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'The expenditure is just going up and up and up' - Sligo LGFA appeal for financial support for All-Ireland semi

The Connacht side face Tipperary at Kilkenny’s Nowlan Park on Saturday.

A general view of Markievicz Park (file pic).
A general view of Markievicz Park (file pic).
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

LADIES FOOTBALL OFFICIALS in Sligo are appealing for financial support ahead of the side’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate semi-final against Tipperary at Nowlan Park on Saturday.

Speaking on local radio today, Sligo LGFA chairperson, Keith Gilroy, explained the situation at hand, with input from development officer, Ted Maloney, and team captain, Jacqui Mulligan.

OceanFM report that preparations for the double-header in Kilkenny, which also involves Meath and Roscommon, will cost in the region of €5,000. A fundraising raffle will take place this week, but Sligo LGFA are appealing further aid.

Gilroy explained that this year, the county’s U14s reached an All-Ireland semi-final and the U16s contested a national final. The intermediate team lined out in a Division 3 league final, a Connacht final and now a fourth All-Ireland semi-final in-a-row.

Extended competitions and more games means further expense between buses and meals.

“The expenditure is just going up and up and up,” Gilroy told OceanFM.

“Three years ago, our expenditure was €75,000, last year we were spending €109,000 and that’s going to increase again this year.

“We have a sponsor, but sponsorship only goes so far. We get a government grant of €9,000 that’s done through the LGFA. That brings us back to €100,000; sponsorship and fundraising, that’s what we have to do on the ground.

“We’re going to the same people the majority of the time and they are very, very good to us. We can’t keep going to them.”

They called for amalgamation with the GAA, “if the financial side is looked after”.

“That amount of expense, how we go about it, I don’t know,” Maloney added. “I’d be begging the people out there, and your listeners…”

Maria Moolick and Jacqui Mulligan Mulligan facing Kildare in 2016. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Gilroy picked up: “We’re always open to people coming on board that will support us, and we’d welcome anyone at this present time.

“I would plead with people, if they only come out and see the commitment and the standard that the girls are playing at… people don’t realise how good ladies football actually is, and the commitment the teams put in.

“They deserve the best that we can give them.”

If the team travel directly to Kilkenny on Saturday, they’ll spend approximately five hours on a bus before the 3pm throw-in, Maloney outlined: “That’s not the right preparation, the least we can do is look after them.”

Captain Mulligan also shared her concern, but was conscious not to delve too deep into the situation with her entire focus on the Premier challenge.

“For the players, our main job is on the pitch,” the stalwart began. “We have a county board in place and a county executive to look after the finance.

“I’ve attended county board meetings and I am aware that there are struggles within the county. Ultimately as players, what we’re looking for is the best care.

“We travelled to Down and because of financial difficulties, that morning we left at 7am and got back after 11pm that night. The financial issues do have implications on the players.

“To sit on a bus for five hours and then try to play the best game of your life… it’s a huge thing,”  the St Farnan’s defender concluded.

“It’s not an ideal situation. Look, it’s a big journey but it’s a big game so we’re looking forward to that.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

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Emma Duffy

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