How to improve the International Rules Series & want to do with the Inter-provincial Championship?

Why not combine them, in an end of season competition both side of the globe!

Sounds simple, it is and should have many benefits for the GAA and AFL as well as the 4 provincial councils.


2 annual competitions running in both Ireland & Australia with a fixed 5 year promise and dates.

In Ireland teams would play for the Railway Cup and in Australia teams would play for the Cormac McAnallen Cup


Ireland                                                     Australia

Connacht                                                  New South Wales

Leinster                                                     Queensland

Munster                                                     South & West Australia

Ulster                                                         Victoria

A Draw would take place to see which 2 Irish and Australian teams would face each other, than a system of rotation would be put in place to make sure that each team would play a home series and away series on rotation of 1 or 2 years.


Railway Cup                                      Cormac McAnallen Cup

Connacht                                             Queensland

Ulster                                                    Victoria

New South Wales                               Leinster

S/W Australia                                      Munster

Home “States/Province” will get 1 game at home bringing income in from the game. With final & ¾ play-off being played in Capital(s) with the ruling bodies getting the income from ticket sales.


S/F 1. Connacht v New South Wales @ Pearse Stadium – Galway (Fri pm IRE – Sat am AUS)

S/F 2. Ulster v S/W Australia @ Casement Park – Belfast (Sat pm – Sun am)

Final & ¾ Play-off (Double Header) @ Croke Park – Dublin (Sat pm – Sun am)

S/F1. Queensland v Leinster @ The Gabba – Brisbane (Sat pm – Sat am)

S/F2. Victoria v Munster @ MCG – Melbourne (Sun pm – Sun am)

Final & ¾ Play-off (Double Header) @ SCG – Sydney (Sun pm – Sun am)

But why?

Increase the number of teams taking part, jumping from 2 to 8 giving the series more competition and credibility.

One of the biggest annual sporting events in Australia is the Rugby League “State of Origin” which is played between New South Wales & Queensland, The Series brings in big crowds and the money follows. Victoria which is the birth place of AFL does not have an interstate competition for the fans to get behind.

Would give the Inter-provincial teams a greater importance in Ireland, giving the players a greater challenge and the fans a stable series to get behind.

Teams would be picked on Origin of birth, giving Irish AFL players an opportunity to play for the Province as well as Current GAA & AFL players a chance to play for the Province/State in a high level international competition.


Control of the 2 series being with the home governing body.

Set dates for the annual competition, so fans know when and where the games will be played, encouraging an increase of tourism for the host cities.

Bigger and better competition(s) in both Ireland & Australia each year. Increasing number of teams and players playing International Rules. Which will lead to an increase of interest with fans.

Increase in Sponsorship, 2 title sponsors (one in Ireland, one in Australia), and an increase in secondary sponsors.

Number of Kits for sale increasing, as well as the number of Primary & Secondary kit sponsors increasing. Giving both GAA & AFL greater negotiating power with Kit manufacturers and sponsors.

Host Cities/Stadia after 1st year (which largest conurbations are used to develop the 2 series) the host cites and stadiums would be open to bidding from county boards in conjunction with local councils, tourism and development organisations, giving the best possible deals for GAA/AFL. Bids should be open to non GAA grounds (Should be no issue if Thomond Park, Kingspan Stadium & Aviva Stadium bid for a game, as long as it is beneficial to the GAA/AFL as a whole). Also should not be any issue on Stadiums from outside Ireland & Australia bidding for final double headers giving chance for London or Auckland to bid for the game – We all know that there is enough Irish and Aussies living and working in London for there to be a demand for tickets. An off shoot of the bidding process should lead county boards to develop their main grounds to be of standard to host a game. Minimum Stadiums should be set by GAA/AFL when bidding process opens.

TV Rights – the GAA/AFL should be able to get better deal from the TV companies for both for live games and highlights, Irish Series (4 games) Live and Highlights & Australian Series (4 games) live and Highlights giving both GAA (Ireland & UK) and AFL (Australia & NZ)  4 TV packages to sell. Rest of world and online can be sold as joint packages for both GAA and AFL. A total of 8 (+ RoW & online) will increase revenue for the GAA & AFL.

