We’ve all been there…
Whether on the road or out for dinner at one point in our lives we’ve missed a club match for reasons out of our control. The result sees us caught refreshing Twitter feeds at filling stations and Facebook posts before entrées.
More often than not, we end up at a loss and are left to wait for the club member’s phone call. That call to let us know whether today’s experience ends in agony or ecstasy.
What if we didn’t have to go through that though? What if we could have an instant feed of our club’s fortunes no matter where in the world we find ourselves?
Well, we have that now in What’s The Scór. An app that Gaels all over the world can use to track their club’s progress on matchdays.
Created by Paul Flaherty, the Galway man has turned an idea into a business that in little over a year has amassed 54,000 downloads and counting.
In fact, this weekend, as club teams return to competitive action, What’s The Scór has over 50 games from 15 different counties nationwide that fans can receive instant updates as they happen, straight to their phones.
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Its finally here!! The GAA has returned and @sporttg4 will have Live Coverage of the @officialwexgaa Hurling Championship tonight. @stmartinsgaa will take on @OulartTheBallagh at half 7 on TG4. Click the link on our What's The Scór App to view also. #WTS #TG4 #livesportreturns #GAAScores #GAA
Not to disrespect the 27-year-old entrepreneur but it seems like an idea anyone could have come up with, right? Well, you’d be correct when you consider he himself thought about it years before it came to fruition.
The difference though lies in Flaherty’s conviction and having the courage to tell one’s self to take a leap of faith and go for it. That’s what Paul Flaherty did and so far, he’s not looked back.
“I had an idea for a good while because I was working part-time in the bookies while I was in college,” Flaherty tells Pundit Arena.
“We were right beside a well-known GAA pitch and the punters would come in after the matches and they’d have their accumulators and they’d say, ‘okay two teams are after winning there’ and I’d be like ‘I can’t pay you out, I don’t have any feed to know the final result’.
“So I always thought there was something there. I’m heavily involved with my own club here Abbeyknockmoy hurling club and I thought there was surely something out there that could just feed results straight in.
“The story that I say is that we in 2018, our own club were waiting for a result to determine whether we were out of the championship or not. It was Moycullen and Milltown in 2018 and they were playing at 5 o’clock and we’d training at 7 so myself and a friend were in our home village saying, ‘what’s the point going training if we’re out the championship?’
“So we couldn’t get it [the result] anywhere of Facebook, Twitter, nothing. And that was the euphoria type moment for me.
“From there, I went to Booniverse, an agency in Galway had a chat, met them a heap of times, got the idea rolled out, started funding it then went live in April 2019 and it kicked off from there.
“The people I’d be talking to or discussing things with are the PROs of GAA clubs. I just register the club and they’re on our backend for the club games. All they do is just log in pitch side and update the game. It’s an instant feed you can then follow from anywhere in the world or from your kitchen at home, that’s kind of the idea behind it.”
A GAA app, made by GAA people for GAA people. Given that instant connection that bounds Gaels together, it’s no wonder What’s The Scor has become such a hit.
Over 100 clubs have signed up inside the first year and while Flaherty admits social media has played a key role in creating a snowball effect resulting in the app’s steady rise, it’s that bond between Gaels that allows relationships to flourish and each party to remain happy.
“Social media can be great like you can just reach out to a club on Twitter or Facebook let them know we’re What’s The Scór and that we can send them an email so they can check our product so that’s just how it goes. I just like to keep my customers, the clubs, happy and I think it’ll just keep steadily growing over the next couple of months,
“I’ve nearly over 200 clubs, it is busy talking to them all via emails or WhatsApp and stuff like that but there’s never any kind of negativity. You know, it’s all GAA people and I’m a GAA person and have been since I was seven or eight so I know the ins and outs of what goes on.”
Of course, as a GAA paying customer, it helps to be doing business with an All-Ireland winner and Flaherty holds the proud distinction of having been a member of the Galway panel for their All-Ireland victory in 2017, the county’s first hurling crown in 29 years.
While he did not see as much game time as he would have liked that season, listening to Flaherty discuss how that wider Galway panel helped make heroes out of the men on the pitch, it’s no surprise to see the success he has had away in business.
“The matches we used to have and the training would be so tough but if you’re willing to put in the hard work, the rewards will come of it. For us as a panel of 34, we drove the first team on as well and we used to beat them in A and B matches as well.”
While not currently part of the squad, Flaherty is still Galway to the core and would love to see his friends climbs the steps of the Hogan Stand once more.
“I’m still good friends now with Conor Whelan and Daithi Burke, the two Mannions and stuff like that, we’ll always have that medal together and hopefully they go on and win another one because they deserve it.
“People say 29 years was a bit of a famine but thank God we got the medal on the day.”
As GAA action returns nationwide this weekend, fans and players alike are raring to go.
Unfortunately, however, many will be prohibited from attending. Whether that’s due to government restrictions such as those placed on the “six counties” in Ulster or health restrictions due to social distancing fears, plenty will miss out the GAA’s return to play.
That’s where What’s The Scor comes in as now, there’s never been a better time to download the app and keep up to date with what’s going nationwide.
“I think it will be very beneficial for going forward now.
— What's The Scór (@WhatstheScor) July 16, 2020
“The PRO’s and the secretaries will more than likely be one of the designated members allowed in and our system is very easy to use.
“I think it will be beneficial especially with our user base now which is 54,000 downloads and we’re hoping it can go up to over 100,000 by the end of the year. Especially with more teams coming on board.
“We’ve got a lot more teams coming on board because they see the attraction of what could be very popular because spectators numbers are limited and the older generation that loves going to GAA matches, unfortunately, mightn’t be able to go so at least we can provide them with some alternative to being there.”