Mayo splash out extra €170,000 on team

The cost of preparing the Mayo senior football team jumped by almost €170,000 last year, it was revealed at the County Board Convention held in Breaffy House Hotel yesterday.

The increase was largely attributable to the team holiday, treasurer JP Lambe told delegates, adding that the trip to Miami last January had cost “in the region” of €156,000. Travelling expenses in 2013 ran to more than €405,000, compared to just under €271,000 in 2012. Catering and medical expenses for the senior football team also rose, while the cost of sports gear was slightly down. That left total expenses for the senior team for 2013 at €646,440, compared to €480,334 last year.

Seán Mac Éil, a former inter-county referee and now secretary of Mayo Bord na nÓg, noted the huge cost of preparing “one team for one year” when he backed a motion calling for extra coaching personnel. He recalled comments made some years ago by RTÉ pundit Colm O’Rourke, who noted on a visit to Mayo that if “a fraction” of what was spent on inter-county teams went on coaching, it would make a big difference.

Mac Éil added that set in the context of such a “serious” increase in senior team spending from 2012, savings should be made “within the existing system of expenditure” so that €30,000 to €40,000 could go towards hiring an additional coach. Motions seeking additional coaching personnel were passed and will be referred to the Coaching and Games Committee. The amount spent on coaching and games development in Mayo fell by almost €40,000 in 2013 to €277,498. Mayo currently employs three coaches on a full-time basis, two part-time, plus a number of others who do 10-week stints in schools.

The county board’s overall income and expenditure both topped the €2 million mark in 2013, with treasurer Lambe reporting a small surplus of €69,155. Commercial income and fund-raising activities brought in considerably more than in 2012.

There were six motions on the subject of All-Ireland final tickets but all were deemed “a matter for county board” by chairman Paddy McNicholas (pictured) and not debated. In his address to delegates, the Kiltimagh man noted there had been a “problem” in relation to the “distribution and availability” of All-Ireland tickets. “We distributed 15,000 tickets but would have needed twice that to satisfy demand,” he said.

Hailing the success of the county minor team, McNicholas added “some people question are we going in the right direction with coaching and I think they have been answered”.

However, Mayo should always “strive to improve” the standard of coaching in the county, he added.

The number of club league matches being played without county players will rise from three to six after a motion to that effect was passed by 74 votes to 16. While the motion involving the doubling of so-called ‘starred’ league matches has now been referred to the county’s Competitions Control Committee, it’s widely expected to come into effect in 2014.

Mike Connelly, chairman of the CCC, issued a provisional fixtures planner for 2014, but added that “a certain amount of uncertainty” is inevitable.

In his first report as secretary, Vincent Neary noted finance had dominated the board’s agenda. He admitted the debt on MacHale Park in Castlebar is “a constant struggle to keep serviced”, but noted the board had managed to do so with the help of clubs. The pitch and stand at the county ground are valued in the board’s balance sheet at almost €18 million, but the stand is calculated as having depreciated in value by €150,000.

Mayo are due to travel to New York for the Connacht SFC opener on May 4.

Asked by Ballaghaderreen delegate Con Moynihan about the financial implications of the transatlantic trip, McNicholas replied there is a grant for travelling to New York and the board hope fundraisers will take care of any shortfall.


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