Will that my plan, what do you think – would it, could it work? Would it benefit the 2 competitions? Would fans get behind the 2 new series? Would love to hear your thoughts……


Bringing the World of Twitter to a Local Level….

To Tweet or Not To Tweet, that is the question?

The reason I love twitter over other types of social media is down to two reasons.

  1. Being dyslexic, I found the 140 characters format suited me, made me focus on the words with less chance of making mistakes and getting hammered by the unforgiving Grammar Police.
  2. It’s real time and opens doors to people you would never get chance to speak to. Watching a big TV event, with twitter at your side can enhance your viewing pleasure ☺

I once tweeted Alastair Campbell (the ex-Labour Party Spin Doctor). And he used my words from our twitter conversation on the BBC’s Football Focus Show… I felt like a Spin Doctor for a Spin Doctor for the day!!

The Twitter age is before us, not behind us.

To understand how to bring the world of Twitter to a local level you must first understand what is local?

I came to Mayo with work, fell in love with the place. So moved over 3 and a bit year’s ago. Was a bit of a culture shock – being born and raised in Leeds, Yorkshire (You can tell a Yorkshireman, but you can’t tell him much!). So with no family connections to the area I found it difficult to find out what was going on in Mayo, where to go, where to buy certain items etc. Back in Leeds I would pop onto Google or Twitter and 99 times out of 100 the answer would be there in seconds. Here in Mayo when I started looking, Google & Twitter was not the answer. So what choices did I have?

  1.  Local Radio? Would guess that it is still the number 1 for information on what’s going on in Mayo. I like to drop in and out of radio, mainly listening whilst in the car. So it is hit and miss whether I heard the information I required.
  2. Local Newspapers? Can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper (whether here in Mayo or back in the UK). Do use the newspapers websites, but the local ones are not the best.
  3. Local Websites? Less said about them the better, out of date information, not mobile friendly. In fairness the website re-launched with a nice website, but it mainly focuses on the bigger events and news.
  4. Local Social Media? Mainly Facebook and very tribal, North Mayo did not interact with South Mayo, West Mayo doesn’t know what’s going on in East Mayo!! And a number of accounts that have a good number of followers, but have not tweeted since 1842 ☺

If twitter be the food of love, tweet on.

As you can see there was a need, but how and why can my story help you?

Starting from scratch and building an account:

Although the number of followers is not important, you can’t be an expert in your field if you only have 65 followers, you can be an expert offline however you will come across more credible as you build followers and if you put in a little time and follow the below tips will not be long before you are a larger following, remember each of your followers can be classed part of your marketing team!

Plan how you are going to build your follower base, who do you want to follow you and why? Make sure your account is of interest to followers that you are going after. Remember there is a limit of how many people you can follow so choose wisely. Plan it weekly, target around 500 hundred people by following them, BUT make sure that you tweet something that will make them follow you (Example target Mayo GAA fans tweet 2 or 3 tweets about Mayo GAA before you follow them, they are more likely to follow you back). Starting off from little or more followers do this weekly, but as time goes on can be a monthly process to keep the account fresh. You will find once you get passed the magic Twitter 2K you will automatically get more people following you, as people are sheep and like to follow who other people are following (not a dig, just human nature).

Friday: Tweet your 2/3 tweets that followers are going to find of interest. Follow your targeted 500. Leave them as following over the weekend. Monday: Start unfollowing them by 100 per day (most free apps have a limited of 100). You will be level by Friday so repeat the process. Unfollowing rule Verified-Private-EggHeads-6months-3months-1months-Rest (I use android Unfollowers). As a rule out of the 500 you should gain between 150/250 followers. (I use android TweepMap).

Build your account base by using the following rotating methods:

LOCAL: follow people that are in and around your town/county/region. If you are a new business it’s a great tool to get your name out there, putting yourself on the local map. Do a Twitter search for the town or area (#Cong or #Mayo).

INTEREST: follow people that are in the same of similar fields of interest to you, make sure you spread your search wide, don’t forget look to the US or the UK – twitter is a great introduction tool. You never know what a Twitter connection will lead to.

