The shackles have been released by the GAA’s national finance committee now that Kildare will be presenting a cash surplus of more than €200,000 at the annual convention next month.
The county’s finances have been in perilous position in recent years, with the low point reached in 2012 as the cash deficit exceeded €700,000 despite the implementation of significant cuts, particularly on team expenses.
That led to central chiefs imposing their signatory on the Kildare GAA cheque book but this requirement has been removed as a result of the improved situation in the past 12 months.
Pivotal to the recovery has been the success of what is planned to be an annual Grand Draw, with clubs selling tickets and retaining 65% of their sales, having initially paid €1,000 each to receive their allocations.
The draw took in more than €300,000 and made a €260,000 profit. With €180,000 going back to the clubs, that left the board with an €80,000 profit.
Added to the increase of gate receipts by €70,000 to €240,000, it means the position is looking better than for many years. “We’ve had lots of meetings with Leinster Council and the national finance committee over the last six or seven months, since the draw got up and running” said Kildare treasurer, Alan Dunney at a meeting of the county board on Tuesday night.
“They are very happy we have demonstrated as a group the clubs, the county board and Club Kildare are pulling together and driving Kildare GAA forward. They’ve shown confidence in us by removing the requirement to have their signatory on our cheque book. Basically, we’ve got our financial independence back.
“We have shown we have sustainable finances that can be repeated year in, year out. We have a healthy surplus for 2015 and we can start talking now about how we can reinvest that money.
“All money raised now goes through the county treasurer and Croke Park are no longer signing our cheques.”
The surplus does not include grants received from the sports capital fund and Leinster Council of €185,000 and €40,000 respectively. These will be directed towards the centre of excellence at Hawkfield.
Kildare chairman, Ger Donnelly emphasised this did not mean badly-needed work on the county grounds at St Conleth’s Park, and especially the dressing rooms, would not take place but that it would be unwise to reveal what was being planned until such time as discussions had concluded.
Meanwhile, Kildare have applied to play their Leinster U21 football tie with Offaly next year in Hawkfield.
Elsewhere, former Lilywhite manager Kieran McGeeney has returned to a familiar face in a bid to restore Armagh as contenders in 2016. The Mullaghbawn man has called on former All-Ireland winning team-mate Aidan O’Rourke to join him as a selector and coach.