Sweeney: We could not afford NY trip

Leitrim secretary Diarmuid Sweeney has revealed the county could not afford to fulfil last month’s FBD ‘away’ final fixture against New York.

Leitrim informed Connacht Council they would be unable to foot the €20,000 bill involved in making the trip stateside, with the provincial hierarchy announcing on Wednesday night they were scraping the annual fixture.

“We have a number of developments ongoing in the county and it just wasn’t financially possible to do it this year,” said Sweeney.

Leitrim had already forked out €20,000 for this summer’s Connacht SFC first round clash in New York and despite financial assistance from the provincial council, a second trip was unviable.

“We would have received a grant from the Connacht Council but there still would have been a shortfall. It isn’t easy to fork out €20,000 and that’s hoping you get away with that figure. On top of that, we had the trip to New York for the Connacht championship back in May and that had similar costs involved.”

Connacht Council secretary John Prenty said it had reached the stage where counties were afraid to win the FBD league given the costs incurred in travelling to New York for the ‘away’ decider.

“All counties had got to the point where they were thinking could they afford to win it. Leitrim won the FBD league back in January and they were already planning a trip over to New York for the championship so it wasn’t easy for them. The decision to do away with the ‘away’ final is something we have been considering for a number of years because of the economic climate here at home; the costs involved for counties going there and what not.

“We spoke with the New York Board and in fairness, they saw it coming. The writing was on the wall. The fixture was of no financial benefit to New York. It didn’t draw a big crowd out there. It was an end of year showpiece, but New York’s season was over. Their team wasn’t in training.

“The FBD ‘away’ final costs in the region of €40,000. The breakdown for that would have been 50-50 between ourselves and Leitrim. Last year Mayo informed us they wouldn’t be travelling over very late in the day when all the arrangements were made and we fined them accordingly. Leitrim did give us due notice this year and we weren’t going to fine them because we had no arrangements made. They were already over there for the championship. It cost them a lot of money to go then and when you add the whole lot together, it wasn’t financially viable for them to go a second time.”

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