GAA | Dublin dining out on county famine

Gaelic Games

It was always a result sure to set the forests ablaze, an era of Dublin domination hell on earth for all but those in sky blue.

No sooner had Stephen Cluxton lifted Sam Maguire aloft than had the bemoaning begun, Dublin’s generational dominance seemingly more worthy of recrimination than commemoration.

Success may breed success for footballers in the capital, but with it comes resentment from elsewhere.

Green eyed monsters have long since been gazing in at Jim Gavin’s rosy garden, last week’s third successive All Ireland title, and fourth in five years, serving only to peak that process.

The call for multiple teams to represent the county going forward is the latest in a long line of ‘solutions’. Like most of those which had gone before, it’s one typical of society’s Snapchat attention span.

Indeed, had Cillian O’Connor’s free gone west of the right post there would be little talk of retreating to the drawing board, the country presumably too busy ensconcing itself in an indulgent wave of red and green delirium.

The narrowest of wins hardly calls for the broadest of changes, yet to suggest the inter-county landscape isn’t in need of tweaking would be in itself wide of the mark.

Allusion to Dublin’s home-town advantage are by now well-worn, fortress Croke Park an unavoidable inevitability.
Too much money stands to be made for the GAA’s glamour attraction to play anywhere other than centre stage.

And while that familiarity of surroundings might represent a marked sporting advantage, the commercial side of things need not be so askew.

Gate receipts are of course cumulatively pooled and divided, money garnered through the turnstiles filtered down equally through all counties.

It’s an ethic that can’t stop there, however, the community-based make-up of the Association one which should be employed at every turn.

In no department is this need more pressing than in the realm of sponsorship. After all, while Dublin may be streaking away on the field of play, it’s their advances in the boardroom which truly set them streets ahead.

They didn’t just happen across €4m worth of AIG sponsorship, after all, their five-year backing from the American International Group very much a numbers game.

One in five replica GAA shirts sold in Ireland bear that logo, up to 160,000 eyeballs subjected to it on any given Sunday.
Needless to say, lil ol’ Louth or Leitrim could not boast that sort of bang for buck.

When one side of the coin can pull in revenue from a sponsor formerly affiliated with Manchester United, and another is relying on the backing from the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, problems abound.

Upon securing his county’s bumper deal at the tail end of 2013, Dublin board chairman Andy Kettle said:

“The sponsorship revenue is critical in helping towards our expenditure on club coaching programmes and inter-county teams at all levels.”

Much like with the Croke Park coffers, it’s high time that revenue was spread across the board.

Dublin dining at the top table is all well and good, but only if the rest of us aren’t scrapping for crumbs on the floor.

Leave a Reply