Price of success as Galway set new bar for yearly team preparation spend
Galway's €1,842,230 of expenditure on the preparation of their inter-county teams in 2018 is the highest audited figure by any county yet.
It comes as the county, mired in financial issues that resulted in an independent audit by the GAA's accountants Mazars, the results of which were presented to county board delegates last week, came close to generating €5m in income for the year.
The €1.84m tops the €1.75m spent by both Dublin in 2011, when they were pursuing five All-Ireland titles that year right into August, and Cork in 2017, and the €1.63m which Mayo spent in 2016.
It reflects Galway status as the primary dual county in terms of inter-county success with the footballers reaching a league final, winning a Connacht title and then making it to an All-Ireland semi-final.
The minor football team reached an All-Ireland final, the minor hurlers won an All-Ireland title while the senior hurlers had a nine-match championship campaign which ended in defeat to Limerick and incorporated replays for the Leinster final against Kilkenny and the All-Ireland semi-final against Clare.
A small portion of Galway's 2018 figure came from invoices relating to the previous year but the reality of the county's push for success from all sides has resulted in a lift of around €540,000 from 2017.
A further €371,069 spend was recorded in the 2018 accounts for the Galway team holiday fund in the wake of their 2017 All-Ireland success.
The accounts, presented to last night's convention, show a rise in income of almost €1.2m, the most striking feature of which is an increase of just over €187k from €706,403 to €609,051 in local gate receipts.
Fundraising has also increased significantly, climbing to €860,228 from just under €500,000 in 2017 as a result of successful events in four US cities: Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
While not featuring in this year's accounts because it fell after the October 31 deadline, this year's Galway hurling final took in around €70k while the 2017 final took in around €47k. A small increase in the admission price was partly responsible.
Galway have had a new treasurer, Mike Burke, for the last 12 months and one of his first tasks was to undertake an audit of the county's financial affairs and practices.
His audit paved the way for Mazars to trawl through the figures and practices and report some damning findings.
Meanwhile, Wexford have managed to shave off almost €95k of their inter-county team expenditure in 2018.
Despite the hurlers exiting at the same stage of the championship as they did in 2017, the bill for preparing all Wexford teams was €850,144, down from €945,224.
Wexford increased fundraising by around €65k to €397,988 while the national league share jumped €79,174.
However, many other counties have not been able to manage their team expenditure as the scramble to keep up with the pace intensifies.
Cavan had a short summer, exiting in a third-round qualifier at the end of June, but the cost still reached €688,140, up from €617,161.
The cost of a busier summer, with two extra All-Ireland quarter-finals, progress to an All-Ireland semi-final for the first time in 30 years and to an All-Ireland minor semi-final is reflected in an outlay of €764,560 for Monaghan's 2018 team preparations up from €640,728.
And Leitrim, who had the smallest outlay for inter-county teams in 2017 climbed almost €176k from €298,629 in 2017 to €474,494 with the trip to New York for their Connacht Championship opener costing €94,445.