Brennan's brief | 

How counties in the GAA have made lots of money because of Covid

Croke Park Stadium

Croke Park Stadium

John Brennan

There may have been very few spectators at GAA matches, relatively speaking, over the last two years because of Covid.

Yet the Association finds itself awash with money as counties report huge surpluses to the Annual Conventions.

Kerry, Meath, Wexford and Waterford are just four counties to find themselves with plenty of money in the coffers in recent days, even without too many people clicking the turnstiles at local matches.

How is this? Simple, those counties and many others did not have to spend fortunes on inter-county training last year or again in 2021.

The 2020 Championship was a condensed affair. Teams were allowed to train for only a few weeks before they played their first match and the football structure last year was ‘one and done’ - lose a match and you were finished.

This year, there was no training in the opening months of the year, so county treasurers were not receiving bills for the use of pitches, from physios and doctors, for meals after training and for mileage to training from players.

Again, when the action got going, the National Leagues were shortened and the football Championship was straight knock-out, with just one second chance in hurling. So the number of training sessions was down all over.

With counties still getting cash from Croke Park for things like TV rights and advertising, the counties are thus ahead, well ahead.

The shortening of the inter-county season for 2022 - all activity will be over by July 24 unless either of the All-Ireland Finals are drawn - may be a disaster from a promotional point of view as the GAA closes its biggest and best shop window early and offers competing sports the chance to hog the airwaves, internet windows and the pages of print.

But for GAA President Larry McCarthy and his team there is this bonus of cutting back on what was previously called ‘an out-of-control train’ of spending on preparing for inter-county matches.

Teams are getting ready to resume the long slog of winter training just now – who’d want to have been out training with Storm Barra around last night?

But for County Treasurers there is the knowledge and consolation that they will now only be paying training expenses for a maximum of seven months – but only for that long if their county hurling or football team is doing really well. Some will be paying even less.

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