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Two leading Irish international Companies continue their expansion into US

two Irish Companies

Andrew McElhinney, Managing Director, O’Donnell’s Bakery and Cristina McCusker, Export Manager, O’Neills Sportswear.


Two long and well established companies from the North West of Ireland, both recognised internationally for their quality products will travel to Boston this November as part of a unique overseas trade mission. Although both companies are already established in the States, they hope to further grow their distribution network extensively in the next 12 months.


O’Neills Irish International sports company is a customised sportswear manufacturer, founded in 1918. They supply high performance custom designed and personalised playing gear, training gear and leisure wear for a range of sports which includes Gaelic, Rugby, Soccer, Hockey, Basketball, Cricket, Athletics and Netball. They already supply over 7000 schools, clubs and universities, as well as professional teams worldwide to countries including Ireland, UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia, USA and Australia.


This is O’Donnell’s Bakery’s second trade mission trip to Boston. Prior to their first trip in 2016, they already had established a presence in the US, bringing their much sought after Irish Baking products to the Irish diaspora. Irish stores and outlets across cities such as New York and Philadelpia already stock their premium products. From Irish wheaten breads, soda breads and barn bracks and to an amazing 87 different product ranges their distribution partners based in New York said that they just can’t keep up with the demand from their customers. Since establishing partnerships in the US only 18 months ago, 10% of O’Donnells Bakery’s turnover is now exported to the US. 


O’Neill's aim as part of this trade mission, is to develop the market for their products in the US North East region through sports clubs, high schools and colleges, focusing particularly on supplying personalised branded kits for their individual sports programmes. Their already popular online shop, which offers a full range of products, is exceptional in that it also offers their clients an Online Kit Builder, giving their customers the flexibility of designing the kit they require in any colour combination as well as incorporating relevant crests and logos to the designs chosen. The online shop is offering a full range a products both county and club personalised that can be purchased individually by customers around the world. The Online kit builder is aimed at clubs that would design their team kit online and then purchase in bulk (not online).


O’Donnell’s Bakery are delighted to get this opportunity to get a chance to be “on the ground” and placed in front of potential distributors from this part of the States. Speaking on behalf of O’Donnell’s Bakery, Managing Director, Andrew McElhinney said, "From our research,  there is a population of 33.3 million people in the US recorded as having Irish heritage and we aim to capture at least 1% of this market - for us this would be huge."


The education sector is of particular interest to O’Neill’s Sportswear and they hope to be able to establish a presence in this part of the US. Export Manager, Cristina McCusker for O’Neill’s Sportswear said, “Our cutting edge designs and our durable fabrics, as well as our in-house design and production turnaround have already established us firmly as an internationally preferred supplier of world class. We hope to visit Boston and establish strong links on the ground there that would support our newly appointed sales representative in developing the market for our products. We are confident that the work that this delegation has already done, will give us an advantage before we travel."


The biggest advantage that O’Donnell’s Bakery has over their competition, is that they manufacture their products using traditional and secret recipes from old Irish recipes that locals and the Irish living abroad, consider as a “Taste of Home”. They use traditional methods of baking while applying modern techniques and only use the finest local ingredients located in the North West of Ireland.


"Creating and sustaining employment in a rural but stunningly beautiful unspoilt part of Ireland’s North West is extremely important to our team and our future plans. Getting this chance to continue to grow our export business, especially to the US, will secure this tradition and create employment in our county, for many years to come,” concludes Andrew McElhinney.


Both these companies hope to build on the connections they have already made and recognise the value of the firm foundation that has already been established between Boston and Ireland’s North West organisations including Donegal County Council, Derry City & Strabane District Council and the Local Enterprise Office along with other participating organisations Údarás na nGaeltachta, Invest NI, Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the North West Regional College.”


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