Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Tyrone's away ties proving costly

Keeping quiet: Liam O'Neill won't discuss television plans

Tyrone County Board have raised the issue of costs involved in playing so many qualifier games away from home after revealing that 86 per cent of their games through the back door have been on the road.

Tyrone secretary Dominic McCaughey believes there is a "strong case" to be made for financial support towards those who "endure" lengthy away campaigns in the qualifiers. In his report to their annual convention, McCaughey points out that 18 of Tyrone's 21 qualifier games since 2002 have been away from home.

"During this 12-year period the county has enjoyed home advantage on only three occasions – one of which was a replay against Louth," he writes.

"Initially, there were clauses in the regulations for the qualifiers that teams from lower divisions of the NFL should be given home advantage."

McCaughey said costs spiral with the disparity between the number of home and away games.

"From a financial perspective there is a significant difference in the outlay required by a county team for its participation in a home fixture as compared with an away game when all travel and hotel accommodation costs are quantified," he writes.

"There is a strong case to be made for a detailed review of the financial support made available by the Association to a county that endures a lengthy campaign of qualifier games at away venues in any particular season and also where there has been a similar unbalanced record of away games over a large number of seasons."

Meanwhile, GAA president Liam O'Neill has not ruled out pay-per-view TV coverage of football and hurling, as hinted at recently by the Association's marketing chief Peter McKenna.

Negotiations are ongoing for the next GAA television deal, and among the options reputedly being considered is a link-up with Sky, which charges a subscription fee for its channels.

O'Neill said: "Peter McKenna is a shrewd gent. He will lead the negotiations and I will only get involved at the final stage.

"He has the expertise to do this and I think we have to leave him to it," he said.