Checking the foundations


I think most people will agree by now that the dispute that has occurred between Mayo GAA and the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation (which, for the sake of brevity, I’ll refer to simply as the Foundation) is a hugely regrettable mess. I don’t, though, want to dwell on the dispute itself in this piece. Instead my aim is to fill in some background on the original notion of a foundation to help fund Mayo GAA. My hope is that this will go some way in helping to explain why things have ended up like they have, as well as pointing to what might need to happen now to extricate the parties from the mess they’re in.

Let’s go back in time

To do this we have to wind the clocks all the way back to 2010. It was then – in the aftermath of the county’s catastrophic Round 1 qualifier defeat to Longford that June – that the decision was taken to undertake an in-depth Strategic Review of Mayo GAA, the intention of which was to examine how the organisation went about its business and to put forward recommendations for reform. The review was spearheaded by Liam Horan.

I’m not going to deal at length with the Strategic Review’s deliberations or its recommendations nor am I going to talk about what happened after Liam Horan and his Steering Committee presented their Strategic Action Plan report to the County Board. For the present purposes, what I want to do is concentrate solely on two particular recommendations which were put forward in the Strategic Action Plan report, which are of direct relevance to the Foundation which was established and to where everything lies at the present time.

In doing so, some prior disclosure is required. Liam Horan organised the work that was undertaken in drawing up the Strategic Action Plan around a number of broad themes, which were examined in detail by specific sub-committees. One of these, based in Dublin under the able chairmanship of PJ Monaghan, was the Finance and Funding sub-committee. I was one of twelve people invited by Liam to join PJ on this sub-committee and it was an invitation I accepted with alacrity.

In the interests of keeping this piece to a reasonable length, I’m not going to go into detail about the sub-committee’s deliberations. I don’t need to and in any event I’m not sure it would be right to do so. Aside from anything else, a considerable period of time has now elapsed since those deliberations took place in late-2010 and the beginning of 2011 and the specific details of what we discussed are no longer wholly clear in my mind.

Never mind, none of that is really of any relevance. Let’s move onto the point that is.

The foundations of an idea

This came in the form of an idea that bubbled up during the Strategic Review, which, if I’m not mistaken, was the brainchild of the workstream entitled ‘Harnessing Support of Mayo People Worldwide.’ This sub-committee was chaired by Charlie Gilmartin of Kiltimagh (further disclosure – I’ve known Charlie for years) and it formulated an idea about an independent foundation that might be established to raise significant sums of money from high net worth individuals who were well disposed towards Mayo GAA and whose philanthropy might make an enduring difference to the funding of Gaelic games within the county.

The idea was – and is – a sound one. My recollection is that it was based on the many kinds of philanthropic endowment-type foundations that exist in the USA and elsewhere that have built up hugely significant reserves, thus enabling them to support major capital investments in educational establishments and the like. The reasoning went that there were wealthy individuals all over the world with Mayo connections who would be happy to be associated, via such a foundation, with an initiative that could prove to be a financial game-changer for Mayo GAA.

So far, so good.

Two recommendations

While I recall that we discussed the foundation idea within the Finance and Funding sub-committee, I’m less clear about how and why two separate recommendations in this area ended up in the Strategic Action Plan report. (At this stage, it’s as well to link to the report, which you’ll find here. A Q&A document issued subsequently by the Steering Committee is also relevant – that’s here).

It’s these two recommendations, in particular the way they’ve become entwined with how the current Foundation appears to operate, that arguably are at the heart of the current difficulties involving it and Mayo GAA. The recommendations in question called for the establishment of (a) a Worldwide Mayo Supporters’ Club and (b) an independent Mayo foundation.

Let’s start with the foundation one first. This was one of the recommendations put forward by the Finance and Funding sub-committee and you’ll find it listed on page 12 as Finance and Fundraising Recommendation 1 (FF1). The second bullet point of FF1 posits the following aim:

Establish an independent Mayo Foundation, with respected Trustees, which will attract support of the Mayo Diaspora worldwide who are favourably disposed to the aims and objectives of Mayo GAA, and are willing to contribute towards their achievement. The Foundation shall aim to raise funds to disburse to worthy Mayo GAA projects, subject to a formal application process.

The other relevant recommendation that needs to be highlighted is one of seven over-arching Key Recommendations listed in the report. The recommendation in question, (KR7), is set out on page 11 of the report and it calls for the establishment of a Worldwide Mayo Supporters’ Club, with the following objectives:

That the existing framework for support for Mayo GAA throughout the world be developed by establishing an active Mayo Supporters Club/Association in major Irish centres worldwide, under the direction of the Commercial Director. This should be positioned as a key fundraising vehicle for Mayo GAA, and its structures, activities and brand should reflect this.

Whether it was deliberate or not (and I’m afraid I can’t shed any light on this), a clear distinction was drawn in the Strategic Action Plan report between the idea of a Mayo foundation and a Worldwide Mayo Supporters’ Club. The former would be independent and have as its aim the raising of significant funds which could then be targeted at specific activities, which might be grant-aided following an application process. The latter was a Mayo GAA fundraising vehicle, pure and simple.

Another way of thinking about these two very different types of initiatives is that one was focused on Capex while the other aimed to support Opex. It was envisaged that the foundation would in time be in a position to provide significant capital support for strategic projects undertaken by Mayo GAA, either by itself or along with others. The supporters’ club, by contrast, would – so the Q&A document linked above suggests – be set up in roughly fifteen major urban centres globally, each of which would be expected to raise €30-50,000 in fundraising income for Mayo GAA annually and so become a core part of the recurring income of Mayo GAA.

Theory and practice

Of course, the Strategic Action Plan was never implemented in the manner envisaged. The two planned fundraising bodies never materialised in the way set out in the report either.

Significant fundraising has, though, occurred in the years since 2011. The establishment of Cáirde Mhaigheo in 2012 marked a key turning point in this respect and it’s through Cáirde Mhaigheo that Mayo GAA has organised and executed specific fundraising drives, both within the country and abroad, the latter especially in London.

While Cáirde Mhaigheo hasn’t managed to establish the kind of global reach envisaged for the planned Worldwide Mayo Supporters’ Club, it has gone at least some of the way towards achieving this. It has, for sure, established and identified itself as the fundraising body of and under the control of Mayo GAA. To that extent, it has taken on significant elements of the remit, if not the full geographic reach, of the mooted Worldwide Supporters’ club.

Which leads us to the Foundation. It’s fairly clear that while this has elements of the kind of foundation body envisaged in the 2011 report it also bears equal, if not more, resemblance to the Worldwide Supporters’ Club idea. As we have seen, the 2011 report provided for very distinct and different roles for these two bodies but the Foundation that has come into being in the last few years has all the appearance of being a mixture of the two.

The body that has been established seems to be part-foundation – it has raised significant sums and has stated its aim to support, for example, the planned Lough Lannagh development – but also part supporters’ group, in which guise it organised, as an out-and-out Mayo GAA fundraising vehicle, the lavish New York banquet in May. It also has a website that is awash with Mayo GAA branding and so has all the appearance of being an initiative that operates as a fundraising arm of Mayo GAA.

But, of course, it doesn’t. Because, despite Aidan O’Shea’s picture on the home page and all the official Mayo GAA crests you encounter if you navigate through the website, if you do decide to donate money to this body you’re not actually donating to Mayo GAA at all. You are instead giving money to – and it’s necessary to revert back here to the full title to make this point properly – the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit USA corporation with a registered office in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Foundation’s funding

It shouldn’t need to be stressed – but I’ll do so anyway to avoid any misunderstanding – that nothing untoward is being inferred from what has just been laid out. The essential point that needs to be grasped here is that this is a body that makes extensive use of Mayo GAA branding, including the official crest, on its website – where it states that it was founded “to harness global support for Mayo GAA” – but it is not a body that is in any way under the control of Mayo GAA.

It’s only fair to point out here that on the home page of the Foundation’s website it is stated that the Foundation “makes contributions to not-for-profits in Ireland and the United States that positively impact the community.” Elsewhere on its website, it is stated that, in addition to providing support to Mayo GAA, the Foundation also supports the Mayo Roscommon Hospice and that it is willing to consider providing funding to other Mayo-related worthy causes.

At the present point in time, it appears to be the case that, while considerable monies were raised and expenses incurred in relation to the New York event in May, no funds have yet been provided by the Foundation directly to Mayo GAA. It’s understood, however, that some costs incurred by the Mayo team while in New York, including the training camp, were met directly in America by the Foundation. More recently, the Foundation donated €10,000 to Mayo LGFA and also provided footballs to GAA clubs in the county at a cost of €30,000.

In its letter to Mayo GAA dated 20th October, the Foundation stated that it holds an amount of €250,000, which it wishes to provide to Mayo GAA once “the terms of the April ’19 settlement are satisfied.” The letter goes on to state that the receipt of “relevant business plans” was awaited.

What’s to be made of all this? Well, aside from the breakdown in relations between the two parties and leaving aside too the increasingly bitter exchanges that have occurred, and focusing back in on those two recommendations from the Strategic Action Plan, what seems to be the case is that, based on its activities to date, the Foundation is indeed attempting to fulfil both objectives.

It’s clearly a fundraising vehicle for Mayo GAA but it’s also acting as a body that disburses funds as it sees fit, with these funds not going exclusively to Mayo GAA. In addition, the Foundation appears to be taking on, at least in part, the kind of disbursement method envisaged in the 2011 report recommendation, in that it is seeking to target support to particular initiatives and it is looking for evidence, i.e. business plans and the like, that these initiatives make business sense from its perspective as a donor.

So, in looking at what the Foundation has done to date it appears clear that, viewed through the prism of the two relevant recommendations from the 2011 report, it’s operating both as an international Mayo GAA fundraising vehicle and also as an independent foundation. Where the demarcation lies between these two very different roles is not clear.

We’ve been here before

While the issues that have arisen for Mayo GAA in its dealings with the Foundation – as a body that is acting as a fundraising vehicle for Mayo GAA but which is not under the control of Mayo GAA – appear to be unprecedented, those with longer memories in this area may recall that this isn’t in the case. In fact, this is ground that Mayo GAA has trodden before within the last decade.

Who remembers Club Mayo Dublin? In particular how it ended? This was a supporters’ group set up in 2008 – independent of Mayo GAA – and its formation seemed like a good idea at the time (I was at its launch, wrote enthusiastically about it afterwards and became a paid-up member) – but the fact that it was raising funds on behalf of Mayo GAA while not under the control of Mayo GAA eventually led to its demise a few years later.

Why did this happen, you may ask? Well, quite simply because of the GAA’s insistence that bodies or organisations that claim to be fundraising for the GAA need to be under the control of the GAA. In other words if you’re fundraising for Mayo GAA then you are Mayo GAA or you’re a body that operates under the control of Mayo GAA.

