Waterford deny cash crisis has hit players in pocket
WATERFORD officials have denied that their players have been left out of pocket because of a cash crisis that has caused their expenses cheques to bounce.
"Just one cheque bounced, for €50, and that was because it was given to a fella who had it in his pocket for months," said Waterford secretary Tim O'Keeffe yesterday, describing the incident as "a once-off".
He also denied an allegation that Waterford's senior footballers were told to drive themselves to a game in Leitrim and not to expect expenses.
"That is completely untrue," O'Keeffe said. "We had booked a bus to transport the players but they wanted to travel by car themselves so we let them, cancelled the bus and met their expenses as normal."
Delegates at last year's convention heard that the county was €200,000 in debt and were warned that cutbacks would have to be made. But O'Keeffe insisted these problems have not affected team preparations or player expenses this season.
"The figure for last year was more like €120,000 but there was an outstanding issue from an earlier time that also had to be settled," he said.
"Our financial situation is no worse or better this year than it has been for the last two years and we will definitely break even this year."
Several county boards have run into financial problems due to the recession. Kildare needed Croke Park to advance them a €300,000 loan, while Mayo County Board needed to get one of their creditors to write off €600,000 of what they owe on the multi-million euro redevelopment of Elvery's MacHale Park.
Elsewhere, Kerry boss Jack O'Connor has paid tribute to defender Tom O'Sullivan, who has retired.
"Tom owes nothing to Kerry football because he has been a great servant over 13 years," O'Connor said. "I met him around Christmas and knew he was considering his future.
"He marked all the best left-footed corner-forwards in the country and over his career very few have beaten him."
O'Connor first trained the Rathmore star to an All-Ireland U-21 in 1998 and described him as a natural athlete and "a great man to train".
"He was a great character in the dressing-room, with a dry sense of humour," O'Connor said. "He would test your patience at times but I had great time for him because, when it came to game time, and Tom put his game face on, there was no one better."
Elsewhere, Armagh's senior footballers have been hit by a stomach virus that has spread through their camp ahead of their Ulster SFC opener against Tyrone in a month's time (June 10). Up to 10 Armagh players have been hit by the sickness, which has disrupted training.
"When you have players in a closely knit group there is always the risk an infection like this can spread," said Armagh assistant manager Paul Grimley. "We are keeping our fingers crossed that the worst of it is over."