Company begins fundraising trip to US in aid of Cork senior footballers and hurlers

Cork GAA chairman Ger Lane has given tacit approval to an independent company, featuring current and former inter-county players, which is set to begin a round of US fund-raising initiatives aimed at better resourcing the Cork senior footballers and hurlers.

The company, CSF Funding Co Ltd, was established last year to provide the Cork senior footballers with an additional finance stream to that provided by the Cork County Board.

It was set up by current and former Cork footballers to help resource the senior footballers in line with top-tier football counties and has already received significant backing from the business community in Ireland and in the United States, Examiner Sport understands.

Among the names linked to the fund as either directors or as part of the finance committee are former players Tony Nation, Conor McCarthy, Sean O’Brien and Nicholas Murphy.

Also involved are prominent members of the Cork business community, including Diarmuid Lynch from Bank of Ireland, who is believed to be involved in a governance capacity, and Paul Montgomery, who is active in a fundraising capacity.

Though Peadar Healy and Kieran Kingston are no longer in their respective Cork managerial hot-seats, both strongly endorsed the idea of the fund.

New Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy has broadly welcomed the concept, and one of his senior selectors, Sean Hayes, will be part of the travelling party to San Francisco next month for a fundraising venture.

Thus far, the executive of Cork GAA has had no formal involvement with the initiative, but its chairman Ger Lane told Examiner Sport last night he is aware of the fundraising efforts and the reasons for it.

He said: “There are very good people involved, both current and former players. Any funds raised that help Cork teams is to be welcomed. Cork County Board is currently not involved, but that’s a matter for the new executive and the fundraising committee in 2018.”

CSF Funding’s intention is to engage with the Cork County Board in 2018 to formalise the relationship and agree on the best use of the monies raised.

It is believed CSF Funding wants to resource the Cork teams à la Dublin and Mayo, but also, in time, to begin the funding of a centre of excellence, along the lines of Kerry’s recently opened €8m facility in Currans, near Farranfore.

The lack of a supporters’ club to boost the coffers of Cork’s senior teams is widely regarded as a missed opportunity on Leeside.

The funding group is focusing initial efforts in the US, where many other counties have tapped into the diaspora with impressive results.

A pilot trip by CSF Funding to Chicago a year ago to test the waters featured representation from the 1989/90 All-Ireland winning group in Steven O’Brien and Tony Nation, the 2010 squad in Noel O’Leary and Donncha O’Connor, plus three footballers from last year’s panel.

The funding group has now been invited by San Francisco business leaders to visit the west coast on the first weekend of December, with a broad-based delegation that will also include the likes of Larry Tompkins, Niall Cahalane and Graham Canty.

This upcoming venture will also seek to expand support to the Cork senior hurlers, with Diarmuid O’Sullivan part of the travelling party.

A golf classic on Friday, December 1, in the Bay area is already sold out and, following coaching clinics at the GAA’s new San Francisco base at Treasure Island on the Saturday, the fund representatives will attend a Cork Business Association dinner that night.

Also planned is a seminar on the future direction for CSF Funding, which will be attending by business interests from several US cities, each of whom wishes to be part of the Cork contributor community.

Initial funding in 2017 was used to finance a second physiotherapist for the Cork football panel and purchase a wattbike for pitchside rehab. Some monies were also used to help establish the footballers’ Fermoy training base, with the county board sharing the cost.

In September, Examiner Sport was told: “Thereafter, it was used to drive high-performance, including GPS monitoring, training weekends, equipment, advanced nutritional requirements, expertise, facilitating players training away from base with one-to-one attention and additional analysis.”


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