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GAA must cut costs

GAA president Christy Cooney has been urged to spend the final 14 months of his presidency bringing team -- and other costs -- under control to avoid leaving the association exposed to bankruptcy over the next five years.

Former Dublin and Offaly football manager Tommy Lyons said that he was astonished to learn that over €19m had gone on preparing inter-county teams last year and believes that it's now time to place a ceiling on how much a county board can spend in that area.

Reacting to last Saturday's in-depth Irish Independent analysis of county team costs in 2010, Lyons said he could not believe that counties were continuing to spend so heavily in the much-changed economic climate.

"If team costs aren't curbed, they'll end up bankrupting the GAA. There's plenty of talk about how much managers are costing, but even in counties where they are being paid, it's Mickey Mouse money by comparison with overall costs," he said.

Despite the dramatic downturn in the economy last year, team costs were down less than 4pc on 2009.

Cork topped the expenditure on €1.57m, followed by Tipperary (€1.23m), Dublin (€1.21m) and Kerry (€1.13m).

Sixteen counties beat the €500,000 mark, while the lowest spenders were Leitrim (€291,000) and neighbours Sligo (€305,000)

"Christy Cooney should devote the final year of his presidency to addressing the spending issue. Everybody is in for a tough time over the next five years and the GAA won't be immune from it. The danger is that if counties keep spending at the current rate, huge debts will be run up, which will land on Croke Park's doorstep," Lyons said.

Meanwhile, Joe Kernan and John O'Mahony have urged the GAA not to abolish the inter-provincial championships, which are again up for consideration at Saturday's Central Council meeting.

The competitions didn't take place last year and there are now suggestions that they could be about to be scrapped altogether.

"Have the players been consulted? They want the competitions to continue and their opinion should count. This is all about the players -- not about anybody or anything else," said Kernan.

Irish Independent