Which leads to the logical – and rather uncomfortable – conclusion that what’s sauce for Club Mayo Dublin also has to be sauce for the Foundation. To the extent that it’s acting as a fundraising body for Mayo GAA then it needs to be under the control of Mayo GAA and monies raised by it for Mayo GAA have to be remitted to Mayo GAA. It really is that simple.

Where to now?

I’ve no idea if this will or won’t happen in practice. What is clear, though, is that the current situation, in which the Foundation seeks – as an independent body, in no way under the control of Mayo GAA – to pursue the twins aim of being a Mayo GAA international fundraising organisation, while at the same time acting as a body making substantial capital disbursements to support developments of strategic importance to Mayo GAA, is not tenable and it can’t realistically continue in the way it does now.

The way in which the Foundation – for all the right reasons, I have no doubt – has ended up being, in effect, a melding of two different types of bodies, one that could be independent of Mayo GAA but the other having to be an intrinsic part of Mayo GAA, isn’t the only reason why relations between it and Mayo GAA are in the state they’re in. But it’s clear that the way in which the Foundation has been established and how it’s operating is a significant part of the problem. It follows that untangling the Foundation’s different aims and how they operate vis-à-vis Mayo GAA has to form at least part of the solution.

120 thoughts on “Checking the foundations

  1. As a former member of the Finance Committee in Dublin for that Strategic Review, humour me here, I’m nearly 70 now and my memory is not what it was but my earliest recollection of those meetings moved between bemusement and frustration. I do recall being informed that the then county board were unable to open the attachments emailed to them requesting essential financial information . To quote from Strategic Review Document “The inadequacy of the information provided by Mayo County Board made it very difficult fir our Finance and Funding committee to carry out a proper review…accordingly our first key recommendation is to propose a full independent and professional review of the finances of Mayo GAA, the creation of a five year financial and fundraising plan”.
    Reviewing the Strategic Review that was comprehensively rejected by that board in 2011 and looking at it through 2O19 eyes is a waste of time. The past cannot be changed and had that report been implemented, perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are today.

    Suggesting that the lines are blurred or misrepresented from that document is in my opinion a leap of faith. The current fundraising effort via New York occurred 7/8 years after that document was issued and comprehensively rejected by the county. One cannot dig it out today and then use it to create sense out of current issues. The Mayo County Board rejected it then. I’m flattered in a way that eight years on its relevance is now being recognised. And I know the comment that’s coming. “if it’s John Cuffe, it’s about the county board”. Actually I’d like to think it’s about my county , Mayo, a county that I’m proud of and proud to be from.

  2. I don’t follow your line of argument there, John. The 2011 review is relevant in that it was there the concept of a foundation was first mooted and, as I’ve argued, the way in which this body has set itself up – as a Mayo GAA fundraising vehicle which isn’t under the control of Mayo GAA – is a significant factor in the current dispute. This has got nothing to do with changing the past, rather it’s an effort to try to identify the root cause of something very much in the present.

  3. Jesus, the dead arose and appeared to many.

    For a moment I felt I was watching an episode of Reeling in the Years. Strategic Plans, Liam Horan, John Cuffe and WJ having a bit of a go at each other.

    Seriously John, its good to have you back. It’s like George Hook appearing on the RTE studio for the Rugby World Cup final next Saturday.

    Nothing like the County Board to get you back in the saddle.

    By the way, excellent piece in the Western People yesterday. Here was me thinking this stuff started with the Pat & Noel appointment when you are going back nearly 100 years. You then having a go at poor WJ for going back 9 years.

    WJ, you have done something in the space of a few hours what the CB have failed to do in the last 8 weeks which is to try and make sense of all this. Without knowing the history behind the Strategic Plan like yourself and John, I will defer to you both on historical matters and I will focus on more recent times.

    I am actually more interested in the April 9th 2019 email which Mr O’Leary sent Mr Connolly.

    Why did Mr Connolly decide not to share that email with the remainder of the Executive, in particular the Treasurer who after all is the man responsible for the money?

    The root of this mess is anchored in that email.

    Why did Mr Connolly go to New York and instruct Mr O’Leary to plough on based in his email of April 9th without the full authority of the Executive?

    Why did Mr Connolly return to New York a few weeks later and laud Mr O’Leary as one of Mayo’s greatest ever supporters?

    Why only a few weeks later again did the Treasurer call Mr O’Leary a Donkey?

    For me these are the relevant questions and I think we should be asking Mr Connolly and Mr O’Toole why they behaved in such a manner.

    I am not yet 70 but not that far away and at this stage in my life I try and keep things simple. For me this whole mess rests at the door of Mr Connolly and Mr O’Toole because one individual misled the Executive and Mr O’Leary and the other individual insulted Mr O’Leary when he wouldn’t just give him the Gaud Dam money!

    The first time the Executive became aware of the April email was when the letter arrived from the Foundation on July 11th. Up until that date Mr O’Toole was expecting his cheque in the post from America. When the letter was read out by the Secretary Mr O’Toole stood up and walked out of the meeting without ever refering to strategic reports.

  4. I don’t know anything about the reviews but I do know.

    I was not aware of the Foundation or the large donation to Mayo Gaa until issues arose some months ago.

    What I was aware of was been told that ticket prices were going up. Up by 5 euros because anything less than 5 euros was a nuisance for the people taking the money on the gates. Despite the large donation the prices were going up.

    So a Foundation was set up which generates large amounts of money for mayo gaa.

    Now, the mayo gaa didn’t set it up.

    Now that it is in existence, it seems clear that Mayo Gaa want full control over all the money.


    Would clubs have received 30,000 euros worth of balls if this money was in the clutches of the Mayo gaa ?

    Would the Mayo Roscommon Hospice be in receipt of funding if the money was under the control of the Mayo Gaa ?

    Would the Ladies have received 10,000 euros like they have done from the foundation ?

    Maybe, but I’m not sure.

    I cannot say I would normally associate the Gaa with Transparency, and yet, here we have a foundation accumulating funding that would not have otherwise been generated. A foundation that seems to be able to offer full transparency over its monies and where this money is going.

    We talk about financial burden and accountability. Is the Mayo Gaa afraid of the accountability.

    Might it make it a tougher task to announce another 5 hike in the coming year knowing that the foundation has donated huge sums of money to the cause.

    The foundation may not fit in to the Mayo Gaa mould, but maybe it’s time the mould was changed.

    When I first heard of the Foundation I thought it was great news for the county. I still think it’s great news for the County.

    The Mayo Jersey is regularly plastered over the sports pages of every paper in the land. We fill their sports sections. We sell their papers.

    Do these papers send cheques to Castlebar for all the papers we sold for them. I don’t think so.

    People need to be able to adapt to keep pace with the changing times.

    When this foundation has done so successfully what it has done, and maybe more importantly what the County itself has not done, then, I don’t believe Mayo Gaa should be telling them how things should be done.

    It would be like a one cow farmer telling a.big rancher how things should be done.

    Big hat, No cattle.

  5. Hows that Kerry that have no problems with there Fundraising model and there Sponsorship?
    We should be looking at trying to replicate the model Kerry use for Fundraising and get a much better sponsorship deal than the current Elverys deal that the Mayo Foundation published details off late.Its a really bad deal when you compare what AIG and Kerry group are giving Dublin and Kerry.

    Kerry Fundraising example (Taken from Irish Indo by Paul Brennan)

    Totals are in from the three-city American fundraising tour to help fund the new Kerry GAA Centre of Excellence – it reached $1.15 million (€1,028,000) in gross proceeds from special events, auctions and golf outings in Boston, New York and Chicago.

    When expenses are deducted, the net sum will go a long way to meeting the €5.8 million goal to commence construction on the training facility at Currans. The County Board hopes the last fundraiser in London at the end of the month will nearly finish the project funding.

    The tour started with events in Boston that raised $107,000 (gross). It went on to New York City where the golf outing, dinner and auction grossed $850,000 with top items including an oil portrait of Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh by West Kerry artist Liam O’Neill bringing $24,000 and four Super Bowl tickets selling for $25,000. It went on last week to Chicago where events generated $85,000. The American Ireland Fund contributed $100,000 as well.

    Kerry Sponsorship (taken from Irish Examiner by Tony Leen)

    Kerry Group pump between €600,000-750,000 into Kerry gaa in a season that stretches to September 1.
    Kerry Group’s is the daddy of inter-county agreements in the GAA, dating back to 1991, when Croke Park opened up jersey sponsorship for business.
    Hayes had just been appointed to Kerry Group’s new Corporate Affairs department in Tralee when he met with his neighbour in Oakpark, Tony O’Keeffe, the county GAA secretary.
    Kerry Group didn’t blanch at writing a €1m cheque to underpin the funding effort for the GAA’s €8m Centre of Excellence at Currans. It was the sort of statement that has provided a comfort blanket for Kerry GAA through some ropey times on and off the field.

    Remember, Denis Brosnan signed up in the midst of Kerry’s decade in the doldrums from 1987 to 1997. This year, Kerry will provide assistance across the spectrum to their GAA namesake to the tune of at least €750,000.

  6. A few questions arising from all of above. Not saying that these are all of the questions which could be raised.
    Q 1. What has fundraising for Hospice to do with Mayo Co Board or Mayo GAA generally? While Hospice is a very worthy cause mixing it with Mayo GAA is only going to cause confusion at best.
    Q 2. When Mayo Foundation was fundraising was it made clear that part of the funds were to be directed towards Hospice?
    Q 3. How many Hospices are involved in Mayo? I always heard of Mayo Roscommon Hospice which I understood was to be based in Knock. But recently I heard of a hospice being opened in Castlebar. Is this the same establishment? If not, why two hospices? And which Hospice is being supported by the Mayo Foundation?
    Q 4. What is the point of comparing Elvery’s with Kerry PLC and AIG? Elvery’s are an Irish based firm with, so far as I know, no business outside of Ireland. AIG are a world wide business with other mullti million sport sponsorships
    around the world. Kerry PLC are a major international company partcularly involved in North America. I suggest that in the league of sport sponsorships AIG are Div 1, Kerry PLC are Div 2 and Elvery’s are Div 4. Most GAA County sponsorships are, I suggest, non league.
    Q 5. Is there an alternative Mayo sponsor comparable to AIG or Kerry PLC?


  7. I have an idea for a bit of fundraising for Mayo GAA..Let Mayo GAA TV stream the upcoming County Board meeting live, charge the people €5 to watch on line…. The Camera never lies which is brilliant…. Club members could see the contribution’s of their ‘Delegates’ … Have they asked the difficult question’s , if they don’t the irrefutable evidence is there that they didn’t…. Unless the the Club’s demand from their ‘Delegates’ the nessary bottle, to ask akward questions and demand the highest standard’s from the County Board, well the evidence will be there for all to see for ever…. Besides this actually would make a nice few Euro’s… Let the Mayo Club’s and the Mayo fan’s all over the World see how the Club Delegates and the Mayo County Board repesent themselves….Then we would be in a better place to , People normally put their best foot forward when on Live TV,!

