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Waterford GAA vow to clear €130k debt within two years

Secretary Timmy O’Keeffe reported a surplus of €5,374 this year.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WATERFORD GAA SECRETARY Timmy O’Keeffe believes that the county board will be debt free within two years as the Déise made a €5,374 surplus in their 2015 accounts. It represents a significant turnaround for the board after they required a €600,000 bank loan last year.

Ahead of Thursday night’s convention in Dungarvan, O’Keeffe reveals that they have stabilised the county finances, primarily through a €250,000 contribution from the Munster Council, and reduced their debt to €130,000.

“I am pleased to report that the finances of the board are in a reasonably healthy state in 2015. The accounts show a small surplus of approximately €6,000 for the year as compared to €12,000 in 2014.

“Full credit must go to the county treasurer and Liam Cheasty in ensuring that our finances are kept under tight control. The contribution of €250,000 from the Munster Council was a massive boost to the county and particularly to the clubs. This money was used to pay down debts and Waterford county board’s borrowings now stand at €130,615. Taking into account that we have no overdraft this is a major achievement and we can all look forward to being debt free within two years.”

Strides

The cost of county teams rose to €664,485 in 2015. The senior hurlers spent a total of €362,492, an increase of €105,000 on the 2014 figures. The footballers ran up costs of €130,982. Gate receipts from club championship games fell by €30,000 to €185,115. O’Keeffe stated that they must continue the positive strides made.

“Strict cost controls must be maintained and fundraising efforts will have to be redoubled. A disappointing feature of our accounts is the steady decline in gate receipts. The crowds at many of our games are a disappointment.”

He also outlined his concerns over the future of football in the county. “I wrote in the last two year’s reports that an alarming gap has opened up between Waterford and the other five counties in Munster at underage football level and the situation has not improved at all in the past year. In fact, if anything the gap is getting wider. There is an urgent need to take stock of where Gaelic Football is at in the county at the moment.”

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O’Keeffe accepted the difficulty in meeting the deadlines for the Munster club championship. Waterford SFC winners Stradbally only had 23 hours to prepare for their provincial quarter final against Nemo Rangers.

“Completing all adult championships in 2015 in time for the Munster club championship was a very challenging experience. All were completed on time and all our county champions got the opportunity to participate in the Munster club championships. The turnaround time in the senior and intermediate football was far from satisfactory.

The fact that in Waterford all clubs have a dual involvement in hurling and football makes planning games very difficult and this is compounded when clubs qualify for the knockout stages of both codes.”

He also expressed disappointment with the performance of the Waterford footballers despite winning the McGrath Cup for only the second time. 

“A season that promised much in January petered out badly by June. The truth of the matter is that Waterford needs to have the best footballers in the county playing for the county team in every competitive game.

“We must fully accept that the ‘footballers’ on the hurling panel will not be available to the county football team but there are several other top class players who are not making themselves available to the county football team.”

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Tomas McCarthy

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