Inter-county team costs reach record high as boards splash out almost €22m in 2015
More money was spent on preparing inter-county teams in 2015 than ever before, an analysis of figures by the Irish Independent reveals.
Some €21.87m was splashed out on hurling and football teams at senior, U-21 and minor level last year as counties were prepared to invest more on expertise and back-up in the pursuit of success.
The real figure is undoubtedly considerably higher than that when 'off the book' payments and payments made directly by benefactors are incorporated.
Five counties, all with progressive senior hurling and football teams, surpassed the million-euro mark with Kerry falling just short of that mark.
Dublin again led the way with a €1.56m spend on all teams, €12,500 less than last year despite their senior footballers' season prolonging by three more weeks.
The largest jumps were recorded by Galway, Westmeath and Limerick, while Offaly and Fermanagh also rose in the region of 15 to 20 per cent on 2014 figures.
Connacht counties had the largest relative increase (10.4 per cent) while Leinster and Ulster hikes were more modest, 4.7 and 5.2 per cent respectively.
Inter-county expenses cover everything from travel to catering, equipment, gear, gyms, medical, physio and are presented to end-of-year conventions.
The figure, which doesn't include London or New York, broke through the €20m barrier in 2007 and remained above that for three years before dropping to €17.4m in 2012 as belts were tightened considerably in the face of recession. But they have been on the rise since then with a 20.5 per cent increase in just three years, according to figures reported to county conventions.
The rise since last year is more modest, coming in at just 6.77 per cent higher.
With an attempt to shrink the calendar by two weeks and a move to abolish replays both failing at last weekend's Congress, the inter-county season for senior teams has remained largely untouched.
Only two counties, Louth and Wicklow, came in below €300,000.