Six Cork rugby clubs will share part of €500,000 Covid-19 funds from the IRFU

Six Cork rugby clubs will share part of €500,000 Covid-19 funds from the IRFU
Line break by Brian Hayes, Cork Con, against Young Munster in the AIL this season. Picture: Jim Coughlan

CORK’S six energia All-Ireland League clubs, who had their seasons declared null and void last week, stand to gain financially from the IRFU.

The authorities are to make €500,000 available to clubs in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has wiped out sport here and across the globe.

The six in Cork are Cork Constitution, UCC, Highfield, Dolphin, Sundays Well and Midleton, all of whom had a minimum of four games left to play across the five divisions.

In all, there are 50 senior clubs, divided evenly with 10 in each section, but how the money is split has yet to be decided.

A straight €10,000 per club would appear the logical way forward though annual expenses differ across the divisions.

Con and College undertake five trips to the capital, another to Ballynahinch in Down and hit Limerick, twice.

Highfield visit Ulster clubs on three occasions, Malone in Belfast, Banbridge and City of Armagh and travel to play Leinster clubs five times. Their closest away game is Shannon.

Dolphin are in a similar position with games in Belfast, Magherafelt and Ballymena though Limerick, Cashel and Nenagh Ormond are less expensive while Athlone and Kildare were on their radar, too.

If anything, the Well and Midleton see more of the country than any other club, places likes Bangor, Derry and Omagh up north, Tullamore in the midlands, Enniscorthy in the south-east in addition to Bruff and Clonmel.

Travel costs are just one expense, add in hotel overnights, meals and medical expenses and you can see how the bills mount up.

And it’s not that gate receipts make a dent in them either because the club game is not well supported. Sponsorship, for many, is their bread and butter.

The Union statement read: “Domestic Game Director, Colin McEntee, will be advising clubs how the fund is to be applied as soon as is practicable.

“The IRFU has confirmed the funding directly to clubs in a communication that provided them with additional guidance and advice in relation to the on-going operation of their clubs during this unprecedented crisis.

“The IRFU are assessing the financial implications of the COVID-19 crisis across all aspects of the game.

“A number of measures have already been taken at governance level to limit the damage caused by the significant loss of revenue due to the postponement of games.

“The length of the crisis is a critical factor in determining the range of options available to the IRFU.

“We are in a period of unprecedented financial instability for all involved in Irish Rugby.

“The 2019/20 domestic season concluded last week with a number of fixtures outstanding.

“Current government restrictions also prevent clubs from running important fundraising events.

“We know that this has placed many clubs in a difficult financial situation, particularly with regard to cashflow.”

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