COMPETITION: As well as following your competition, follow who they are following, they are following your competition for a reason!

COMMUNITY/CHARITY GROUPS: Make sure you follow Community Groups, Charities and other organisations in your local/Interest area, and don’t forget to help them out with the occasional retweet, shows that you and your business is in touch with the “real world”.

Tweet, Tweet, mere tweets, no matter from the heart.

Do’s & Don’ts

Decide what you want from your twitter page, whether it will be primarily a business page or personal page, not an issue if you have more than one, but you can link them in your Bio! If you are the business, remember to keep it professional and don’t get involved in arguments or rants, will only look bad on your business.

Only use DM’s as private message service, do not send automated thanks for following DM’s it’s only going to be deleted! And DO NOT send a “Thanks for Following, PS don’t forget to check us out on Facebook”  if I want to follow you on another platform I will, it’s like going into a pub and asking for a pint of Guinness, paying for it and then the landlord asking you if you want a pint of Heineken? If I would have wanted a pint of Heineken I would have asked for a pint of Heineken!!!!!

Be nice and helpful, Twitter is a NETWORK just like BNI or a Chamber of Commerce, if someone you are following needs a builder, and you know Bob is following you, connect them by a tweet. If someone new follows you, no need to send them a thank you tweet, better option is look at their tweets and if there is something relevant to your account give them a retweet instead. Don’t forget if someone retweets you for the first time do make a connection and thank them for the retweet.

Look out for the Twitter hours, lots out there great FREE way of promoting (soft sell) you or your business and building your follower base, Join in the chat using the defined hashtags, good way to grow your followers and get new business.

If you have the time keep your entire social pages separate, but if you don’t have time make sure you use the correct tool to post updates. Nothing worse than seeing a tweet with just on it, you will gain twitter followers, if you are seen as a Facebook account on Twitter! (If you share links on FB make sure you add a comment).

Do use Twitter for customer service issue (especially with the BIG service providers) you get an issue resolved quicker than an email or hanging on the phone. Don’t forget to send a thank you tweet once the issue is sorted. But it works both ways if you are running a company make sure your customer service on twitter is also first class.

And last of all, the best Twitter (all social media) pages are the ones that act as themselves, don’t try to be something you are not, wear your heart on your sleeve! People will see through you very quickly, as the saying goes takes months to get a new customer, but only takes seconds to lose them. Don’t be afraid to try new apps or ways of tweeting – learn by playing with it, but do not be afraid to ask for help, put it out there you will be surprised how much help you will get!


4 Takeaways:

  1. Follow people back, don’t be a Twitter Snob! But learn where your “mute” button is. #FollowBack.
  2. Stuck on 2K ditch the celebs! They are never going to follow you back and if they do say something “Big” on twitter someone you are following will probably retweet it anyway. Don’t following back “Private” Accounts, no point you can’t retweet anything from them, and pending follows, stop you following other people.  #CreateANetwork.
  3. Twitter is real time, so use your phone as your primary tool for twitter. #RealTime.
  4. Get yourself a good “managing app” and keep your account up to date, get in to the habit of looking after your account on a daily basis. #FirstCupOfCoffeeRoutine.

Visit to Winter Wonderland at Westport House

The following blog is about my family’s trip to see Santa at The Winter Wonderland, Westport House (Sunday 29th November 2015).

This was our second trip to see Santa at Westport House, had a great time last year so we came back!

The day is all planned out around your booking time to see Santa with plenty of activities to do before or after seeing him. (Do allow plenty of time for your visit, as it is VERY popular and all the activities are busy).

We were booked in at 5pm to see Santa, so planned to get there 2 or so hours before, to make sure we had time for all the activities, saying that we were a little delayed, due to watching Andy Murray on the box!

SignpostsWhen we got to Westport House we were met at reception by one of the many elves (Santa’s little helpers). Given a leaflet with all the activities on it. Great first impression was made and a BIG fuss was made of Samuel (our 5 1/2 year old son). Instructions were given on where and when to make our way to the Santa visit and  I must say that there is plenty of signposts along the way, so you will never get lost!

