Lynagh: Impossible to compete with the game’s big spenders

WESTMEATH County Board secretary Pat Lynagh admitted “much deliberation” went into the reappointment of senior football team boss Pat Flanagan for next season.

The Lake County gained promotion from Division 3 of the Allianz Football League but suffered heavy championship defeats against Wexford and Antrim.

Flanagan had to survive a vote of no confidence, which was later withdrawn, before delegates backed him to continue via secret ballot at a specially convened meeting in early August.

Board delegates came under fire from ace forward Denis Glennon, who spoke in favour of Flanagan’s reappointment in a local newspaper while also accusing the board of failing to look after the needs of the players during the 2011 campaign.

But in his report to next weekend’s annual convention, Lynagh hit back and insisted it’s simply impossible to compete with the game’s big spenders.

And Lynagh called on Croke Park top brass to divert more money to counties like Westmeath, rather than pumping huge amounts into “big centres of population.”

“It is not easy being a manager these days but credit has to be given for promotion to Division 2 and a [Leinster] semi-final appearance in U21,” he said.

“Disappointment must also be expressed at our [senior] championship performances and at our U21 semi-final game. Pat Flanagan, after much deliberation, is reappointed for another year, and we wish him well.

“Regarding inter-county teams — our county and many similar size counties have to compete with limited resources. It is just not possible to spend the type of money bigger counties can to prepare our county teams. It is a fact that Croke Park pump vast amounts of money to the big centres of population but our county and others are expected to have all infrastructure in place for our teams.

“The bigger counties can also attract far greater amounts of sponsorship. In my view, financial help would need to be diverted towards counties like Westmeath, on a similar scale to bigger cities.”

Meanwhile, Louth County Board has reported a healthy profit for the third successive year to cap an amazing turnaround in the county’s finances.

In early 2009, former Wee County board treasurer Aidan Halpin warned of potential financial ruin for the Louth county board after a record deficit of €119,000 was reported in 2007.

A loss of €66,000 followed a year later but under Halpin’s watch, the recovery began and just months after speaking in terms of a doomsday scenario, he was happy to announce a €20,000 surplus for the 2008 year.

After succeeding Halpin as treasurer, Aidan Berrill reported a profit of €8,664 in 2010 and now, a whopping surplus of €91,719 for the 2011 financial year has been revealed.

Remarkably, income has increased by over €35,000 from last year, to €772,152, while expenditure was cut by almost €48,000 to €680,433.

Commercial income, including team sponsorship, is down by almost €14,000 this year but local gate receipts have jumped by almost €18,000 from last year’s figures, to a record high of €220,107. County team administration expenses have dropped considerably, due mainly to the fact that Louth, having contested a Leinster senior football final in 2010, exited the provincial championship after just one game this year.

€263,011 was spent on the preparation of Louth’s various inter-county teams in 2011, a significant drop from the €316,868 figure reported last year.

However the costs of operating the Wee County’s centre of excellence at Darver rose by over €24,000 this year, up from €128,181 to €152,267.

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