Addressing delegates, Cunningham said: “Our finances have turned around this year whereas in 2012 we were in a deficit of €212,000. This year, due to a lot of hard work, our deficit is down to €2,700. As I said in my address last year, we needed to put in place a budget for each team, which we did, and put more fundraising activities put in place.”
Plans are in place for further fundraising ventures in 2014. Said Cunningham: “We hope to run a radio quiz in the spring, a golf classic, and arrangements are at an advanced stage for the Déise Day in Punchestown on May 4.
“It is imperative and it is our responsibility to look after our players and teams so we will be able to compete at the highest standard for the coming season. At the top level at inter-county right now the situation has developed so professionally that we in the county board are obliged to put finance in place so our county teams can compete with the best.”
Auditor Maurice Fitzgerald opened the meeting with a detailed breakdown of the accounts. He said total indebtedness of the board stood at €532,801. This marked a dip of €67,267 on the 2012 figure of €600,068. In this year’s returns, the county increased their income by €161,000, including gains of €73,701 from fundraising. They reduced expenditure by €49,000. Spending on inter-county teams dropped from €534,715 in 2012 to €498,356 in 2013.
The chairman voiced scepticism over the arrival of the black card to football in 2014 and other proposals from the FRC: “The introduction of the black card will cause a lot of controversy, and at national level the GAA pundits on The Sunday Game will really enjoy that. Further changes by the FRC are being proposed and I believe they should be cast aside as football in its present state is a great game and we need no more tampering with the rules.”
He praised TG4’s coverage but criticised RTÉ’s offering: “I believe that Croke Park, when renewing its contract with RTÉ in 2014, should insist that better coverage be given to our national games.”
Western board chairman Eddie Cunningham raised the alarm over the shortage of referees and appealed for former players to step forward.
“Refereeing is at a crisis stage in this county. It will come to a stage that we will have to cancel matches. We need referees urgently,” he said.