Sunday 15 December 2019

Date switch to facilitate 'Boss' not a problem for Wexford

Speaking in Croke Park yesterday GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail ventilated the financial benefits stacked against any inconvenience to the club programme there might be (SPORTSFILE)
Speaking in Croke Park yesterday GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail ventilated the financial benefits stacked against any inconvenience to the club programme there might be (SPORTSFILE)
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Wexford have welcomed the retention of Croke Park as the venue for their Leinster Championship double-header which will now take place eight days earlier to facilitate the Bruce Springsteen concert planned for Friday, May 27.

The original provincial hurling quarter-final between Dublin and Wexford and the football quarter-final between Wexford and Kildare were due to take place on Sunday, May 29.

But those games will now take place on Saturday evening, May 21 instead.

Wexford have not played a hurling championship match in Croke Park since their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny in 2008.

But their chairman Diarmuid Devereux said they were happy to move dates and reorganise their club schedules to make way for the concert.

"We recognise the financial benefit there is to the association to stage an event like this in Croke Park," he said.

Rearrange "The games are going ahead in Croke Park. We were always looking forward to that," he added. "Every county can potentially benefit from this. As regards local fixtures we have plenty of time to rearrange our schedules."

Only this week the benefit of staging concerts in Croke Park was reflected in the annual accounts which showed that another €7m was given to Central Council from the company that runs Croke Park.

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Concerts can generate between €750,000 and €1m per event.

The movement of the two games does have the effect of leaving that weekend quite threadbare with just Mayo's Connacht Championship visit to Ruislip to play London, Cavan and Armagh in the Ulster Championship and two Munster football games between Waterford and Tipperary and Limerick and Clare going ahead.

Speaking in Croke Park yesterday GAA president Aogán ó Fearghail ventilated the financial benefits stacked against any inconvenience to the club programme there might be.

"I don't think there will be any knock-on effect. They still have the same space to continue the club fixtures," he said. "They simply shift a programme of games from a Sunday to a Saturday. It does involve a change, there's no doubt about that.

"You have to admit that and the games programme is paramount so it does involve a certain change but it also is a balance because a concert here is significant benefit to clubs and we saw that in our finances during the week.

"If we have a substantial concert here which this has the potential to be, that has an incredible benefit for the clubs everywhere throughout the association because it's very clear what happens to any revenue that comes in through a concert. It goes back to special projects in counties and clubs.

"Does that cause a certain grief? Yes it does. Of course it does. In a packed programme where you have province, county and club there will be some of that. It is in the early stages of club activities and they have the opportunities, which the counties have assured us, they will be taking of playing fixtures on the Saturday."

The president has also reiterated the view of GAA director of finance Tom Ryan that further remedial action to the way money is distributed to counties is required.

"There is a disproportion and that's clear from the figures and that's why we publish the figures so people can see. But there is a disproportion of population also. There's 1.3 million living in Dublin and 20 years ago the GAA certainly was struggling in large parts of it," he pointed out.

ó Fearghail: no issue with GPA accounts

GAA president Aogán ó Fearghail yesterday wouldn’t be drawn on whether he believes the GPA are spending their money wisely.

The players’ body published abridged accounts as part of their annual report last year and ó Fearghail stated he was happy the accounts are subject to a “full audit and rigour” by the GAA.

“What they do publicly is a matter for the GPA, in fairness they are an independent body – that is their call and I wouldn’t have any issue with that,” said the Cavan official.

“Certainly their accounts are open to us within the GAA and they are subject to a full audit and rigour and we are comfortable with that.”

However, when asked if the money is being spent wisely, the GAA president replied: “I’m happy that the money is audited.”

Dessie Farrell has previously described the GPA as “in many ways the most audited unit the in GAA”.

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