Northern Ireland news

Footballer creates mobile app for fans to follow GAA matches

A GAA footballer's new mobile phone app allows fans to follow real-time updates from club matches. Brendan Hughes finds out how it works

Pomeroy footballer Sean Quinn, who has created mobile app Hopball for live updates of club matches. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

IT'S a familiar task for many GAA fans attending local club matches – updating friends and family unable to attend with the all-important scores.

With phones in hands, supporters busily text from the sidelines to relay the latest happenings to those at home and abroad.

But could a new mobile app – the brainchild of a young footballer – help aid fans in this sporting duty?

Hopball aims to create a one-stop online community where users from across the globe can view and post their own live updates from GAA matches.

The free app has been created by software engineer Sean Quinn (24), a player for Pomeroy Plunketts GAC and winner of an All-Ireland minor medal with Tyrone in 2010.

So far it has had more than 2,000 downloads, and the more than 500 people signed up as users have reported on matches in counties including Tyrone and Tipperary.

Mr Quinn hopes to encourage more GAA fans to get involved so that live updates are available for a wide range of games – from underage fixtures to senior inter-county club games.

"A lot of people are abroad and they want to follow their local club, so I thought it would be a good idea that they could follow it while the match is going on," he said.

"People can follow scores simultaneously to see how it's going.

"There was a girl who said her mum used to text her every two minutes during a match, but then she put it all on Hopball. Now she just talks about it when she gets home."

Mr Quinn, who lives in Belfast, is no stranger to entrepreneurial spirit as his family owns the Pomeroy-based mineral water company Rocwell, a former sponsor of Tyrone GAA.

"I actually plan to start a software company in a few months myself, and that's probably just from growing up involved in the family business."

He said he began working on the app in November and launched it in March this year.

"It's kind of like Live Score for soccer. It's kind of like that concept but it's crowd-sourced," he said.

"It's free to download, it's free to register and there's no adverts. I just created it because I thought it would be a cool app to have."

The footballer added that the content is monitored by the app's community, where users can "down-vote" others if they give incorrect information.

"The good thing for the clubs is that they can update the score using their phone, then they can just press a button to tweet or send it to Facebook," he said.

"It allows them to easily keep their members up to date through their own social media, so it kind of works in two ways."

Hopball is available from Google Play and the iPhone App Store. See hopball.ie for more details.

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