Wednesday 18 September 2019

Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice: All the money we spend goes into players

Eamonn Fitzmaurice
Eamonn Fitzmaurice
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kerry football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice insists they are "prudent" with the money they spend on their inter-county teams.

Fitzmaurice, who leads Kerry into a sixth championship campaign on Sunday when they face Clare in Killarney in a Munster semi-final, was responding to general concerns expressed by his county treasurer Dermot 'Weeshie' Lynch that spending on the preparation of inter-county teams is like a runaway train.

Kerry spent just over €1m on their teams in 2017, the majority of it on their senior footballers.

Lynch said in a recent Irish Independent feature on the topic that the size of panels and back-room teams was putting pressure on county finances across the country and that fundraising had reached its peak, in his estimation.

Kerry have hired a commercial manager, Maurice O'Meara, to help build a more sustainable funding model.

Speaking at a press briefing ahead of this weekend's game, Fitzmaurice said most of Kerry's investment has been on players.

"Possibly where we would be slightly different than some counties in many ways is that nearly all of the money that's spent goes into the players," said Fitzmaurice.

"There isn't huge outlays in back-room teams or managements because the vast majority of the back-room team and the management team are volunteers. So that's a significant saving on other counties.

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"The money that's being spent is very much being spent with regards to developing and advancing players.

"There's a budget there and you can't have the latest craze or whatever is the latest thing or gadget that Dublin has or someone else has. That's not the way it works, I work closely with Tim Murphy (chairman), we have a budget and we stick to our budget.

"I would say that in the time that I've been in charge and I'm open to correction here but I don't think we have ever gone over budget.

"I think he (Lynch) was possibly talking about the national picture and I think in terms of us we'd be prudent and sensible."

Conscious

Fitzmaurice said he has always had full backing from the Kerry county board.

"I'd be conscious that it is an amateur organisation and that we have to be understanding of that but the lads at county board level, they really back everything we try to do at the same time. If we need something, they try to make it happen. If it can't happen, it can't happen."

Fitzmaurice believes the appointment of a commercial manager will help their situation.

"There is a lot going on in the background in terms of making sure that we have a sustainable model in Kerry that can sustain the likes of Currans (centre of excellence) and can sustain inter-county teams.

"It's big business now and that's the bottom line. Everything costs, even feeding the team. On a very basic level before you start going to any bells and whistles, there is feeding the teams, travelling expenses, going away for matches at weekends, hotel costs and all that stuff."

Kerry have been training at the Currans centre of excellence, built at a cost of €7m, which was largely funded by overseas fundraising.

Meanwhile, they will be without Shane Enright who injured an ankle in training recently while Johnny Buckley has withdrawn from the squad.

Irish Independent

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