First stop was “Make Your Own Yuletide Log” This is a Parent/Child activity,Log after a 5 or so minute wait (which the elf kept all waiting informed and interacted with us) we started to make our Yuletide Log, full instructions and safety warning were given by the Yuletide Elf! A log with a candle is provided and plenty of holly, evergreen leaves and pine-cones to make your own design of the Yuletide log. A great family activity. Emma (my wife) was the “responsible” adult and was in charge of the glue gun, I was in charge of prepping the green and Sammy was chief prodder (holding the pieces in place, with his own little glue stick). After some great family “teamwork” we have a wonderful centre piece for our Christmas day table.

Next up was the “Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man” This activity is held in one of the many side rooms, and runs from 10.30am behind a closed door, sginger1o you will need to queue for the sessions. The activity is for the children,
with support from parents. The Elf interacted with both kids and adults, so make sure that you are up for a bit of light-hearted singing! The Gingerbread Elf did a great job in telling the story of the Gingerbread man, making sure all the children were included and got them in the mood for making the gingerbread elf. We just about got it done before we had to go to see Santa (the main event).

You need to make sure you are up at the entrance for the Grotto 10 minutes before your booking, all kids have to be checked in and given a name badge. Only a small number of children grottoare in with each session, so they all have an equal chance of a good chat with Santa. Last year’s Santa had a look that you would say was a traditional Scandinavian St. Nicholas look, but this years was straight out of the Richard Attenborough school of Father Christmases, with a look straight from “Miracle on 34th Street” The children each get a mention from his “Naughty & Nice” book (personal messages can be added at the time of booking, to make it extra special). Each child gets a present from Santa and an opportunity to have their photo taken with and without their parents (photo’s can be purchased in the entrance hall). Samuel loved every minute, transfixed on Santa’s every word, priceless to build memories like that. Each group of children get enough time with Santa, did not feel rushed and Santa was great with the children.

After leaving the grotto, we headed back down the stairs and purchased a photo of him with Santa, there can be a queue after each session finishes so top tip would be leave 5/10 mins and come back after the rush, plenty of other stuff to do.

Next on the visit list was a trip to the Old Kitchen Cafe for a glass of wish1mulled wine and juice for the kids, service was good and with a smile. I recommend you do take a few minutes out just to re-charge the batteries. They have a new menu and it is open from 11am-8pm so plenty of time to get food and refreshments throughout the day. When you are at the cafe do not forget to make a Christmas Wish at the Wishing Tree  in aid of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice.




Well that was the end of this years visit, with still plenty of other activities to do (so we WILL be back next year)!

Other Activities include

  • Visit Mrs Claus’ Storytelling in the Drawing Room
  • Christmas Face Painting
  • Elves Music, Games & Fun in the Dining Room
  • Ride the Westport House Express Train on the Lakeside Loop
  • Kids Making Memories (Christmas Decorations)
  • Train Ride into Town (make a full day of it and visit the delightful town of Westport.

Best recommendation I could make is that we will be back next Christmas to do it all again. Many thanks to Santa, the Elves and all the staff at Westport House for kick-starting Christmas in the Miles Household. Think it was a wonderful weekend to go to Westport House for the Winter Wonderland as it is the same weekend of the #LateLateToyShow so really in the mood for Christmas NOW!


Westport House:



Tips for parents:

Make sure you wear your Christmas Jumpers and join in the fun, makes it more fun for the children if the parents are enjoying it too!

Just beware of the dark nights, and make sure the excited children are safely walking to the car park after their visit to see Santa.


Hope you enjoyed the blog, feel free to leave a message.



#12DaysofMayo – T&C’s

The Promoter is Ben Miles of @allthingsmayo. Promotion is run on behalf of the daily companies involved (please see their T&Cs), no payment is being taken for this promotion.


  1. Entrants must be resident in Republic of Ireland and over 18 at time of entry.
  2. Entrants must not be members or employees, or the immediate family of members or employees, of:

(a) any company or organisation owned, or part owned by Ben Miles, nor any subsidiaries of, associated companies, or agents for, any of these companies; and/or

(b) any individual or company connected with the draw/competition itself.