  8. Which Gaa Template would people like to see calling the shots as regards money allocation ?

    The main body, where the mighty Dubs are given a Kings Ransom and the also rans get a kick in the hole.


    Our near neighbours who were in the news again this weekend due to questions over, yes, money.

    Does Pat Mc have a right to ask to see the accounts ? To see where his money has gone ? I believe he has every right. Their current dilema might have been avoided if the plans were laid out on the table for all to see before a penny was spent.

    Does the foundation have the right to ask where it’s money is going to be spent. I believe they do.
    The Mayo Gaa still get to pick the project that the money goes towards.


    Re the hospice. If the foundation that networked and collected the money decide that some of that money should go to a worthy, cause, I’m not really sure where the confusion comes in there.

    Can you tell me Andrew, what is the Gaa Presidents annual take home pay ?

    I can see plenty of confusion caused by a body receiving money for Plan A, but seeming to have difficulty in producing the Plans for Plan A.

    If you want to build your own house you will not get far without the plans, and the plans better be right.

    Are people suggesting, that the body or foundation as it’s been called, that networked and collected the money, should have no say or authority in how or where this money is spent.

    What seems to be the problem Sherlock ?

    There wasn’t as much as a peep out of the board on the many occasions we have been asked to play games at midnight in ballygobackwards. But as soon as the green backs are on the table the table is turned upside down in the hullabaloo.

  9. To clarify one small point, donors and supporters of the new york gala event in may bought tables and donated money on the premise that a small % of the money raised would support the local new york GAA community and the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice. We listen to our supporters! These obligations were met in full and details were on our email to the MCB in July.
    Have a good day

  10. As somebody that is interested in the game on the pitch only, I was never too interested in the way that clubs or any County board was run.
    For me there was a certain type that held the posts at club level, this also follows through to County boards, many of those people never played the game but wanted to have a say in the running of things.
    I see this currently in my Dublin club and former Mayo club, also people pretending to be a mentor but never played the game at any level, its seen as cool now in Dublin to be involved in the Gaa, this will all change when the Dubs stop winning All Irelands.
    To me there appears to be a fallout between the founders and the County Board. Things change over time, I wonder could this down to the failure to land Sam Maguire since 2011.
    Who is in charge on the County Board, both song choices last Saturday evening were 100 % disrespectful.

  11. Trust. If people trusted the people in charge to spend our money right, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Trust is the glass wall which exists between people’s wallets and bricks and mortars and balls and cones. I know where I stand on that one. There is also a difference between confidence and passive acceptance. I also know where I stand on that.

  12. @ Andrew, I don’t know if you caught TG4’s Davitt documentary last May but one thing that caught my eye was Davitt’s concern that with time the GAA would grow to focus on the games, themselves, while losing sight of the values and mission articulated by Dr. Croke in 1884. Given how things have gone I think Straide’s finest son was onto something and thus I welcome the Foundation’s commitment to the Hospice and any other deserving charities who uphold the dignity of Mayo men and women.

  13. Leantimes – when it comes to appointing county board delegates at a club AGM – like most administration jobs at club level no one wants to take it. If one person puts there hand up- or the person who was there last year says they wil will do it for one more year – they tend to get the job.
    Volunteers for club administration are near impossible to get. Like county board administration – people with enough sense stay away – but a lot of them are the first to criticise the club administrator if things go wrong. There is no queue of people out there waiting to take these jobs

  14. No matter how thin you slice something, there are always two sides to everything.
    I think we should hold fire until we hear what the county board have to say. There is no doubt that they have handled this very badly, between CC’d emails containing insults to recipients, to “missing” emails, to some beautiful trolling with the playlist last Saturday evening in MacHale Park. But rightly or wrongly, these are NOT professional people and most likely have received little or no training for their roles and most definitely have not moved with the times. The county board, and the associated officers, are a mix-mash of genuine people trying to help out and do good, some “hanger-ons” that won’t step aside, some egotistical control freaks and with a little hint of arrogant disrespect throw in for good measure.
    WJ has done a brilliant job above detailing the different strands that have now become entangled together to such an extent that it is easy to lose sight of the end game. On the one hand we have a county board that has struggled to “modernise” itself and put proper, fit-for-purpose, structures and supports in place to ensure it can run smoothly and transparently. On the other hand, we have a very wealthy body looking to provide funds to Mayo GAA but is, in actual fact, outside the remit and control of Mayo GAA and Croke Park. To be fair to the county board, how can they fully endorse the Foundation when they have no control over it? To be fair to the Foundation, how can they be expected to bankroll Mayo GAA unless it can answer to it’s donors and trustees exactly where their money has gone? So we have a situation where we are sitting between two stools with our arse fully exposed to the glare of a national media.
    It’s time to take these discussions off the national airwaves. The relevant people need to get the kettle on and sit around a table, face to face, to sort this shit out, once and for all. Stop swinging their dicks in public to see who has the biggest and start behaving like mature adults. We all want the same thing so find the common ground, negotiate and move on. It’s not rocket science.

  15. Thanks a million for a very comprehensive post Willie Joe , it clears quite a few things up
    From my recollection club mayo became cairde maigheo dublin and then reverted to being club mayo due to the GAAs insistence that you described above. I wasn’t aware that it no longer operates. Cairde London of which I am a member is still in operation and continuously fundraising.

    The Foundation certainly seems to be operating outside the terms of what the GAA require. I’d be interested to know what sanction the GAA could apply however to a not for profit registered in the US . I’d imagine the removal of the Acronym GAA from their title might be the height of it.

  16. This is an absolute mess and is only getting worse.

    To me the simple fact is that the organisation, development and administration of a county board like Mayo is beyond the capacity and capability of amateurs. The ethos may remain, but the structure simply does not match the needs of the county anymore.

    The opportunity to address this was badly spurned nine years ago, and we simply cannot afford to repeat this mistake again.

    There may be an opportunity emerging from this crisis and we need to grasp this quickly. The Mayo County Board functions on legitimacy, credibility and trust. That’s not there at the moment, in fact one could argue that it has been missing for quite some time.

    It’s time for evolution or revolution.

  17. County board issues apology – so this was a deliberate act and the reasoning provided was “light-hearted take on recent events”. IMO this was terrible the old adage don’t bite the hand that feeds you well and truly kicked to touch. Even for amateurs (Co. Board) common sense tells you to bend over backwards when a cash cow comes calling..

  18. That’s an excellent and very comprehensive post WJ, and having the background is helpful. I would absolutely echo everything Pebblesmeller says above in his post – both in relation to the board and in relation to the structure of the Foundation.

    Foundation or no Foundation, in the long term I fail to see how Mayo GAA can really succeed without putting in place proper fundraising structures of its own, which it itself controls and manages professionally. While naturally it is attractive, being beholden to a third party for funding at this level is risky, unsustainable and not a prudent move in the long term. However, if we don’t have the resources, capacity, contacts and skill sets to make this happen from within the board, what do we do? And anyway, does the board even have any credibility left, should they decide to take this route?

    South Mayo Exile – you are right that there is no queue of people waiting to take these jobs. To do so means putting your head above the parapet. There is a crisis across the board when it comes to volunteerism, and the GAA is no different. Sadly it’s becoming very difficult to get people to contribute their time and expertise for free these days. Being a volunteer does bring with it responsibilities in terms of professionalism of conduct, and there needs to be a certain level of ability there to begin with.

    Just imagine, if the recommendations of the strategic report had been adopted and the hard yards put in a decade ago, we might not be in this situation now.

    In addition to this, while we are well accustomed to throwing stones at the county board, I can’t say I am overly impressed by the way the Foundation has handled its business in recent months either. Perhaps it’s borne out of frustration, and understandably so, but the feeding of information either to the media or to personal contacts in Mayo, or using social media to make statements does not strike me as overly professional. For example, there is a copy of an email sent by a member of the county board executive sent to Mr O’Leary doing the rounds on WhatsApp this morning. If professionalism is what we are aspiring to, the sharing of such really doesn’t inspire much confidence.

    It would be nice to think that tonight might herald a new dawn and a new direction in Mayo GAA, but what are odds next October will come around and we will be back here yet again?

  19. I also should add that this all has to be symptomatic of a much wider problem and disconnect within the GAA – an organisation that from the top table has pushed relentlessly towards professionalism while pretending to be amateur. I know of very few voluntary committees anywhere that are expected to undertake the level of work, decision-making and management that county boards are, along with the level of financial responsibility that comes with it. On a supposed part time basis?

    It’s insanity, and it’s hardly surprising to see the wheels starting to come off. It’s just a shame it has to be us, and it has to be all over the papers, yet again.

  20. In terms of sponsorship do we really to have a Mayo business as sponsor, can we not look at big business outside of the County.
    I am sure there are top companies all over Ireland that would be eager to have there name on Mayos jerseys.Mayo games in League and Championship are nearly always televised and realistically we are going to be in Super 8s most years and hopefully Semi Finals and Finals so there Name is going to great exposure.
    AIG, Subaru, Ballygowan Water and Gourmet Food Parlour, Bennetti menswear all sponsor the Dubs.Our Commercial Manager should be getting sponsorship deals like this for Mayo, he should be looking outside of the County and be trying to get a number of Sponsors on board.

  21. Anyone looking to see what a county can look like when they throw off the shackles and embrace change need look no further than Cork. Frank Murphy ran the show for 40 years and they’ve completely revitalised themselves in the space of a year since his departure.
    Sadly anyone expecting any answers tonight will be disappointed as I’ve a feeling our executive will do a John Delaney on it and hide behind “we’ve been instructed by our legal advisors not to comment on these matters”.
    Meanwhile the Mayo brand continues to suffer serious damage and I’m beginning to wonder at this stage are certain people operating a scorched earth policy.

  22. Tim O’Leary you are a great supporter of Mayo Football and no more than Pat Mc Donagh you deserve straight answers on where monies provided were spent!

  23. TH – I heard a figure some months back of what Elverys contribute annually and it’s a very significant sum. Considerably higher than what Galway get from supermacs and Cork get from Chill Insurance. We’re not the Dallas Cowboys at the end if the day. Having sponsorship on a GAA jersey doesn’t give huge international exposure.

