Foreign clubs seek handout to join The Gathering

The GAA is being asked to provide funds to international clubs planning on visiting Ireland for The Gathering.

GAA clubs from across the world were invited to take part in football, camogie, ladies football and hurling tournaments next year.

However, hours after the dates were set in the master fixtures, Gerard Roe, secretary of the Gaelic Football and Hurling Association of Australasia, called on the Croke Park to provide funding if they expected teams to travel.

“I have been told that there is no funding of any type for this from Ireland and would doubt that any teams from Australasia would compete as the cost for a two to three-day event would be in the vicinity of $5,000 [€4,000] per player,” Roe told the Irish Echo “The ability to send a team will depend on what sort of financial assistance is provided. I am expecting to have an answer from Croke Park soon.”

The GAA is hosting two central events. The first, a nine-a-side football, camogie and ladies football tournament from July 25-27, is expected to take place in the Dublin area. The second, a 15-a-side hurling tournament from September 18-21 in Galway, is expected to be the bigger of the two and will be sponsored by Aer Lingus and Etihad. Hosted by Galway County Board, it is hoped to attract between 16 and 21 teams.

“We’re just in the process of opening them up to our international clubs and as of yet the pick-up has been slow,” said GAA Operations Manager Fergal McGill. “They’re the only two events being run centrally but there are lot of events running nationally and we’re aware of 20 being run by county boards so far. It’s hard to know how it will turn out because it’s new ground so you don’t really know what to expect.”

The GAA has also fixed several national underage tournaments to take place over two weekends in 2013 to free up fixtures schedules around the country.

At present competitions like the Tony Forrestal U14 hurling inter-county competition in Waterford are run at different times of the year. However, the GAA’s master fixtures plan for 2013 has made plans for all underage inter-county tournaments to take place on the same weekends.

On August 17, all U15 and U16 county football academy panels will contest tournaments while on August 24, tournaments for U14, U15, U16 and U17 county teams will also be fixed, including the Tony Forrestal.

Kildare football fans will have to wait until later this year to find out if they have lost home advantage for two of their Allianz Football League games in St Conleth’s Park. They are due to play Donegal on February 3 and Dublin on March 10 but the venue’s capacity has been cut to 6,200 by health and safety officials. The GAA entered negotiations with the Lilywhites to hold those games in Croke Park as part of Dublin’s Spring Series to help reduce their debt problems.

Meanwhile Kilkenny County Board reported a net surplus of €293,770, which was up on last year’s profit of €224,546.

“We run the board on a commercial basis,” was the explanation from treasurer, Barry Hickey. “We are careful, however.” Outgoing secretary, Ned Quinn (Mooncoin) was elected for his second stint in the chair at Kilkenny GAA Convention when he beat outgoing vice-chairman, Pat Dunphy (Rower-Inistioge) comprehensively in a vote. Jimmy Walsh (Windgap) was elected secretary, beating outgoing chairman Paul Kinsella (St Martin’s) in a vote.


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