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Soaring county team costs top €25m

GAA/GPA agreement a key factor in year-on-year increase of €1.95m

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The cost of preparing inter-county teams has soared through the €25m barrier for the first time.

Increases in at least 25 counties were recorded in 2017 with all 12 Leinster counties spending more to record a 17.52 per cent increase in that province alone.

The impact of the 2016 GAA/GPA deal, which increased mileage by 15 cent per mile and created a nutrition allowance for all inter-county players, is reflected in the figures, accounting for €1.85m which is close to the overall increase 0of €1.95m.

However, because this additional money is paid to county boards to pass on to players the cost is not directly absorbed by the counties.

But it does lead to an 8.35 per cent overall increase on what was spent on such things as travel, accommodation, catering and medical bills in 2016.

Cork led the way with almost €1.75m spent from a 32-county total of €25.26m, according to detailed analysis carried out by the Irish Independent, just short of Dublin's 2011 figure when they were pursuing five All-Ireland titles right into August.

All-Ireland football finalists Dublin and Mayo also breach the €1.5m barrier, though such figures, as presented to annual county conventions, incorporate all inter-county team costs in both codes.

At provincial level, only Connacht has decreased with Mayo, Galway, Roscommon and Leitrim all taking their costs down significantly on foot of warnings last year when it jumped by over 35 per cent. Leitrim spent the least, the only county to come in under €300,000.

The average cost for each county is now €789,430 with seven counties spending more than €1m. In just six years a 36.7 per cent rise has been recorded from the €18.48m spent in 2011.

Many counties are struggling under the weight of preparation costs but they too are enjoying increased commercial and fundraising revenue rises on top of the Central Council revenue increases which helps to meet fresh demand.

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