2a. In entering into the competition/draw, an Entrant warrants to the Promoter that he/she is:

(A) resident in the Republic of Ireland; and

(B) over 18 years of age at the time of entry; and

(C) not a member or employee, or the immediate family of members or employees, of:

  1. any company or organisation owned, or part owned by Ben Miles, nor any subsidiaries of, associated companies, or agents for, any of these companies; and/or
  2. any individual or company connected with the draw/competition itself.
  3. No purchase necessary.
  4. No alternative cash prizes.
  5. To enter the Twitter competition/draw Entrants must:

(i) follow @allthingsmayo AND the Twitter account as directed by @allthingsmayo on the relevant draw day; AND

(ii) Tweet the dedicated hashtag ‘#12DaysofMayo’ during the prize draw period (12 days from Tuesday 1st December, 2015) on

(iii) Include in the tweet #12DaysofMayoDAYX where X is the particular day of the competition. E.g. Day one, each participant must include #12DaysofMayo and #12DaysofMayoDAY1 in their tweet.

The entrant must use the hashtag #12DaysofMayo along with hashtag #!”DaysofMayoDAY? (? being the particular day of the 12 competition) in order to be entered into the draw for each day’s prize. If both the hashtags have not been used, the Entrant’s entry cannot be considered.


  1. In addition to using the dedicated hashtag each day, Entrants into the daily draw must also follow @allthingsmayo AND the Twitter account as directed by @allthingsmayo on each day. An Entrant’s entry into each daily draw will only be valid if the relevant Twitter account has been followed and Entrants have sent a Tweet using that day’s dedicated hashtag and also follow @allthingsmayo at the time the entry is submitted. Entries without the right combination of dedicated hashtag and Twitter account will not be entered into that day’s draw.
  2. Each day’s competition will be started by @allthingsmayo in a Tweet at 10am (the first day of the draw / competition being Tuesday 1st December 2015). The Tweet will contain the dedicated hashtag for that day along with #12DaysofMayo and also the Twitter account Entrants must follow for their entry to be valid. Further Tweets by @allthingsmayo will be sent during the day giving details of the prizes available and signposting these Terms and Conditions. Closing date for entries for each draw is 10pm on the same day of the relevant draw/competition. The prize draw for the first day will take place at after 10pm on Tuesday 1st December, 2015, followed by one prize draw per day until the last prize draw on 12th December, 2015.
  3. Only one entry per person/Entrant per day into each prize draw will be counted as a valid entry. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for entries not successfully completed due to a technical fault or error on the part of the Entrant or a failure by the Entrant to comply with, or adhere to, these Terms and Conditions.
  4. On each day the prize draw takes place one Entrant will be selected as winners; such winners being selected:

(a) at random from all valid entries made that day in relation to that relevant daily draw; and

(b) after 10pm on the day of the relevant prize draw.

Each of the daily winners will be notified by Twitter message after 10:30pm on the day of the relevant daily prize draw.


The Promoter’s decision will be final. The same person cannot win twice during the competition period, even if they enter into more than one daily prize draw.


  1. Each day’s winners will receive the same prize promoted on that day of the competition only. The daily prizes will change each day for 12 consecutive days. Only one prize per Entrant.
  2. Winners must claim prizes by noon on Friday 18th December, 2015. How to claim details will be provided to each winning Entrant with their respective winner’s notification. Winning Entrants will also be required to provide proof of age and Irish residence when claiming their prize.
  3. In the event a winner Entrant fails to claim a prize by noon on Friday 18th December, 2015 or is otherwise disqualified from the draw, that prize will be withdrawn and the entry will be void. Such prize will not be reallocated to another person.
  4. Events may occur that render the prize draw/competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and Entrants agree that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.
  5. Winning Entrants may be required to take part in post-event publicity.
  6. All entries become the property of the Promoter. By submitting an entry Entrants acknowledge and accept these Terms and Conditions.
  7. Promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence or other communication will be entered into regarding the competition/draw referred to in these Terms and Conditions other than as specifically set out in these Terms and Conditions.
  8. All prizes that are “visit” prizes are subject to availability with the host promoter.