Thursday 14 December 2017

New York games hit Connacht pockets

John Fallon

Connacht sides may seek funding from Croke Park for their annual championship trip to play New York after it emerged that the travelling county is €40,000 out of pocket for each trip.

Roscommon officials are due to meet to discuss their recent journey next week, with chairman Michael Fahey critical of the cost involved.

According to accounts filed by Galway football board for last year, the total bill for their trip to New York was €93,500, with the Connacht Council providing a grant of €50,000.

It is believed that Roscommon will face a similar shortfall, but with the recession continuing to bite, chairman Fahey raised the matter in New York at a banquet organised by the Roscommon football club there.

"We want this to continue, but I would ask New York to consult with the smaller counties," he said. "The costs involved are enormous and it's unfair that we have to raise the funds ourselves."

The New York association is believed to fund between 40 and 50 pc of that Connacht council grant of €50,000, but the remainder of the trip is left on the home county's balance sheet, which Galway football board chairman John Joe Holleran says can be difficult to cope with.

"There is no doubt it is an expensive game going out to New York, but the Gaels in New York will tell you how important it is to them," he said.

"But I think Croke Park should be helping out a small bit more with the expense of it; it is tough to pay for."

A spokesperson for the Connacht Council confirmed that the current deal with New York and the Connacht counties is up for discussion.

"The five-year agreement finished up after the Roscommon game and the next one is up for negotiation again," said the spokesperson. "If it is agreed upon, it will be another five-year block of games, so all counties in Connacht will get to make the trip.

"It is not just the game to New York, it is the whole occasion. It is much bigger than the game and we need to be mindful of the wider significance. It gives them a focal point to their year."

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