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Colm Keys: 'Kingdom dominance casts long shadow in Munster as gate receipts fall by over €350,000'

Colm Keys



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Kieran Leddy. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

Kieran Leddy. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

Kieran Leddy. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

A decline of €360,000 in revenue from the 2019 Munster Football Championship has hit the province's finances.

The annual convention takes place in Ennis on Friday night and will show a drop in excess of €200,000 in overall income to €5,354,127.

While the round robin hurling championship once again delivered - 237,007 attended the 10 games prior to the final - football suffered with just 18,265 paying into the Cork-Kerry final in Pairc Ui Chaoimh after attendances in the other four games fell by almost 50 per cent.

The Munster Hurling Championship generated €4.2m in revenue, up from €4.05m in 2018, the first year of the new format.

But the long shadow that Kerry have cast over the province in football - they have now won the last seven titles - is reflected in the gates which fell from €910,555 to €549,128.

In his report to the convention Munster chief executive Kieran Leddy (right) has cautioned that an increase in ticket prices could be on the cards to support infrastructural development.

"All grounds age and all need upgrades, either in the short or long-term. The Council may well need to look at increasing field rent amounts to help cover the costs associated with county ground and centre of excellence maintenance," he wrote.

"Ticket price increases may well be needed in order to fund this and other infrastructure projects in the province, as we also need to continue to provide the same level of funding to vital areas of activity, such as the club development grant scheme, employment of games development staff, funding of games development projects and so on."

Leddy also noted that two Munster counties, Cork and Tipperary ran deficits in 2019 which he described as "worrying." But he expressed confidence that both can return to surplus in 2020.

He also re-iterated the many warnings about the rising cost of preparing inter-county teams.

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"Close on €8 million was spent by the counties of Munster in preparing their various inter-county teams in 2020, and that was up by €1.3m on the previous year. Clearly, this level of expenditure is unsustainable."

The convention will feature a vote for the treasurer's position being vacated by Cork's Pearse Murphy with experienced Kerry treasurer Dermot Lynch going head-to-head with Clare's John O'Sullivan.

Leddy welcomed the two reports launched in December, the Fixtures Task Force and the Talent Academy and Player Development review but was fearful about the impact that one of the Fixtures Task Force proposals might have on the provincial championships.

"They have put forward three proposals on the structure of the inter-county football championships, including retaining the status quo, redrawing the provincial football championship structure to see eight counties per competition, and moving the provincial championships to the spring time, thus decoupling them from an All-Ireland league style championship. Certainly, the latter will effectively see the end of provincial championship structure as we know it, as the competitions will essentially become warm up competitions.

"All discussion on the best championship format needs to take place in the context of the positive impact the proposed change will have on the schedule of the club and elite player," he continued.

"It should also be remembered, that while the Munster senior football championship has lived in the shadow of its hurling counterpart, Ulster and Connacht Football championships are very competitive, both having had three different winners in the last five years."

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