  24. @South Mayo Exile…I understand what you are saying and why…. But clearly the administration of Mayo GAA cannot continue as is at the moment … If the next County Board meeting were to be streamed live on Mayo GAA TV , Almost everyone with any interest in the Mayo GAA would tune in… The funding of the County Board, the debt on Elverys MacHale Park will ultimately come back to the GAA Club’s of Mayo, they have already been paying huge fees (€6,500 in the case of a Senior Club) to the County Board…. What do the Club’s, The Club Player’s and Volenenteer’s get from the County Board, apart from a much smaller percentage of the All Ireland Final Ticket’s than should be the case, if the total amount available to the County Board were allocated to the Club’s in a Fair and Transparent manner…If the next County Board meeting were to be streamed live everyone could see what was going on at the County Board meeting itself… The Club’s could make their own mind’s up based on the evidence of their own eyes, wheater or not they need to change their Delagetes, or Issue/empower their current Delegate’s to be more forceful in demanding higher standards from the County Board….I think in any event we will be hearing and reading plenty about the next County Board meeting from the National and Local Media, wouldn’t it great to see for ourselves!

  25. Hello all

    WJ good post but again the ideas from 8 years ago were rejected so am afraid its of no use and we can only just deal with what we now have which is a mess.

    Main point is why did county board go to the New York event if they hadn’t a member on the Foundation? I think they just saw dollar signs and when Tim now asks questions they are running for the hills.

  26. It’s unlikely in the extreme that the Mayo County Board meeting will be streamed live… Imagine this seneario, that one or two Club Delegates demand that the next County Board meeting be streamed live on Mayo GAA TV…. It’s not as if anyone has anything to hide, is it?…….It would be great for ‘Transparency’ and if they charged €5 it would be a in the words of ‘Del Boy’ from ‘Only fool’s and Horse’s’ a ‘Nice Little Earner’ … now what put ‘Del Boy’ into my head?

  27. I think most of us are coming towards the same conclusion – administration of a county the size of Mayo is no longer a job for the volunteer who puts his or her hand up and do the job in their spare time. It’s now the job of full time administrators paid properly for their services. The scale of the job or brand Mayo is totally different to what was there even 10 years ago.
    Even county board officials are admitting this. It still doesn’t justify the lack of respect shown towards Tim o’ Leary.

  28. Tim-thanks for everything you have done. The level of professionalism involved in the NYC events was a credit to all involved (as opposed to the episode of Fr Ted we witnessed in 2014). No offense to anyone in the Co Board, but I’m guessing few if any of them ever have run a company in a highly regulated industry like you have. Instead of working with you and embracing what you have brought to the table from an organizational standpoint , they seem to be yearning for DeValera and the maidens at the crossroads.

  29. Wide ball you obviously havn’t seen the email Tim released about our latest Sponsorship deal with Elverys.Its pittance in comparison to the big names in Gaelic Football.I don’t see the logic why we have to be sponsored by a Mayo company or business, there is no rules on this sponsorship.Why do Ballygowan Water a Limerick company sponsor Dublin Gaa??
    Only for Tim highlighted how bad the deal was in the email ,the Mayo public would never know as the County Board or Elverys have never released figures on the deal.Tim only wants the best for Mayo football while our County Board are happy to be Peasant County.
    If your not trying to compete with Dublin and Kerry off the field is there any point trying to compete with them on the field.

  30. Whitey- The Mayo Foundation charged $50,000 for organising the gala in New York so you would expect it to be ran in a professional manner.

  31. TH-I haven’t seen the letter, but allow me to say this. Pat Rowland and Elverys stepped up big time when Mayo Football was at an all time low. They themselves, almost faced extinction not so long ago. They are a great employer in the county town and surrounding area and gave the entire county a great boost when it was on its knees coming out of the recession. Times have changed and Mayo are now (according to what someone told me in NY) the 5th largest sporting brand in the county. Of course things need to be re-negotiated, but people should have nothing but praise for Elverys (IMHO)

  32. @Whitey, I don’t think anyone is criticising Elverys or their directors. However, it is a legitimate question to ask whether Mayo GAA are getting the maximum return possible in sponsorship. Elverys are in a unique position as a sponsor in that they are also setting the county’s sports wear. Kerry group or AIG may struggle to quantify how much they are receiving for this investment but Elvery’s can see their return at the tills every day and I would be very confident it exceeded €1 million at a minimum every year. It has been extremely lucrative for Elvery’s and is looked on with envy by other sponsors.

  33. To correct Just a thought

    1) i paid personally the fee for organising the gala and the entire weekend in fact. There was NO cost whatsoever to the foundation.

    2) The foundation (we dont have members) were NOT involved in selling tickets. In fact, we gave tickets away for raffles for Mayo Roscommon hospice – they verified it on their facebook page.

    Re New York – please compare 2019 to 2014 by asking the fans/players/management about their experiences

  34. Just a Thought. Fundraising costs money and I assume the $50K was reimbursed from the several hundred thousand raised in the night. In 2014 a county board official with a shoebox was on the door of Connolly’s collecting $20 per head and had to stop taking money when the room filled. A complete joke. Other people paid to go to a meet and greet in 2014 on the Friday night and there was no meet and greet. Regarding the person charging $100 per ticket, my understanding is, he was doing that in his capacity as a publican and had nothing to do with his involvement in the Foundation. The same person had a “courtesy” coach from his pub up to Gaelic Park in 2014 and then went around collecting either $20 per head once everyone was seated. A professional organization with bylaws and proper code of ethics would eliminate this type of codology

  35. Liam-I would beg to disagree. People are implying (maybe not saying outright) that Elverys have some type of sweetheart deal (or at least that’s my reading of some of the comments)

  36. Just another thought harking back to 2014. There have been a lot of comments on here regarding the shambolic organisation of events in New York in 2014 and I see also that Eugene Rooney has gone public on monies allegedly owed to him by the Mayo county board. Well I was in New York for the 2014 game, as I was this year too, and to compare the two events is very unfair. Firstly, for the pre-game event in 2014 James Horan would not allow the players turn up to the event and at another later event, they only showed their face for a very short while. This year it was very different as regards access to players.That’s what $50,000 gets you.
    Now, as regards Mr. Rooney and his unpaid bills? He has a short memory. 3 friends and I queued up outside one of his hostelries in 2014 and boy were we sold a pup. Big-time! The deal was a cover charge to enter and you got food, music and there was to be a few Mayo “celebs”/former players taking a Q&A session and a general chat. As we stood outside we were met by a number of fairly angry people coming out and heading away. Failing to heed the warning we paid our entrance fee (no ticket or receipt or hand stamp!) and shoved our way in to an incredibly packed bar. We were told to go upstairs, so we did, eventually forcing our way through. To cut a long story short, there was no live music, instead it was blaring through a sound system. The food consisted of 2 or 3 baskets of finger food, between hundreds, and the Q&A session was a session alright! The “celebs” were pissed as farts and all sat in a line along the bar with their backs to everyone. There was many a disgruntled Mayo supporter there that wanted their money back, but because there was no difference between those who paid in, and those who didn’t, there was no proof of payment (Tickets or receipt) in in the first place!
    Mr. Rooney pulled a fast one in 2014. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

  37. TH – where does all the sponsorship money come from in the Mayo GAA annual accounts if Elverys are giving pittance?

  38. Whitey – I don’t know the persons capacity I just know he is a member of Foundation and said the money was for the team so I’m not sure if he gave it directly to county board or Foundation.
    Also total raised for weekend after expenses was just over $100,000 so $50,000 seemed high to me.

  39. That kinda misses the key point I was trying to make, Peter M – the background about the Strategic Review is just that, background. The essential point that needs to be understood, which some obviously get but many clearly still don’t, is that any body using Mayo GAA branding to fundraise for Mayo GAA has to be under the control of Mayo GAA and the money raised in this way has to be given to Mayo GAA. As I’ve explained in the piece, an independent foundation-type body is a different idea and it’s very different to the one that has been created, which is more akin to a fundraising vehicle for Mayo GAA.

    I think the point you make, though, about the dollar signs is a fair one – the relationship needed to be nailed down fully in advance, bearing in mind the imperative about control of the fundraising monies. It wasn’t and that failure is one that happened under the watch of the current Chairman, which without question is where a very large portion of the responsibility for this mess now lies.

  40. Just a Thought-I heard a significantly larger figure was raised from a pretty reliable source (but I’m open to correction)

  41. I can understand why folks might have some reservations around the Foundation however I believe the intentions of the organisation were the best of intentions for Mayo GAA. While the controversy of late is unwelcome, I think additional transparency on how things are run and managed is no harm. They have every right to ask as to how the money they have already provided has been spent and further as to how any future monies are to be spent.

    If the structure of the foundation were an issue, then this should have been highlighted to the foundation previously, and certainly before the dinner in New York where the Chairman of the County Board spoke, and described Tim O’Leary as Mayo’s greatest supporter. The horse has certainly bolted long before now if there is a structural complaint to be made by the County Board in that regard.

    As regards positions on the board and whatnot – I can also understand people calling for heads and there is merit in some change in that regard, provided the change brings about improvement. You can’t make wholesale changes at Board level without suffering from a loss of experience at that level too. You also cant just change things and have people of similar caliber as replacement and then expect improvement. There is no doubt that things can and need to improve and the voluntary nature of the system as it is now doesn’t lend itself to the best results. I do think that there needs to be some full time positions – be they administrative or CEO or both, in order to really keep things on an even keel and to ensure things are getting done as they should be. The issue is as to how do you ensure that these positions are appropriately funded – donations and the likes are great but aren’t a stable source of income and the Commercial director should be looking to ensure a steady stream of cash is coming in to cover all the various known costs as they arise. There will of course be unknown and variable costs that will need to be managed also, but setting targets for the commercial director to this end will no doubt make this a bit more manageable. An administrator will be able to help with the various operational tasks and a CEO in a full time position would be able to organise the structures of Club and County to greater effect. Ultimately, if these are all done properly, the cost saving and improvements should allow them to pay for themselves.

    I think recent events will have certainly made the Clubs think long and hard about who they want and what setup they want in place, but the right people need to be nominated for the right positions, and it’s up to the clubs to put these people forward and to vote accordingly. Either ways – it is up to the club delegates to vote these current fellows in or out and how they do so will itself be quite telling.

    I certainly hope that this can all be resolved and that relationships can be repaired, and that both the Board and the Foundation can move past these issue and designate their time, which is voluntary for both parties, to their respective functions.

  42. Whitey – I’m just going on statement Tim O’Leary issued. It said after expenses just over $100000 raised. I assume this includes money raised on auction, gala and other events held over weekend.

  43. WJ, thank you for your thoughtful intervention. It is most welcome to those of us who while emotionally invested were in the room eight years ago.

    That said, I must offer the following in reply.

    Your analysis while deep was completely focused on the Foundation and lack of governance from the CB over the Foundation as the root cause of the problem?

    Is that not somewhat ironic given others might identify the lack of governance within the CB and its failure to engage transparently with the Foundation as the root cause of the current imbroglio?

    If not, how do we, as a collective body, resolve the contradiction in terms?

