Donie Kingston leaves the field after Laois lost out to Kildare last year. Pic: Denis Byrne.
The cost of fielding county teams continues to spiral in Laois, as financial records for 2017 show that almost €700,000 was spent across both codes this year.
In total, Laois GAA spent €698,644 on County Teams Administration Expenses, which was revealed in the accounts released by Laois GAA today. That is an increase of €24,530 from 2016, and jump of almost €100,000 in the space of two years, with expenses in 2015 having come in at €604,450.
Treasurer Martin Byrne had foretold this at last year's County Convention, as county's across the country are faced with rising costs in fielding county teams.
The expenses cover Senior, U-21 and Minor teams in both hurling and football, but the increases were most pronounced at senior level. U-21 football and hurling, and Minor football and hurling, were all cheaper to run in 2017 than they had been in 2016, but costs involved with senior teams rose sharply.
At U-21 level, panels in both codes trained with the senior teams, which may account for the drop in figures at the U-21 grade, and some of the rise at senior level. A new agreement with the GPA also kicked in this year which required county's to spend more on the intercounty teams.
Under the seven main headings for expenses (Catering/Overnights, Players Travelling Expenses, Team Admin Expenses, Buses, Training Facilities, Sportsgear and Medical Expenses including Physiotherapy), the cost of running the senior football team rose by almost €50,000 in 2017, while the senior hurling team cost a little over €30,000 more this year.
In total, under those seven headings, Laois GAA spent €271,572 on the senior football setup, and €275,335 on the senior hurling setup. Both teams played a total of 11 games each between league and championship over the course of the year. That works out at an average of €24,688 per competitive game in football, and €25,062 per competitive game in hurling.
U-21 football came in at €14,544, U-21 hurling at €23,692, Minor football was €50,240 and Minor hurling €35,186.
Martin Byrne has warned in the past that constant increases in this area are unsustainable for county's like Laois, and the county could break through the €700,000 barrier next year if the current rate of increase continues.