€250,000 league bonanza for Kilkenny and Tipperary

ALLIANZ HL DIVISION 1 FINAL:
Tipperary v Kilkenny
Kilkenny and Tipperary are both winners ahead of Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League final as the competing counties are set to share a €100,000 windfall from the glamour Thurles decider.

Tipperary's Paddy Stapleton and Kilkenny's Eoin Larkin meet up ahead of Sunday's Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final. Picture: Sportsfile
Tipperary's Paddy Stapleton and Kilkenny's Eoin Larkin meet up ahead of Sunday's Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final. Picture: Sportsfile

And when monies from the collective hurling league pool are shared out, Kilkenny and Tipperary will scoop an estimated €250,000 between them.

At a time when cash-strapped county boards are attempting to balance the books while also investing money in the quest for success, going all the way to a league decider is a massive boost for both counties.

Premier County board chairman Sean Nugent has confirmed Tipp’s appearance in front of a 23,000 attendance at Nowlan Park in last year’s corresponding fixture netted them €50,000. And with Nugent hoping for a crowd of over 20,000 at Semple Stadium, Tipp’s coffers will receive another timely cash injection.

Figures revealed at last year’s annual Kilkenny County Board convention showed that winning another league title yielded almost €130,000 for the Cats. And Tipp top brass confirmed in their financial report that their 2013 National League share was almost €150,000, up from €120,984 in the previous financial year.

Nugent stressed success on the field is critical to fundraising initiatives.

“For example, just supposing the worst went to the worst on that day against Dublin and we won by two points, and were facing into a relegation play-off against Waterford, it would be very difficult for us to run fundraising events,” he said.

“Confidence wouldn’t be high among supporters and they would be a bit unhappy. We’re thankful that our manager and players got us out of that corner and now we’re in a position where confidence is present and contributions are being made by people to help our finances.”

Naturally, Tipperary’s senior hurlers remain the county’s flagship team, despite the march of the footballers to Division 4 glory.

Nugent admitted league football revenue is “minimal” and some home games have actually lost money.

“Attendances at those games are pretty low but the fact that you’re in a pool is beneficial. You’re getting revenue from other games where there are bigger attendances,” he said.

Kilkenny County Board treasurer Barry Hickey explained that the home team receives 20% of the gate for a league fixture, with that figure used to cover associated medical, food and security costs. And it is also understood that the winners of next Sunday’s tie will receive an additional €10,000 from competition sponsors Allianz, as a one-off bonus payment.

Hickey said: “We’ve had very good runs in the league and that means an awful lot to us in the running of our affairs.”

Earlier in the year, Tipp manager Eamon O’Shea declared he had “no ambition” for the league but the team’s progress to a second successive decider will benefit the county.

Nugent explained: “Team management understand where you’re coming from in relation to finance.

“We have to be fairly prudent and cautious about it and team managements are very much part of that factor.

“And they’re conscious that if more revenue can be brought in through reaching the concluding stages of the league, that will benefit other aspects of team preparation.”

Nugent also revealed that money due to Tipperary from the league pool can be accessed centrally from July, explaining: “The important thing, as I see it, is that gives you that bit of finance later, if you progress in the championship. If you don’t have it, you have to spend a lot of energy raising that finance. That [league] money can be accessed from Croke Park in July, if you require it, when the accounts are completed.”

The clear message from both counties is that going as far as possible in the league has huge financial benefits. And in the continuing quest to get their books back on an even keel, Nugent revealed how hard he and his fellow officers are working behind the scenes.

On May 16, former Republic of Ireland soccer international Niall Quinn will spearhead a fundraising drive for the Tipperary GAA board in London.

Quinn, whose parents hail from the Premier County, will be one of the guests of honour at a corporate lunch at the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel.

County board chiefs are hoping to raise €40,000 and cash generated for the event has been earmarked for the ongoing redevelopment work at the Dr Morris Park training base in Thurles.

The glamour bash will give Tipperary natives in the greater London area the chance to mingle with former Sunderland striker and Dublin minor Quinn and ex-Tipp senior stars Nicky English and Brendan Cummins.

Current Tipp senior hurling team manager O’Shea will also be in attendance.

Tipp county board officials have also organised a race day in Galway on Monday, July 28, when it is hoped that another €40,000 will be raised.

Financial breakdown of Sunday’s game

- Semple Stadium will earn 20% of the gate, out of which the ground is responsible for paying all of the venue-related costs associated with staging the event — security, catering etc.

- 6% of the gate goes to the Player Injury Scheme. This is the fund that meets the cost of paying medical expenses for injured players during the year.

- 5% of the gate goes to the GAA Insurance fund and contributes to the annual insurance premiums for all units.

- 25% of the revenues are pooled and the total pool is distributed among those counties who earn the least from the competition in any one year.

- There are some other minor costs deducted such as referee travel expenses etc

- The remainder is divided equally between the two competing counties, approximately 22% each.



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