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GAA to probe club spending

By John Campbell

The GAA authorities look certain to monitor more closely the expenditure involved in the preparation and training of inter-county teams in 2014 following the release of what one official described as "astronomical figures" in this context.

And with the Galway county board in debt to the tune of €4million (£3.4m), there are grave concerns that stringent measures may now have to be taken to ensure the future well-being of units.

Mayo, who reached the All-Ireland final in which they were beaten by Dublin, spent some €650,000 (£548,000) in team preparation. Cavan were involved in an outlay of €503,000 (£424,000).

While it is understood that these sums cover all county teams in each county embracing both football and hurling, it is generally accepted that the lion's share of the money was poured into the senior county football teams' preparations for their championship campaigns in particular.

"When you see county boards involved in massive debts and then the money it takes to prepare teams in the modern game you get an idea of the astronomical sums that are involved," said one of the leading Ulster officials.

The GAA hierarchy has already queried what are viewed as 'top heavy' management teams with some counties boasting upwards on thirty personnel all of whom help to oversee team preparations to a greater or lesser extent.

Yet despite their massive outlay, the Cavan county board still managed to post a profit of €20,686 (£17,457).

County PRO Declan Woods confirmed that the team's extended championship run had accounted for the greater part of the overall financial outlay but stated that it had been money well spent in that it helped to further the standard of football in the county.

"Obviously success comes at a price and we are happy to have made progress. The fact that we have won the last three Ulster under-21 championship titles is a significant boost to our county and we are delighted to channel money into this important sector which is proving such a fertile breeding ground for our senior team," said Woods.

Tyrone too were involved in big expenditure, but the fact that their senior team reached the All-Ireland semi-finals and the minor squad reached the All-Ireland final in which they lost to Mayo made the spending worthwhile.

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