  44. Was that you WJ on the 14:45 out of Euston?
    Are we heading in the same direction for the same convention?
    I just came in this morning and heading for the West.
    Fancy a coffe and we can trade stories and tales of yore?

  45. All – I’ve had to get the scalpel to a few comments made just now, which make allegations relating to individuals. If anyone wants to make claims of that kind they need to be VERY sure of their facts otherwise they need to start acquainting themselves rather quickly with the laws of libel. I’m doing what I can to save people from themselves, by taking down material I deem to be troublesome in this regard, but, please, do yourselves a favour and don’t put yourselves – and me – in that position in the first place. And recall what the house rules say about the personal responsibility you accept for whatever you post here – it’s rule no.1 on the list.

  46. That wasn’t me, I’m afraid, either in Euston or Heuston – that’s the second time I’ve been asked that question today.

    I don’t claim that the piece is a full examination of all the facts relating to the dispute, Reafterai – and I make that point up front. The issue I’ve focused on is, I believe, the crux of why the dispute blew up the way it did. But, as you rightly say and as I pointed out myself earlier on in response to another comment, the engagement with the Foundation at the outset, i.e. ahead of the New York trip, wasn’t what it should have been either. I’ve already said where I feel responsibility for this failing lies.

  47. Liam – can you please refrain from these breathless updates, telling everything and nothing at the same time? I’m trying to promote a reasoned debate here. You’re now trying my patience greatly. And like many others you can’t offer up the defence of being just an observer.

  48. Amazing summary WJ.

    Note your points on Mayo Gaa branding etc. The route I’d like to see taken is akin to a public sector/private sector partnership. So each holding the other accountable and using a framework to achieve more together. This has been proven to work well throughout history when used at government or authority level.

    Interesting comparisons to AIG and Kerry Group. There aren’t organizations necessarily of that size in Mayo – certainly not in terms of an obvious tangible immersion like Kerry Group.

    There are the likes of Baxter, Allergan and others. If approached in the right way they might be willing to do a lot more.

    The other point is the commercial success of County Mayo in a more rounded sense can provide a platform in different ways. Population consistency, jobs, community support etc. Obviously a huge discussion in terms of whether we feel Mayo gets its slice of national support at that level. One of the reasons Mayo have so many professionally successful supporters worldwide has been the need to leave the county. Tim is one very good example.

  49. Willie Joe thanks for reply

    But, regardless what the structure is which Tim O’Leary setup regardless of images on the foundations website etc. it proves Tim’s point that there is no governance at county board level as clearly foundation was given the go ahead by the fact the Mayo team and management went to the event, Tim O’Leary was also publicly praised at the event and everyone at the event including the board and 3 members of Mayo County Council knowing it was an American foundation so Tim O Leary and the foundation didn’t do anything wrong and in fact did the opposite in raising awareness of Mayo in New York and Tim O Leary funded a large part personally.
    In summary Tim is correct to point out the county board issues and you are also pointing them out in clearly saying the recommendations from 8 years ago they rejected.

    I am one for governance etc and yes the Mayo County Board should have done a memorandum of understanding, had a Mayo County Board official on the Foundations board etc. But they didn’t and Tim is pointing out their weaknesses simple as that.

    Again your background information while is helpful is pointless as board rejected it 8 years ago but maybe they should now accept it as way for the future. So again foundation did what they said they would do and was endorsed by the fact Mayo GAA went and attended etc.

    Lastly how can anyone stand behind a county board who in an age of mental health awareness and wellbeing “bully” someone by playing songs at a game? Doesn’t this also enforce the point Tim raised when clubs feel bullied etc by the county board? I think it does. I personally find that disgusting.

    Yes Mayo GAA is run by volunteers giving up free time is I am afraid at an end. This is a large business and needs to be ran by full time paid staff.

    Also it’s all grades of Mayo GAA which are effected here and we are now becoming a laughing stock for the wider community.

  50. WJ, that is a very magnanimous reply and it is most welcome. The individual, in question, has much to answer for because it would appear to me that their refusal to share April’s Communique with his colleagues elected, like himself, by our clubs has deployed time and thought desperately needed elsewhere.

  51. The way the Mayo County Board have treated the Mayo Foundation is hard to take in.
    We have such a great bunch of gaa players but with such an archaic structure behind them, how can they really compete to the best of their ability?
    Everyone envies Dublin and the likes for all for the financial resources they have and yet here are Mayo County Board acting in such a manner to such a strong financial supporter of Mayo GAA..beggars belief really!

  52. As a follow on to previous comment, I want to thank the Mayo Foundation and Tim O’Leary who have done so much good work for Mayo GAA but appear to have got nothing but grief and abuse in return.

  53. Mayofan1- We lost finals in 16 and in 17 by one point to Dublin. I don’t think we lost them because of the county board. I think the team were well looked after and didn’t appear to want for much. We had the best trainer in the country travelling from Kerry, Tony mcentee travelling from Armagh etc. I cannot see how you could blame the county board for those defeats.

  54. Jays I can almost hear a stampede of lawyers on the horizon to sort this mess out. My big current issue is the shenanigans that went on Saturday night…does PRO not stand for Public Relations Officer? God anyone who ‘assumes’ that title should at least have a little grasp of the mood of the public they are purporting to relate with. And this guy has put himself out there as PRO extraordinary since he got the gig. Being totally honest this sort of thing is really putting me off attending McHale park altogether, and I’m someone who has attended 90% + of mayo matches in all competition for the last 40 years. Whatever the merits of the stand off, this and the Donkey statement are truly beyond rationale

  55. The county awaits…surely there will be apologies, lots of answers and resignations. Thanks Darkyfinn for that link – ‘a light-hearted take on recent events’. That line alone is jaw dropping. I, my family or anyone around me werent finding it funny. No another County Board in the country would do that. To be honest I dont know how Mr O’Leary has stuck with it at all after the way he has been treated.

  56. All – can the pitchforks please be put back in the shed on the DJ issue? An apology was made and accepted relating to that issue and so that should be the end of it.

  57. Fair enough the apology was accepted WJ but Peter M & KL are correct. It beggars belief that the PRO thought that to play the songs would be taken as a good laugh. Mayo GAA belongs to the people and the brand has been treated with the uthmost disrespect by the people who are supposedly there to uphold its good name. Players are always told the motto ‘leave the Jersey in a better place’. Same goes for Officers. Make no mistake about it there is genuine anger amongst fans about this current debacle.

  58. No coffee then Willie Joe on the Heuston Express.
    Shame your not on board, it feels more like the 3:10 to Yuma!

    In your response to Peter M did you just place the chairmain in front of the oncomig high speed train?
    I would have to agree as chairmain he most certainly is accountable for this debacle.
    However there are 4 others who hold individual responsibilities for their actions and lack of actions.
    Then there are 5 who as a group hold collective responsibility and accountability.

    The Foundation and trustess undoubtably made errors too.
    But this is an organisation 12 moths old and I have a level of confidence they can identify areas for improvement and drive the necessary change.
    They identified their first mistake quite quickly and rectified that, which was giving money directly to Mayo GAA and I am sure if the Foundation are around in 12 months their governance, process and procedures will be reviewed so as to drive improvment, as any proper functionng organisation would.
    I have been looking at the County Board for years and what I see is repeated failures, mistakes, an apparant zero desire or will to change or improve.

    Given what we now know, to suggest that somebody from the current officers of Mayo GAA CB should have had oversight of Foundation governace or control of fundraising monies is pure comedy gold.

    Seems to me the County Board need to get their own house in order with respect of governance & finance before offering oversight to others.

  59. Rivillino, The GAA President is normally seconded from his day job and gets his normal salary etc. from his employer who is then recompensed by the GAA. That, I understand, is the normal position. There may be instances where this does not apply, e.g. if the President were a retired person but I am not aware of any such instances.

  60. As I travel West for tonight’s big event I have taken the available time to review in detail WJ’s piece on the Foundation and the many comments posted here today.

    In fairness WJ makes many fine points about the Foundation and where things might have gone wrong. He does so from a very informed place given his involvement with the Strategic Review so his views are to be respected. I think it is also important to say that the Draft Strategic Review was just that, a Draft. It contained many recommendations and many of these had cross overs between the various committees as would be the case. What is most relevant in that Draft Plan is its Key Recommendations and in this case Recommendation Nr 7 as it would have most likely taken precedence over the many other recommendations contained in the Draft Plan.

    Worldwide Mayo Supporters’ Club
    “That the existing framework of support for Mayo GAA throughout the world be developed by establishing an active Mayo Supporters Club/Association in major Irish centres worldwide, under the direction of the Commercial Director. This should be positioned as a key fundraising vehicle for Mayo GAA, and its structures, activities, and brand should reflect this.
    Timeline: July 2011 Responsibility of: Commercial Director”

    Unfortunately this fund raising structure never happened and the only ones to blame for this is the County Board and in particular its officers. Nearly 10 years on they decided to appoint a Commercial Manager. 10 years of a lost opportunity with our senior team flying high.

    It also goes without saying that Cairdre Maigheo was a huge success and credit for this should not solely rest with the CB or any particular individual within the CB. The reason I say this is that a key factor in becoming a member was the guarantee of all ireland tickets should Mayo make it to the final. It was a complete no brainer for the vast supporter base to try and avail of the membership. Unfortunately it’s growth was capped by the availability of season tickets from Croke Park which again was a factor in the offering. Most importantly in my opinion the success of Cairde Maigheo has to go to the success of the senior team over the last 10 years. I wonder how many members would there be if we ended up each year where we were in 2010?

    Let’s also remember that the Cairde Maigheo franchise made it to London and no further. It was unable to launch in Dublin after the relationship breakdown between CB and the Dublin bridgehead. The CB may have taken back control of Dublin but lost it as a valuable source of revenue.

    Let’s then move on to the topic WJ raised here which is the concept of a Foundation. A Foundation is a very different concept irrespective of how it is constituted and what direct involvement or control the CB has in it. It’s target audience is very different to that of Cairde Maigheo. We are now seeking to target individuals of high net worth who are most likely successful business people. We are now asking individuals to hand over serious money in return for what? Let’s remember these individuals will most likely be a Guest of a large Corporate come all ireland final day or they will just buy their own corporate table so tickets are not a motivating factor. As they won’t appear on the front or back of the jersey there is no commercial value to their brand by way of media exposure to hand over a large donation.

    So why would someone just hand over money then?

    It’s simple. A deep love for their native County or for the homeland of their parents or grand parents. It’s about the emotion and not about the commercial benefit.

    Given the profile and net worth of these individuals they are most likely the target of many requests both in the country they live in or the area of Mayo they come from. Mayo GAA is not the only entity seeking money. So now they have visibility on different requests and the many different ways individuals will approach them. Be that a begging bowl or a professional business plan.

    Important to note that the CB didn’t find Mr O’Leary. He found them and apparently they only responded to him after 3 months.

