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Mobile phones have become an indispensable tool at sporting organisations for everything from managing fixtures and organising training sessions to taking care of logistics.
That effect is multiplied when the sporting organisation is a GAA county board. Longford GAA oversees 22 adult clubs, as well as 18 underage teams, playing more than 1,100 games every year between February and October. That’s not to mention the county’s representative teams. “I live on the phone. It’s as simple as that,” says Longford GAA County Secretary Peter O’Reilly.
Longford county board uses Three voice and data for five smartphones: three iPhones, a HTC handset and Peter’s own Nokia Lumia. As county secretary, he is often the first port of call for queries from clubs, sponsors, or GAA headquarters. “Coverage is hugely important – in fact, it’s vital, because if you’re out and about and you can’t attend to things until you get back to your office or home, the day gets longer,” he says.
As well as voice calls, data services have become essential to organising the workload at Longford GAA. Many of the volunteers spend time coaching and upskilling. Longford’s coaches visit 38 primary schools and seven secondary schools around the county to keep up interest in underage football and hurling, and to keep a steady supply of players for senior teams in years to come.
“Email is a big thing for us: for myself when I’m out of the office and for coaches who would be on the road, some part of every day of the week. They look at their emails, so the phone is their office. From that point of view, coverage is very important,” Peter says.
As Longford’s representatives rely more heavily on internet access, Three’s unlimited data offer means they can count on connectivity without suffering bill shock. “We have an All You Can Eat Data plan. We would be heavy users of email rather than browsing, but it’s something you need to have,” says Peter. “I’m happy with Three. The plans we have suit us. Our phone bills have come down in the last three or four years, and the service has improved,” he adds.
Peter also praises Three’s attentive customer service, fast response, and wide range of handsets. “I would renew a contract with Three before talking to anyone else,” he says.
Email is important for the coaches who are on the road visiting schools, clubs etc. The phone is their office. From that point of view, coverage is very important.