The View: But for the County Board Draw, many GAA clubs in Tipperary would be struggling badly

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon


GAA costs

The costs associated with running clubs are rising all the time.

Upcoming club officer training is vitally important for the efficient running of clubs.

Running a county like Tipperary is an expensive business these days, especially when the demands of two successful codes are taken into consideration.
So, it is something of an achievement for the Board to be reporting a very healthy financial position when all the aspects of income and expenditure are taken into account.
The Board ran a surplus of €160,000 for the year thanks to an increase in gate receipts of almost €80,000 to €474,321 and also a much bigger chunk of the National League share which came in at €266,750 – more than €100,000 extra in comparison to 2016. With the Tipperary hurlers having reached the allianz NHL Final and the footballers winning the division 3 crown, the coffers were rewarded substantially more than the previous year.
Treasurer Michael Power told delegates at Convention that it will be very interesting to see how things go for league and gate receipt income in 2018 with the new formats. “If we keep it at the same level, we'll be doing very well,” he said. “The County Board is in a very healthy position,” Michael added.

County Board Treasurer Michael Power (centre), pictured with Joe Hannigan and Hugh Coughlan of the Tipperary Football Board.

Keeping league income at the same level will be a big task indeed, because it would presume that Tipperary would need to qualify for the final in both codes again. The footballers are going to find it a very different proposition in division 2, while the hurlers will have to keep an eye on the championship which will see them play four weekends in succession in Munster. This means that a deeper squad will have to be realised and there is only one way of achieving this - by giving fringe players game-time in the league to see if they are up to the mark, or not. Of course when you are engaging in this process, there is always the chance that games won't be won and in an already very competitive league, each loss of points will contribute to problems with reaching the ultimate game in the league.
So, there is every chance that Tipps take from league proceeds will not be of the same order as it was in 2017.
Another very interesting point to emerge from the annual Convention - and it is a point which often goes under the radar - is the amount of income generated for the clubs of the county by the County Board Draw. Now, it has been running for years and you'll hear more people saying they are winning nothing in it, than those who will boast about its success, but, the County Board Draw is a real lifeline for clubs in a finanacial sense.
Half of the ticket sales go directly to the club which sells them and this money is used for everything to maintaining property, to washing jerseys, to paying player affiliations etc etc etc. The list goes on and on and so too does the demand on the club finances.
A sum of €1.6m – up by €20,000 on last years sales – was taken in by the draw committee while €866,000 was paid out to clubs in commission. Price money amounted to almost €500,000 for the year.
The Board draw is backboning the finances of a lot of clubs in The Premier County – without this vital source of income many clubs would not be able to make ends meet.
This is yet another example of the GAA coming up with an excellent scheme to help with self sufficiency. The prizes have always been excellent and very attractive and this has helped with the selling of the tickets. But, each club person who is tasked with offloading an extra ticket or two each year, knows only too well that without the proceeds of the Board Draw, their club would be in a perilous position.
Many clubs have added a club lotto to their financial drive and this takes a lot of work to administer and make profitable. Again, this was facilitiated by the GAA and helps to make life a little easier for the clubs. However, with all of these 'dependable' sources of club income, comes a health warning - complacency. Clubs, and sellers in particular, cannot afford to become complacent in any way, shape or form - to do so is to ultimately reduce income and this could prove fatal to clubs, especially those who have invested heavily in facilities and property.
Just like running the County Board, running a club is an expensive business. Every club wishes to have enhanced facilities - a viewing stand, dressingrooms, clubhouse, ball-wall, sportshall. But, while providing these facilities requires a substantial initial cash outlay, maintaining them does also, and this is something that many clubs neglect to take into account.
So, you build a clubhouse costing €300,000 with a hall, kitchen, meeting rooms, dressingrooms etc - a magnificent community facility which will stand the test of time and be used extensively. Suddenly, you have maintenance and repairs to think about every few years - painting, up-keep, heat and light costs, water charges electricity bills, perhaps a caretaker. Within a few years, the boiler needs replacing or the showers needs to be upgraded. It all costs money and ultimately these headaches will fall to the club officers and committee to deal with. It's a long way from the business of those who will actually wear the club jersey or train teams and the reality is that players will give very little thought to how the club is run or who does what. Players become consumed with their own goals - perhaps that is how it should be until their time to step up to officialdom arrives.
Yes, running a club is a big business nowadays and that's what makes attendance at the club officer training event run by the Board, so important.
Following successful Club Officer Training nights held in Nenagh and Ballykisteen early in 2017, similar sessions have been arranged for 2018 as follows:
Thursday 25th January in the Anner Hotel, Thurles.
Wednesday 31st January in Clonmel Park Hotel.
These are aimed at clubs in the Mid and South divisions, but clubs from the North and West are also welcome, especially if they have newly-appointed officers.
Eight officers from each club will be invited to attend, i.e. Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and PRO of the Adult Club and similarly from the Juvenile Club/Committee.
So, as well as getting vital training and advice on the pertinent issues relating to your role, you also have the chance of linking up with like-minded individuals where troublesome matters can be debated.
Sounds like a very productive way to spend an evening.