    The April 9th email is the key piece of information in the journey and if the CB didn’t like the terms of engagement offered by the Foundation well they should have said no thank you and everyone would have moved on.

    It’s true to say that the Chairman made a decision to proceed without the formal approval of the executive, however, it was still an approval and that should not be an issue for the Foundation. It is an issue for the county board.

    Once the July 11th letter was sent to the CB then the Executive knew and no one said they had an issue other than the Treasurer and he decided to walk out of the Executive meeting.

    After all the Treasurer is just the Treasurer and as much as he may not like the decision of the Chairman he should either respect his decision or go through the appropriate channel to try and remedy the situation. He did neither.

    He subsequently went on to insult Mr O’Leary by calling him a Donkey in an open email and has yet to apologise for this dreadful behaviour.

    So WJ I have to say that I find your position in identifying one Officer as the person to blame and not blame the other officer for his behaviour rather strange.

    As an individual who rightly demands respect and compliance with rules why would you not call on the Treasurer to apologise to Mr O’Leary?

    By all accounts this email was the start of this awful episode.

    If someone gives offers your organisation the opportunity for a minimum of €415,000 then the minimum they deserve is respect and if someone insults them then the minimum they deserve is an apology.

  61. Lilly of the glen: 100% right

    Willie joe I respect you but Mr O Leary didn’t in my view do anything wrong and as your recommendations 8 years ago weren’t accepted then again Mr O Leary didn’t in my view break any rules but was actually encouraged with his work by the county board, case closed.

    So should this forum just not be why county board should simply call him to the meeting (I believe Tim is in Mayo at present) and apologise for any stress caused by this nonsense and can we sit down and talk?

    Seems very simple solution

  62. To all

    Tim you are reading this page (you have commented) and I guess county board might.

    Look county board are all volunteers giving own time and a lot loose family time etc. So the county board are doing what can be done as volunteers and anything voluntary will have errors etc.

    Tim you can raise money and county board need it so get in a room sort it and move on lads as we are only embarrassing ourselves.

  63. I was told by multiple people this afternoon i would be refused entry this evening. Instead , i am preparing for a halloween party tomorrow night my wife and i are hosting for our 7 year old twins and their school friends #priorities

  64. Peter M – you’re still not getting the crucial point, which is that a body using Mayo branding to fundraise for Mayo GAA has to be under the control of Mayo GAA. It’s a simple principle, one that was adhered to for most of this decade when very significant fundraising was undertaken (just look at the annual accounts online to see how revenues have grown from 2012 to now) but was departed from when the relationship with the Foundation was forged. As I’ve said in response to others (and, Lilly, I’m not throwing anyone under the train here – I’m just calling it as I see it and understand it), it was the current Chairman who led the development of the ties with the Foundation and so, of course, he’s responsible for what has ensued.

    Lilly – I’d make the same point to you about fundraising. Look at the accounts and see what happened over the last decade. Total income rose from €602k in 2012 to €3.3m in 2018. If you were to believe much of what’s being posted here in the last 24 hours you’d think this was an organisation going backwards commercially in the last decade, when in facts income and expenditure have both risen sharply … creating their own issues in turn, of course.

    What you say about a Foundation and what its aims might be are, of course, correct. But I’d say that if it’s to function properly as a Foundation it needs several donors, not just one, and it also needs a group Trustees who are separate from the donors, which also isn’t currently the case with the current Foundation. I accept it’s early days but this needs to be sorted and soon.

    You’re determined to pull me down the road of calling for apologies but I’m not going to do this, as it’s not my place to do so. I really don’t understand why you feel it should be, I know it isn’t and I’d be obliged if you’d show me a bit of respect and respect my wishes on this … otherwise, God forbid, I might start looking for an apology too.

    Finally, on a point you made in an earlier comment (and you’ve posted your fair share of comments today) you state that the Foundation made an initial contribution to Mayo GAA. I don’t believe this is correct – that 2018 contribution preceded the Foundation’s establishment and I don’t believe that, aside from paying some expenses in New York, the Foundation has provided any funds at all to Mayo GAA to date.

  65. Willie Joe:
    cheers for message and to be very clear I do agree with you on what you said to me on the governance and the setup of a donors structure etc. But all I am saying is an event was attended by Mayo GAA and maybe some should have said hold on let’s make sure we have all the t’s crosses etc but this a volunteer group and all they can give is their own free time and I am not saying something was over looked but if it was then let’s at this stage fix it and put the procedures in place simple as.

    I personally dont think anyone should highlight any board member as been “a fall guy” As it’s pointless now just fix it and move on and it takes a bigger person to do that.

    Willie Joe you are doing a great job and everyone wants same outcome

  66. Willie Joe,
    I fully agree that any body fund raising for Mayo GAA must be fully under the control of Mayo Co Board. I have often criticised the Co Board but regardless, they are the Co Board and the only people who can run Mayo GAA affairs. Other sports bodies are full of so called “clubs” who have been taken over by money men who began as “generous supporters”. I don”t think I need to list them or some of them. I don’t think that any “moneyman” could take effective longterm control of a GAA Co Board or indeed of a club due to GAA rules.

  67. The playing of those songs at HT during the underdogs game was for me just a prime example of the ineptitude of this board. I have no doubt there are good mostly good people there doing their best but if your best is not good enough the. Please get off the stage…

    Ego ruins everything and I think ego and self importance has fotnin the way of the main aim here…progressing Mayo GAA for the benefit of all.

    The administration of GAA in Mayo (and indeed other counties) has become too big for part timers I’m afraid. While volunteerism must be the core, a certain level of professionalism at the top table needs to be introduced and fast.

  68. I have been sitting back and watching this one for a while not knowing who was right or wrong due to lack of inside knowledge or any knowledge really.
    I have to say at this point though that its pretty clear to me that the foundation are acting correctly.
    The reality is that Mayo GAA as a brand has simply outgrown the capabilities of the existing CB to run / manage/ develop it. Its a business now and will only get bigger. We have to discard the acceptance of amateur levels of management that has been tolerated in the past.
    There needs to be a proper administration structure put in place with benchmark corporate governance underpinned by the necessary financial management / accounting practices that would be present in any corporate entity.
    There needs to be a written business plan setting out clearly the objectives for Mayo GAA for a 5 year and 10 year timeframe.
    Thats the way the world works we cant expect to continue in this current vain and achieve any level of success on the pitch.
    First rule of management is ”if you cant change the people………….you have to change the people”.
    I think Tim O’Leary knows this………..and has done us all a service pointing it out.

  69. I would like to thank Tim O Leary for all sponsorship given to the Mayo cause. This surely was a huge factor in making Mayo so competitive since 2011. Gave us supporters great days out.
    The Gaa like to keep things ”amongst themselves in Ireland ”, certain suppliers get the work, ie, in building a clubhouse, laying a new pitch, certain guys get the Official jobs usually come up through the ranks from their club then to one of the 4 divisional boards and yep right up to the County board etc, a very long process.
    As somebody that works with figures and looks at value for money, I see that the Audit costs rose dramatically when the Auditor was changed. All work should be Tendered for and usually the lowest price wins.

  70. Fundraising efforts should be overseen by and accountable to the board but not controlled by it. Likewise, the Board should be accountable to the supporters and dare I say the auditors. Someone in NY told me that Mayo is the 5th largest sporting brand in the country. The days of the biscuit tin are over. With the money at play here, there should be enough to pay qualified professionals who can augment the work that unpaid volunteers. Thanks for everything you have done so far Tim

  71. Well that was a waste of a journey.
    At least my ‘new’ friend who travelled from New York got into the meeting only to be asked to leave. I didn’t even get in! Security was tight. Anyway we will have a few pints in Castlebar tonight and get the train back to Dublin in the morning.

    In relation to your earlier response WJ. If I was to insult you I would of course offer you an apology.
    Why wouldn’t I?
    That’s what decent people do when they insult or hurt someone. I know you would do the same because as much as I might not agree with your views I know you are a decent man.

    I guess I am just confused as to why you would target one officer and not question the dreadful behaviour of the other officer. In saying all this WJ I fully respect your position that you don’t want to call on the Treasurer to issue an apology so I will let this rest.

    I would question you on the point you make that the Foundation have used Mayo GAA logos. I understand they did this because they have permission from the County Board. The CB has never raised any issue with this so I am wondering why you keep pushing this issue. Are you saying that they don’t have permission?

    The Foundation is more than just one donor and it’s correspondence clearly shows this by virtues of the significant contributions from other Donors.

    It also has a highly respected Trustee.

    The key point I am trying to make WJ is that I think you have targeted the Foundation in your piece of yesterday and trying to present a case that it isn’t in some way compliant when no such allegation was ever made by the CB.

  72. So the county board won’t take about the issue again tonight. I’m losing count now, is it 2 or 3 months that this has been going on and they have provided no information other than embarrassing themselves and the whole of mayo by playing stupid songs and insulting people. They are sticking their heads in the sand and hoping this just goes away.

  73. Lilly – answering the points you’ve raised in turn:

    1. I’m not ‘targeting’ anyone. I’ve put forward my views on where I believe responsibility lies on the County Board side for this issue having developed the way it has. No more, no less. You’re the one doing the targeting, by continually – in almost every comment you posted since you first appeared on here less than a week ago – referencing the same issue and the same person. You say you’ll now let this rest, I sincerely hope you mean that.

    2. The issue of using the Mayo GAA logos and crest relates back to the question about what arrangements were agreed in advance between the parties. See (1) above and my previous comments on this as to where the responsibility lies for this state of affairs having been allowed to develop in the way that it has.

    3. What contributions? The Foundation hasn’t to date made any contributions to Mayo GAA. It has raised money alright but it hasn’t given that money to Mayo GAA. The correspondence I’ve seen lists just two trustees, one of whom is the only identified donor, and in this correspondence there’s no mention of any other donors or who they might be.

    4. I haven’t ‘targeted’ the Foundation (this seems to be a word of choice for you) and if you think that then you clearly didn’t read what I wrote closely enough or with a sufficiently open mind.

    As you’ll appreciate, it’s becoming akin to a full-time occupation for me in responding to your constant stream of comments. You’ve only very recently appeared as a contributor on the blog so I’ve given you plenty of airtime but regular visitors to the site will know that I don’t, in general, engage in extensive bilateral discussions with people in the comments. While I’m happy to respond to you if you want to communicate further by email I’m afraid this will have to be the last of this particular bilateral exchange here on the site. My email address is if you want to get in touch that way.

