Kildare in need of Croker trips

League games at Croke Park could be a lucrative business for a debt-ridden county like Kildare.

The Lilywhites’ financial troubles continue to mount but their access to GAA HQ for Allianz Division 1 league fixtures means they pocketed €150,000 from the league in 2013.

The county, whose recent financial troubles have been well documented, played Dublin and Donegal at Croke Park during this year’s Allianz League Division 1 campaign, two games which helped to bring in an estimated €100,000 to the Kildare accounts.

Delegates at this year’s Kildare GAA Convention, which was held at the newly refurbished Moorefield clubhouse on Saturday, were left none the wiser about the venue for next season’s opening round game against Mayo however. Discussions are ongoing between Kildare and Croke Park about switching the game from St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge and a decision is expected later this week.

However, the Irish Examiner understands Mayo have not been consulted as of yet.

“As you know, we are in discussion with Croke Park about a number of matters on an ongoing basis,” said Kildare GAA Chairman John McMahon, when asked about the matter. McMahon was giving very little away during an uneventful county convention, which saw no change at the top table — the chairman, vice-chairman and treasurer were all returned to office unopposed.

Kildare’s financial woes are a more pressing concern.

“We need to raise an additional €200,000 next year,” revealed Francis O’Connell, a member of the county’s audit committee. The Kildare county board has a poor record when it comes to fundraising, relying heavily on Club Kildare, the supporters’ body, which contributed some €90,000 to the 2013 accounts.

The county raised an additional €20,000 from a bucket collection earlier this year but it faces a monumental task in 2014 to raise 10 times that amount. Switching their opening round league game against Mayo to Croke Park could be worth as much as €50,000 but the county’s clubs could be asked to pay another levy in 2014 — in addition to the levy already being paid to cover the cost of the county’s centre of excellence at Hawkfield — in order to make up the financial shortfall.


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