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Home SPORT Sport Mixed views among Mayo GAA grassroots

Mixed views among Mayo GAA grassroots

The mood on the ground


We spoke to three Mayo GAA Board delegates and one club chairman to gauge the mood in light of last week’s County Board meeting

Vox pop
David Jennings


Packie McGinty
Achill GAA club

Q. How do you/your club feel about the situation?
A. I suppose the development of McHale Park was two years too late in the grand scheme of things. The recession was beginning to hit everything and the expense just couldn’t be sustained.

Q. What should the County Board do now?
A. The County Board needs to put their heads together and come up with a way of getting out of the mess. There are options. Look at Pearse Stadium for example. They have concerts and functions and seems to be able to fund itself. The costs of running a club is phenomenal these days so I don’t think asking clubs for money is an option.

Q. Do you think it’s possible to raise the extra money needed every year?
A. It’s doubtful. Croke Park will have to help out if that sort of money is going to be raised. I think it will be very difficult.

Q. Would you be in favour of revisiting the Strategic Action Plan proposals on fund-raising again, especially re: appointing a commercial director, somebody specialised to drive a fund-raising campaign?
A. Any initiative that has the potential to raise money should be looked into and that is definitely something that has to be done, especially now. The County Board simply can’t depend on clubs to sort this out and a commercial director might be the best way forward.

Q. Should clubs be asked to pay more in levies to do their bit?
A. Certainly not. If anything, club levies should come down. If we have an away game in Ballaghaderreen it costs the best part of €500 to get there and it all adds up. Clubs simply can’t afford to pay more than they are already.


Kevin McDonnell
Kilmaine GAA club
Q. How do you/your club feel about the situation?

A. It’s disappointing but I don’t think the problem is insurmountable. It would have been worse if no repayments had been made over the last while. It’s certainly not ideal but it may just be manageable.

Q. What should the County Board do now?
A. They need to expand their fund-raising efforts. They can’t keep tapping into the same sources. The old ideas don’t work anymore. They simply can’t keep coming back to the clubs as the money isn’t there. It’s not as easy to sell tickets now. We can no longer expect people in America and Britain to help out either as I know first hand that clubs over there are struggling too.
Croke Park hold functions and concerts to fund itself and McHale Park needs to be able to do something similar. Our fun-raising ideas need to be revolutionised.

Q. Do you think it’s possible to raise the extra money needed every year?
A. It will be very difficult in the circumstances. We need to pull as many different revenue streams together as we can and come up with fresh fund-raising ideas. We need to stay local and get away from old ideas.

Q. Would you be in favour of revisiting the Strategic Action Plan proposals on fund-raising again, especially re: appointing a commercial director, somebody specialised to drive a fund-raising campaign?

A. I think it could certainly make sense to bring in a personal with plenty of commercial experience but whether a fully paid commercial director could contribute enough is questionable. How much more could they add to the situation?

Q. Should clubs be asked to pay more in levies to do their bit?
A. I believe that clubs will be asked to give something extra but it will be tough. I know our club are trying to set up a training area at the moment and we need all the resources we can get to do that.
We have a good lotto but the money we raise needs to develop the club and I think it is the same story with almost every club.


Craig Middleton
Claremorris GAA club
Q. How do you/your club feel about the situation?

A. It’s unfortunate but I don’t think it should be blown out of proportion. People love sensational headlines and there is a danger that this could happen here when the figure of €12 million is thrown out. We shouldn’t over-react.

Q. What should the County Board do now?
A. Clubs rely on the local community for fund-raising and keeping things going and there will need to be a lot of lateral thinking from everyone to help sort it out. €12m may seem like a huge amount now but it is manageable.

Q. Do you think it’s possible to raise the extra money needed every year?
A. Everything is possible. All you have to do is take a look at our club. We put plans in place for an ambitious building and there were people who said we could never do it and we proved them wrong so nothing is ever impossible. 

Q. Would you be in favour of revisiting the Strategic Action Plan proposals on fund-raising again, especially re: appointing a commercial director, somebody specialised to drive a fund-raising campaign?
A. The rules within the GAA would need to be changed for that to take place as I understand there can only be one paid official on the Board.
But if the rules were changed, I think there would be a net benefit of having a commercial director. That person would raise an awful lot more than his salary.

Q. Should clubs be asked to pay more in levies to do their bit?
A. That’s a bit like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas. Obviously we wouldn’t want the County Board to go down that route but they will have to explore all avenues and if big money has to be raised they have to get it from somewhere.
I hope the clubs don’t have to pay though for obvious reasons.


Anthony Egan
Bonniconlon GAA club
Q. How do you/your club feel about the situation?

A. It’s very serious and I don’t think any of us realised how severe it was.
It’s a shame that it has happened and trying to solve it could prove impossible.

Q. What should the County Board do now?
A. There has to be fund-raising plans drawn up immediately but whether they will be able to raise the amount required is doubtful.
The County Board certainly can’t come knocking on club doors. Every club is struggling right now.

Q. Do you think it’s possible to raise the extra money needed every year?
A. It’s going to be very difficult, maybe impossible. The big thing with trying to fund-raise now is the state of the economic climate and, with clubs struggling so much and running on very little money, it’s hard to see how it can be done.

Q. Would you be in favour of revisiting the Strategic Action Plan proposals on fund-raising again, especially re: appointing a commercial director, somebody specialised to drive a fund-raising campaign?

A. We were in favour of appointing an overall commercial director when it was proposed last year and we would still be backing that idea but the chances of it happening look very remote.

Q. Should clubs be asked to pay more in levies to do their bit?
A. Absolutely not. It’s not even worth discussing as clubs don’t have the money to dig out of this hole so it would be ludicrous to go to them again. They simply can’t afford it.


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