Cork County Board CEO concedes: 'We've a higher figure than €500,000 to find'

Cork County Board CEO concedes: 'We've a higher figure than €500,000 to find'
Cork GAA officers, Diarmuid Gowen, treasurer, Tracey Kennedy, chairperson and Kevin O'Donovan, CEO, at the Cork GAA annual report for 2019, at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture: David Keane.

CORK County Board secretary/CEO Kevin O’Donovan believes that an increase in expenditure for 2020 will increase the challenge to improve revenue streams after a difficult 2019.

The board published its annual report on Friday, featuring a loss of €559,058 and O’Donovan acknowledged that the situation is at “crisis point”. 

While he has no concerns about solvency in the short term, he acknowledges that there must be an improvement, especially as expenditure figures relating to county teams are expected to increase.

“The contingency is that our reserves are still secure,” he said.

“Could we take it? Yes, but how far down to the bottom of your reserves do you want to go? Will this board be solvent in 12 months’ time? Yes, but there’s another issue here.

“We’ve appointed a high-performance manager [Aidan O’Connell]. 

"It’s not much good appointing him if we’re not going to equip him to serve our county teams and everyone is telling me that we’ve got to get back to Croke Park.

“Are costs coming down in some of those areas or are they going up? I think we’ve more than €500,000 to find in the next 12 months, I think we’ve a higher figure to find.

“It’s grand to come in and have a rant about player expenses but we’re the same people sitting in Croke Park asking why they aren’t fitter or faster.

“Do we have the reserves to take another bad year? Yes, but we don’t want it to go to zero.”

There was a drop of more than €200,000 in gate receipts compared to 2018, but O’Donovan believes that the change in format for the county championships will help to arrest that slide.

“We’ve already reformed our county championships,” he said, “we’ll give it two years and see how that goes.

“We’ve extra county semi-finals and finals, we’ll have more teams playing games. 

"We know again that that will catch the neutral supporter a little bit but it should lead to an increase in attendances and hopefully improve our coffers.

“We’ve appointed a financial planning and advisory sub-committee. Initially, it was about governance but now it’s about generating revenue.

“There’s a massive review coming in January, every figure is going to be attacked. We don’t think that there is €500,000 worth of trimmings to be made but there are lesser amounts and we’re chasing every one of those.

“There’s a commercial revenue hole in our accounts, there’s an attendance hole in our accounts, but there’s another one too, where we can include our tendering and processes to ensure every penny is saved.”

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