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John Horan promises to give 'clearer picture' on GAA funding

Claire Liston, AIB, with Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan and, from left, Enda Smith of Roscommon, David Byrne of Dublin, Hugh McFadden of Donegal, and Jason Foley of Kerry, before the GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Series National Launch at Scotstown GAA Club, St Mary's Park, Scotstown, Co. Monaghan. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
From Cahair O'Kane in Scotstown

GAA President John Horan has vowed to give “a clearer picture” to the public of how the organisation’s games development grant money is divided up.

The issue has come back into focus following Dublin’s retention of the Leinster football title for the ninth successive year, as they also aim for five All-Irelands on the bounce.

Since 2007, Dublin County Board has been given just under €18m in coaching grants by Croke Park. The next highest grant level across the same time period is the €1.4m given to Cork – who have two-and-a-half times as many clubs as Dublin.

The Irish News revealed last week that a motion was passed by Tyrone County Board’s convention last year that the metric used to divide up the grant money be made transparent, only for the GAA’s Rules Advisory Committee to throw it out on a technicality.

Reminded of that fact at yesterday’s launch of the All-Ireland Super 8s in Scotstown, Horan said: "Well, I mean, I will... I'm going to ask someone to just have a look at the metric and give a clearer picture, yeah.”

Horan, a Dublin native, argued that “a different analysis” of the figures would show that the gap is narrowing.

"People are operating off global figures because Dublin's money goes from Croke Park whereas most of the other counties in Leinster get their money from the province by going from Croke Park to the province.

“I think there needs to be a greater analysis of it. It's very easy to take a global figure and say it's one point whatever going to Dublin and whatever going to the rest but if you actually did an analysis, where is the penetration in the schools which a lot of the coaching money in Dublin is going into and that goes into camogie and ladies' football as well.

“So that's where it is. I remember having a meeting with Seamus Kenny and Shane Flanagan, and Shane Flanagan's comment at the meeting between the three of us was that per head of population there's actually more coaching money going into Meath than Dublin.

“That's what he said at that meeting. Now I didn't have the actual figures so I'm not going to stand over it but I intend to get someone to just have a look at it and analyse it.

"I think a different analysis would give a different picture and I think if people look at the trend, that the gap is narrowing.”

With the Super 8s just around the corner, the issue of Dublin footballers effectively having two home games is back on the agenda.

Donegal last year took a bid to Congress to stop counties from nominating Croke Park as their home venue, but failed.

Dublin are set to kick off their Super 8s campaign with a ‘home’ game in Croke Park against Cork or Laois, before then facing Connacht champions Roscommon at the venue in their ‘neutral’ tie.

Calls to move Dublin into their much smaller Parnell Park venue were brushed off by Horan.

"Now, you want Dublin to play an All-Ireland series game in Parnell Park where we could get 9,000 packed into it? Do you really think that's practical?

"If they [other teams] are prepared to play it in a bigger venue to get more people the opportunity to go to the game surely that should be it?

"…If somebody brings forward a proposal it's up to the organisation to decide on it where they go but I don't know if Parnell Park is really an option to put the Dublin footballers into.”

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