Players' relief as grants deal beckons
Over 1,000 inter-county Gaelic footballers and hurlers can expect to benefit from state grants for a further two years, it has emerged.
Agreement between the Irish Sports Council and the Gaelic Players Association is thought to be close to securing the funding.
An announcement is expected in the coming weeks, but changes to the way it is paid and the amounts involved are anticipated.
"Nothing has been confirmed. There is still a process of negotiation. There are still meetings between all parties to take place yet before anything is finalised," said GPA spokesman Sean Potts.
Minister Michael Ring had suggested in November that a three-year arrangement might be put in place after the initial three years expired at the end of last year.
Members of last year's inter-county squads, who can expect to pocket between €300 and €700 under the current schemes, have yet to be paid their 2012 grants but it understood that this will happen soon.
The scheme was originally worth €3.5m to the inter-county population but with the Sports Council's funding cut, that has since dipped to €1.01m and may now go lower.
The GPA had called for funding levels to be maintained and have maintained that the inter-county player should be recognised by the state for their contribution to Irish society and culture.
The Sports Council has seen its funding cut by over 20pc over the last four years.