Offaly move to halt summer exodus

Offaly GAA chiefs have moved to ensure there will be no repeat of the player exodus they suffered before the All-Ireland senior footballer qualifiers this year.

The county was hit with a spate of withdrawals following their Leinster SFC defeat to Kildare with many of the players heading to the United States.

Offaly were then hammered 1-27 to 0-8 at home by Mickey Harte’s Tyrone.

However, county bosses have now decided not to sign any sanction forms for county players until Offaly are out of the championship.

Secretary Tommy Byrne told delegates at convention: “Losing 13 players to summer emigration, withdrawals and injuries would have a devastating effect on any team and it is a situation that cannot be allowed happen again. The Board has decided we will not sign sanction forms for any player that has played in the first round of the championship until our interest has concluded.”

Byrne added that “this measure was passed a recent management committee meeting and it means that every player who trains throughout the year will be committed to the Offaly cause in the summer.”

The annual accounts were also unveiled and they showed that the county board ran a deficit of €100,740 in 2013, up from €69,677 in 2012. County teams’ administration expenses increased from €393,568 to €467,979. There was some good news as the recently redeveloped O’Connor Park continues to act as a good source of revenue. Gate receipts were up by 21% to €328,465, while ground rent increased by nearly €25,000 to €89,529, boosted by high profile fixtures such as Sunday’s Leinster Club SFC final.

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