  74. There was a report on Facebook from The Mayo News on tonights County Board meeting. I took three points from it, first; they have only received E150 thousand from the Foundation and are looking forward to getting more with a payment of E250 thousand, they have issued receipts for the first money and reserve the right to control where any future money is spent. Second, they are going to have a private meeting with delegates from all clubs and sort out any issue’s. Third, they have settled with Mr. Rooney the money owed for restaurant bills and paid the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice as agreed. No date was given for this payment, but it’s paid now!
    I do hope all this less then favourable public business can be sorted out by Christmas and that Mayo GAA can start 2020 with everyone in agreement and a united front to fight the battles ahead on the fields of play! Mayo Abu!

  75. Willie Joe the County Board said at the meeting tonight they acknowledged receipt of €150,000 from Tim.

  76. Whitey,
    On what basis does “somebody” in NY say that Mayo is the 5th biggest sporting brand in the country? On my quick estimation I would say that the FAI, IRFU and the GAA itself are the top three in no particular order. Then you have the Athletics body, the GUI and the Olympic Council of Ireland. In the GAA itself you have Dublin and Kerry which I think would rank ahead of Mayo. Whether Mayo come ahead of, say, Cork, Tipp and Galway which all have senior hurling as well as football, is debatable. Add in Kilkenny and Limerick [with JP McManus] and the four provincial rugby councils and Mayo may at best be anywhere from around 10th to 15th.
    I suggest you have a word with that NY guy again.

    Somebody a few days ago suggested that Elvery’s probably made in the region of 1 million euro in sports shirt sales and so should be more generous with Mayo. Maybe they did make that kind of money but it was not on Mayo shirts. They are not, after all, the only vendors of Mayo shirts and do not have an outlet in Croke Park to sell them. As yet Mayo people are not like many soccer supporters buying annually updated version of shirts so many Mayo shirts survive into their second decade of use.

  77. Lilly – you’ve overstepped the mark this time, I’m afraid. I can’t have ongoing comments being lobbed in, which appear to be designed to up the temperature and increase the divisions on this issue. You’ve only just popped up out of nowhere and have all but have all but dominated the discussion on here since your first post, behaviour I’ve seen before from others who suddenly appear with particularly strong opinions they want to shout from the rooftops. Well, you’ve had your fun here, my only regret is that I didn’t call a halt to it earlier. I’m doing so now.

  78. I’m aware of that TH. They also confirmed that, aside from the payments made directly in New York for the camp etc., no monies at all have yet been paid by the Foundation to Mayo GAA.

  79. All – I want to take the tone and temperature of the debate down several degrees from where it’s been at on here over the last few days. As I keep saying – and so often I feel I’m banging my head against a brick wall – my aim all along for the comments is that contributions are fair and reasonable.

    In order to ensure that this happens, I’ve now taken what for me is an extraordinary step, in that I’ve switched back on – for the first time in years – the feature whereby every comment has to be manually approved before it goes live on the site. I’ve been left with no other choice in this, I’m afraid, and how long I have to keep it that way is in your hands, not mine.

    This will, of necessity, alter the way people can converse here – as I’ve plenty other things than this on my plate right now – but there’s nothing I can do about this. This move will, I hope, serve to alter the prevailing tone that has become established in recent days and also will hopefully provide a bit of space for the more reasonable and fair-minded voices to be heard here once again.

  80. Andy-I’m not sure where the person got their info or what metrics were used to measure it, but the person who told me isn’t just another drunk I met in a pub.

    They had a table at the banquet on the Friday night so I’m guessing they heard it from someone there. It’s possible they also heard it from someone involved with Elverys

    The rankings were:

    Dublin GAA
    Munster Rugby
    Mayo GAA

  81. It would appear to me from following this tread, one of the things holding Mayo GAA back is that we are better at fighting with each other than fighting for one another. MAYO GOD HELP US?

  82. Firstly credit to Tim O’Leary for not airing this during the SFC, would have been an unacceptable distraction.

    There appears to be a contradiction between the board’s very significant financial committments (such as the cost of Lough Lannagh, if it happens, and paying off / servicing the debt on McHale Park) and its apparent disinterest in fundraising.

    I think that much more creativity is needed around what ‘fundraising’ means, my perception is that Mayo GAA fundraisers outside the County are usually golf days or events centred around plates of meat and gravy. I would suggest that a crowdfunding app like Tifosy could be an extremely effective way of fundraising for a specific purpose.

    Finally, I don’t like the idea of the supporters federation having its name on McHale Park or on the jersey – I judged Roscommon for having Club Rossie on their jersey a couple of years ago, I think Mayo are better than that.

  83. As I said yesterday, no matter how thin you slice, there are two sides to everything. And so it has proven with last nights county board meeting
    A couple of pointers…..
    1. A county board meeting is NOT a public meeting therefore why anyone would assume entry is beyond me. If people are so keen to go to one then register with your club, help out there, go forward as a delegate and then turn up. Don’t take umbrage when you are asked to leave when you shouldn’t be there in the first place.
    2. Whatever about the “cack-handed” way this has been handled by the county board, a lot of posters on here (not looking at anyone in particular Lilly) would want to take a close look at the fully audited and open accounts from Mayo GAA from 2010 to present day. How do you think that growth in income, and expenditure, was possible? Did the money just fall in the door? How did we get to have the most innovative and highly respected medical team in GAA? How was this paid for? Was Tim O’Leary, or any other benefactor around in 2011?
    3. People would also want to remember that when Elverys signed up to sponsor Mayo GAA they were just about surviving themselves and yet committed to a long term sponsorship deal. Bear in mind also, that there was not a pot to piss into in Ireland at that time and, despite recent comments, there WAS NOT a queue of multinationals banging down the door to sponsor Mayo GAA.
    4. There was a re-finance done on MacHale Park in recent years on much more favorable terms for the county board. A Commercial Director has been recently appointed. A properly structured Coaching Development Program has been implemented to great success and former players have been brought back in to the fold and are helping to develop the next generation of county players. There have been improvements in the last number of years and there is much more to be done.
    5. Simple maths for you…. Mayo GAA income rose by 448% in a 6 year period from 2012 to 2018. The structures and number of personnel around Mayo GAA remained static during this time. Quiet simply, Mayo GAA has outgrown itself and needs structural change. That is undeniable.

    Now I am certainly no lover of the county board but I have to admit to being (to quote the legend that is Jimmy Sloyane) sick to my teeth of the narrative that they are all totally useless, on the take, egotistical and incompetent. If all these keyboard warriors are so great and informative and knowledgeable about sports administration and business, why don’t some of you get your club (if in fact you are a club member?) to nominate you to a position on the county board and see how easy it is.

  84. This might sound terribly naive of me but in the operation I run, small as it is, if someone wants payment for a service rendered, they issue me with an itemised invoice. When I pay, I keep a record of same so that I can produce proof of payment if needed. If necessary I also request a receipt. After all, it’s not my money. So forgive me for wondering why on earth a supposedly unpaid bill that is now five years old is doing the rounds on social media and the only apparent dialogue around it is a game of “he said, she said”. Most businesses tend not to allow bills to remain unpaid for five years without taking some sort of decisive action, and most organisations responsible for administering other people’s money tend to be able to produce receipts that will prove whether bills have been paid. Perhaps it will yet be produced and if so, good.

    In relation to the arrangement between Mayo County Board and the Mayo GAA Foundation, was a record not kept of these meetings? Were they not minuted? Was no agreement put in writing and signed in advance? If this did not happen, then it’s a fairly glaring error on both sides that could only ever lead to one outcome.

    Obviously I’m not privy to all the details, save for most of the correspondence between both parties that is doing the rounds to which the dog on the street has access. But this is really, really simple stuff, and if this basic kind of due diligence is not being carried out, is it any wonder we are where we are?

  85. Whitey – seeing as neither the GAA nor Kerry GAA are on that list, I think it’s definitely valid to question the metrics! Sounds like a pretty loose claim to me and, from what you’re saying, one that seems to have wafted across the NY air that evening like Chinese whispers.

  86. Top 5 club sports brands in Ireland from a leading sports PR firm in dublin

    1) Dublin GAA
    2) Leinster
    3) Munster
    4) Ulster
    5) Mayo GAA

  87. WJ, like the Observer asked to leave last night’s meeting I will do my best to observe the rules of the house but if you will indulge me I might offer an alternative view.

    In taking this new approach are you looking to open up a debate, trying to sell a story or dare I say painting a picture in our minds eye.

    Generally speaking, a debate has two opposing points of of view, sometimes more, and those views are robustly challenged and fairly moderated. A story is a completely differently animal.

  88. Maybe something good will come out of all this and we’ll get change from the top down. I don’t know anyone in the county board or the workings of the county board but I’d hope and expect they have the best interests of Mayo football at heart but maybe I’m being naive

  89. Whitey -those rankings are potentially the Jersey/Merchandise sales, and quite probably the Elverys sale volumes.
    That would seem to be the most logical explanation.
    Mayo Jersey sales would be potentialy higher than Kerry (as an example), particularly with all the new releases/change strips that have been released in recent years.

  90. Very good Pebbles.. its great to see balance been brought to this debate. And fair play Willie Joe for creating a platform for this complex debate to be better understood. It will interesting to see what directions things take next week!

  91. Oh, What a tangled web we weave.

    Leaving my own opinions to one side and been an expert on nothing, I would have thought.

    The starting point for a resolution would have been one or two members from each side sitting down and having open and honest discussions about all the issues that seem to be obstructing the relationship.

    Claims and Counter Claims don’t just go away.
    What really happened ?
    Opposite tellings cannot be both correct.
    Somebody knows the truth and regardless of how damaging the truth might seem to be, the truth is the starting point.
    Scarred Legacies will never heal.

    Repeated delegate meetings. Why ?

    A plan of attack ?
    A plan of defence ?
    A plan to welcome on board ?

    Well who knows ?

    The longer it drags out I fear the greater the damage.

    It’s going to take some hurt to resolve everything that needs resolving.

    If Mayo football is going to thrive in the future and be something we are all going to be proud of then it’s time to deal with all the issues and suffer the hurt that needs to be suffered here and now.

    No Bandages Please.

  92. Whitey,
    Do you always accept what somebody told you as gospel, the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth? I would not and unless something is obvious would always question the source and wonder about the basic facts behind the statement, as I have done in my previous posts on this issue. Makes me unbelievably popular!!!

  93. The list that puts the Mayo GAA brand in 5th place originated from the study conducted by Liam Moffat into the counties potential at the request of the chairman of the county board. It was carried out by a university to the best of my knowledge and it was shown at the divisional information briefings The actual list I believe is;
    1. Dublin GAA
    2. IRFU
    3. Leinster
    4. Munster
    5. Mayo GAA
    The metrics used to measure that study include media coverage, good and bad. Is it really a stretch to believe we rank that high given our profile the last number of years.
    With regards the increase in income and expenditure over the last number of years, the one item that I believe has never been fully explained and deserves further debate is the catering costs.
    Between 2012 and 2015 our costs remained relatively steady at roughly €175k avg. In 2016 our costs soared to over €400k. Given that we had replays in the period proceeding 2016 I cannot see why the costs could have grown by such an exorbitant amount even allowing for the U21’s and the replay in that year.
    These figures are all contained in the published accounts and are not disputed by anyone. They have never been fully explained however.
    If this line of debate falls outside the permissible boundaries of the site WJ then please delete as appropriate, however I think it’s an issue that cannot be ignored given the issues raised around accountability.

