Ryan defends Lilies 'sponsor-a-player' plan
Jason Ryan has defended Kildare's unusual strategy of seeking individual sponsors for their players this season, saying they are throwing their net wider "to be able to compete with Dublin."
The Lilywhites are offering local businesses the chance to sponsor a player for the year at the cost of €250, a ploy usually associated with club fundraising.
Kildare County Board is repaying a large debt at present, but new manager Ryan said the new initiative was part of several fundraising ideas that the team have, as a unit, undertaken this year.
"Preparing an inter-county team is a big financial drain and to be able to compete with Dublin, you need to have support and resources," Ryan said.
"But it has not distracted the players from their training over the past two weeks and will not do so."
Kildare are hoping to get the support of 40 local businesses; the reward for sponsors will be acknowledgement in match-day programmes for Kildare's home league games and any club games played in Newbridge.
In addition, businesses will also be in a position to request players to make promotional appearances at agreed times and venues during the year.
The money will go into a team fund and Ryan said there has already been a good take-up – the first sponsors will be unveiled in tomorrow's programme for the Lilywhites' O'Byrne Cup final against Meath.
Ironically, after some tension between them and the county board, the main officers of Club Kildare, one of the most successful fundraising supporters' clubs in the country, decided to step down earlier this week, which leaves the organisation's future in some doubt.