship and event activities for running across the UK & Ireland. While with Adidas, Joe recruited and activated properties including Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill, the London Marathon, UK Athletics and the Adidas Dublin Marathon.

Prior to returning to Dublin in 2015, Joe was Business Development Director for EMEA at IMG, where he had overall responsibility for a number of high profile projects including the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, the EMEA roll out of The Color Run, the world’s biggest event series and Run To The Beat, a London based Half Marathon.

Since his return to Ireland, Joe has led brand activations for Three Mobile, Heineken Rugby & Bord na Mona on properties including the FAI, Electric Picnic, Longitude, 3Arena and the National Ploughing Championships.

Joe joined TITAN Experience in January 2017 where he is Director of the Mass Participation Division within the agency. His events include the Virgin Media Night Run, Affidea Rock n Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon, IRONMAN 70.3 Dublin and the Great Dublin.





Like Us On Facebook! Follow Our Twitter Page! Visit Our LinkedIn Page! Visit Our Youtube Page! Instagram
Sponsors & Supporters
The Brand Fans
Media Central
Amárach Research
Business River
Communications Partner
The Irish Times