Team expenses in Kerry crept over the €1m mark this year but the county board coffers enjoyed a €141,485 profit, writes John Fogarty.
Having incurred a slight deficit of €10,772 last year, Kerry treasurer Weeshie Lynch will be in a position to inform delegates at annual convention later this month that the accounts are in good health.
Including fundraising, the total comes to €323,043.
Kerry’s team expenses total was €997,762 in 2016, jumping to €1,030,443 this year, an increase of 3%. The rise was largely down to the county reaching the Division 1 final, which they won, and the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo.
The U21 footballers also had an extra game. Deducting Central Council team expenses grants (€154,000) and Munster Council team expenses grants (€44,760), the net cost represents €831,000.
Training expenses for the senior footballers rose from €289,935 to € 311,182 and the hurlers (€114,006 to €136,680), although the improved mileage rate for players — 50 cent per mile to 65 cpm — contributed to part of that. Physiotherapy and medical expenses of €184,000 are down €12,000 from 2016.
There is a concern for the board that gate receipts have decreased by 7%, the attendances down for this year’s senior football semi-finals and final, leading to a shortfall of €35,000.
Lynch believes a Saturday afternoon in Killarney might not be an opportune time to stage matches; instead he suggests the idea of more Saturday evening games under lights in Austin Stack Park.
Kerry’s Allianz Football League gate receipts improved because of bumper home games against Mayo and Dublin in Tralee as well as earning a share of the gate for the final win over Dublin. That the Munster final was unexpectedly staged in Fitzgerald Stadium this year also helped Kerry but Lynch is obviously mindful of the coming years where they owe Cork a number of games in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The running of the soon-to-be-opened centre of excellence and training hub in Currans will also add to costs, which Lynch reports Kerry have only borrowed a third (€2.4m) of what was spent in making it a reality.
Kerry’s long-term borrowings will rise to approximately €3.5m once Currans is finished and Lynch puts particular emphasis on the county’s international fundraising initiatives as helping to pay off those loans. Kerry didn’t travel to the US this year but will return next year having enjoyed successful fundraising drives there, which went towards the development of Currans.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.