LOUTH GAA chiefs have reported an operating profit for the fourth year in succession, although the magic figure of €24,351 was quite a bit down on last year's €91,000 surplus.
Significant shortfalls in sponsorship, fundraising and gate receipts and increased county team costs appear to the main reasons for the drop in profit, but jumps in National League revenue and a reduction in administration costs softened the blow.
With a proposed new stadium still in the pipeline, a near €20,000 drop in ' Fund Raising Activities' will be of concern to chairman Padraic O'Connor and his colleagues, who have repeatedly stressed the need for a concerted fund-riasing drive to pay for Louth GAA's share of the joint venture with DkIT and Croke Park.
However, with new sponsor Morgan Fuels/Milk now on board for a three-year term, County Board officials will be pleased with the end-of-year results.
Secretary Des Halpenny (pictured) also distributed his report to clubs on Monday night and like most other members of the top table, the John Mitchel's man appears set for a fifth term in office.
Chairman Padraic O'Connor, Vice Chair, Declan Byrne, Mr Halpenny and Treasuer Aidan Berrill will all be returned unopposed at the County Convention in Darver Castle on Monday night.
Assistant Treasurer Barry Cullen is seeking election as assistant secretary, while PRO Ronan Lynch will be stepping down altogether.
In his report Mr Halpenny paid tribute to all Louth county teams and thanked Peter Fitzpatrick for his work over the last three seasons.
'He always approached the job with 100% effort, committment and infectious nethusiasm. I'd like to wish Peter well in his future endeavours,' he said.
On the recent appointment of Aidan O'Rourke as Fitzpatrick's successor, the Secretary added: 'It is now time for the next chapter of Louth GAA to be written with the appointment of Aidan O'Rourke. Aidan has assembled an impressive back room team and I'd like to wish him and the squad all the best.'
Mr Halpenny also noted Colin Kelly's decision to step down as U21 manager, but stressed: 'I have no doubt we'll see him again in charge of one of our county sides in the future.' Elsewhere in a comprehensive report, Mr Halpenny conceded that while progress on a new county ground 'has not moved as quickly as some would have hoped' he insisted that the site propsoed by DkIT adjacent to JJB deserves further investigation. However, he stressed that if it turns out to be unsuitable, GAA officials have been assured that the project can still go ahead as planned on DkIT grounds.
On the thorny issue of the Louth Minor Board Mr Halpenny said: All of our Sub Committees conclude their term at Convention time. Rules 3.21 and 3.22 have received their fair share of debate both at national level and within Louth GAA. All sub committees are to be appointed going forward. This has been well flagged and discussed at Cosite Chontae Meetings and any sub committees with queries have been invited to meet with the Management Committe to clarify. Most of our committees already conform to rule and are appointed at the start of each year. This will apply to the remainder as per our bye-law from now on.'
Meanwhile, on the field of play the last major competition of the season goes down for decision on Sunday when O'Connell's will he hoping to bounce back from last Sunday's Leinster Final defeat to Monasterevan when they take on county champions St Patrick's in the Cardinal O'Donnell Cup final. The clash takes place at Dowdallshill with a 2pm throw-in, when Pats will be a warm order to complete their first double since 2003.