  94. As regard’s the Hirachey of ‘Sports Brand’s’ in Ireland…. The thing that makes a Sport’s Brand overwhelmingly is ‘Fans’ and the amount of them….In this regard Mayo are exceptional and have been for a long long time…It is a huge asset for the County Board as regards finance…I don’t buy that to administer large amounts of money that it takes more money and more people. ..Apart from Dublin who are Royalty in sporting terms in Ireland , of course their consistent success and excellence for this decade has much to do with it… But very like the Germanic ‘Royal Family’ of our neighbouring Island, Dublin GAA are and their ‘De Facto’ home ‘Croke Park’ are paid for by everyone else in the GAA world, the ‘have’s’ and the ‘have not’s’…. What one of the rest of the County Board’s in Ireland would not like to have the numbers of people paying through the turn styles for FBD, National League and ever so many Championship Match’s?… That’s a problem that every other County Board in the Land would love to have the length and breath of Ireland… But no one should take it for granted that it will continue thus perpetually….Big Sport’s and Big Sporting Brands have declined in the past because other’s have overtaken them…. Earlier in this year, I was giving out on this Blog, about the CCCC (Who are paid professional’s, nothing voluntary about them) putting on the Match in Newry at 7PM and the most ridiculous thing ever playing the match between Galway and Mayo in Neutral Limerick…Mayo Fan’s (including unpaid GAA Volenenteer’s) help to pay these people their wages and we are treated with so much disrespect it’s mind blowing..I was saying that the CCCC could’ Kill the Golden Goose’ with their cavelier attitude…. The ‘Golden Goose’ is the Mayo Fan’s in their, Multitude, Loyalty concistantly spending their own money, going through turn style’s, buying Mayo Branded Merchandise, they are on the Seas, in the Air and on the Trains, they even though many live in other counties, bring up their Children as Mayo Fan’s…. The present Health and future prospect’s for the Mayo GAA depends so much on the County Board’s actions and how well, transparent and professional it carries out it’s function’s….If the Brand ‘Mayo GAA’ administered by the ‘Mayo County Board’ loses the trust and loyalty of the Mayo Fan’s in significant Number’s? .. Then the ‘County Board’s’ would find out that it’s allot more difficult to find a Lucerative Sponcership Partner, and a generous beafactor….

  95. The Gaa All stars are on this Friday with the hurling team released this morning and the football team on Friday.Its incredible to think that Colm Boyle could pick up his 5th All Star that would put him 1 ahead of both Lee Keegan and Keith Higgins, some achievement for a man that was dropped of the panel for 2 seasons in 2010 and 2011.Paddy Durcan is a cert for an All star ,Mayos best player in the 3 biggest games of the year, keeping Shane Walsh, Ryan McHugh and Jack McCaffrey scoreless and chipping in with 3 points each in the Donegal and Dublin games, our best footballer at this moment in time.
    Aidan O’Shea will probably miss out to Brian Fenton and David Moran but he had incredible year, best midfielder in the Division 1 league hands down.Probably our most consistent player thoughout the whole year bearing in mind he picked up an injury through the qualifiers and was not at 100% in the Super 8s.Gave a massive performance for us against Donegal in Castlebar.Midfield is such a hard position win an All star, so until Aidan can get the better of David Moran or Brian Fenton in a big game in Croke Park he will find it hard win that Midfield All Star.The long qualifier run and the Donegal game a week before the Dublin semi final did not help his case in that 2nd half against Fenton.He looked tired.

  96. Like most Mayo supporters I don’t know all the in’s and out’s of this story. What I do know is that it needs sorting out fairly quickly and that this can only be done by dialogue. So I say to those at the heart of this difficulty, get together and focus on a solution, perhaps with the help of a good facilitator. Forget scoring points over each other and work for the good of Mayo GAA.

  97. Andy-The point the person was making regarding Mayo being the 5th largest sports franchise was shared in the context of the untapped potential of the brand. Shame on me for not demanding an audited and certified copy of whatever report he was quoting from. I’ll try better next time

  98. Reaftearai – that comment contained an allegation aimed at another contributor so I’ve deleted it in its entirety. Really, I shouldn’t have to point this out.

  99. I don’t know for sure who is right or wrong but would expect that such a large fundraiser would be treated with the outmost respect,however I can’t understand the need for such secrecy if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear ,have the meeting out in the open invite the benefactor so they all know what is on the table,thank you Willie Joe for giving so much information and in keeping a lid on the comments

  100. AndyD -your wrong and it’s a fact Mayo are indeed the 5th largest sporting brand in Ireland. I’ve seen that reported in national media here during the summer, I’ll try and dig it out.

    As for Mayo fans not buying the latest gear then I’m afraid you have been living under a rock…A new Mayo jersey comes out on average every 2nd year and every kid in mayo wants one and seems to get one…

    Few lads in Genfit jerseys out it’s in the single figures. Mayo sell more jerseys and sports branded gear than everyone bar the Dubs.

  101. Whitey,
    One shouldn’t need a certified anything to recognise bullshit. That’s all I have to say on that issue.

    It’s news to me that the CCCC are all professionals rather than volunteers. I do not know the full make up of the committee but I do know that the Chairman is former Kilkenny Co Chairman Ned Quinn and that he is very much in the volunteer category. What his day job is I do not know, he may well be a “professional” but in his GAA work he is very much a volunteer. You may be confusing the CCCC with the Disputes Resolution Committee who are primarily legal people . We encountered them in 2015 in the Diarmuid Connolly Semi final fiasco.

  102. Yew tree,
    A sporting brand means an awful lot more than just shirt [or jersey] sales. Do you not think that there is more golf merchandise sold in Ireland than Mayo shirts and/or togs, boots and all the rest? And then there is golf course maintenance which must come to a pretty large amount of euros. Yet no mention of golf in that list from Liam or the university. I always have doubts about research carried out at somebody’s request. My suspicion is that the results are often tailored to suit what the researcher thinks the person commissioning the research wants to hear in the hope of getting further commissions.
    The whole horse racing industry slipped my mind when listing what I thought were the biggest sports brands. Surely it has to be up there in the top of the tree, what with the Aiden/Joseph O’Brien’s, John Magneir, Gordon Elliot, JP McManus and all the other multi millionaires. Would each of them not qualify as a top brand on their own?
    I rest my case. Fifth my eye!!

  103. I don’t see how Mayo could be the 5th largest sporting brand in Ireland.

    The Irish soccer team, Irish rugby team, Leinster rugby, Munster rugby and Dublin are 5 for definite. That’s before you look at the biggest GAA county Cork, Connacht rugby, Ulster rugby…

  104. Mayo is a big brand from this point of view. Other counties have big supporter bases, but Mayo has a stronger global connection to rely on. GAA Go viewing stats would be interesting.
    The New York trip was evidence of our both local and global supporter strength.
    Someone mentioned crowd funding. A Mayo GAA App that has targetted prizes on match day would raise huge money. It could be played globally.
    The catering has been mentioned again, I believe we majorly expanded the amount of teams and duration in year they were being fed.

  105. I think some people are confusing industries with teams. Horse racing Ireland is an industry, the Golf Union of Ireland is an industry. I don’t recall seeing many kids going around wearing replica Gigginstown Stud racing silks. Golf and horse racing are past times that people attend because of an interest in them. They don’t go to Fairyhouse decked out in their stable colours waving flags and roaring on their jockeys, they couldn’t care less who’s racing as long as the horse they backed wins.
    If people are going to ridicule professionally carried out research, at least have an idea of the metrics used before guffawing the results. Do people think that Mayo GAA has not received more attention nationally in the last 7 years than Ulster Rugby, Cork GAA or Connacht rugby, Michael O’Leary or pretty much anyone else?
    It’s lack of self awareness like this that has led us into undervaluing ourselves for years…

  106. Bit of a nonsense argument, all you need to know is mayo gaa is a massive brand with huge earning potential. Our fund raising has been way to static for too long. We need to start thinking outside the box a bit and get away from the church gate collections. If everyone on the blog put forward one idea I’m bet my life we’d get numerous great ideas. Just need the right people with the right attitude to put them into action. More professionals need to be brought into the mayo gaa set up, run it as a business with over sight from the county board. Hopefully we’ll come out of this mess in a better place than we went in. I don’t believe mayo gaa should be placing a levee on clubs, it should be the other way round. The county team is where the earning potential is.

  107. @Liam, That is one of the annoying elements of online debate when people put forward points of view that don’t hold even a 5 second defence from reasonable analysis.
    Very few people are tuning in globally to watch Ulster rugby matches for example.
    Ya, I would say we are undervaluing ourselves.
    We can easily bring onboard more sponsors and I’m confident we could get matchday online prize entry from the diaspora.

  108. NiallMc1983 you are correct, This argument about Mayo being the 5th biggest sports brand” is total nonsense, just because one study using certain criteria deemed it so does not make it an absolute fact. Others have quite rightly pointed out other organisations with huge potential while a claim can be made that like it or not Premier League Soccer is the biggest sports brand in the country (Man Utd, Liverpool sell way more merchandise than even Dublin and have huge scope for increase). Can people just accept that Mayo are in a healthy position regarding branding and potential and just move on, there is no reason to be arguing about where it ranks. Just like the whole “second best team in the country” saying, it is totally meaningless.

  109. I have been reading with interest the whole fiasco that this has turned into. I don’t know the main protagonists on either side of this but can both sides take a step back and reflect on the silliness and stupidity that this is doing to the county.
    Everyone involved are grown adults and should have one factor that they should be focusing on. How best can we support Mayo gaa to achieve success on the field. Mayo gaa is a non for profit organisation so is highly regulated as a result. For one off season could we please keep Mayo gaa out of the press for the wrong reasons and put our focus on preparing as best as possible for the 2020 season!

    Best of luck to the Mayo players selected for nominations in the All Stars tonight. Enjoy your night, very well deserved and best of luck to the Mayo clubs in provincial action representing the county this weekend. This is what we should be concentrating on not this he said, she said tripe.
    To both sides for the honour of Mayo football and all the volunteers that contribute to it vastly year upon year grow the fuck up and sort this out in private and stop making the county the laughingstock of the gaa world.

  110. I have heard enough. Good men’s names being sullied. Accusations of ‘governance’ issues are made but no actual event or action is outlined. Cairde Maigh Eo has been a huge success and income has been greatly increased. Success on the pitch is still there – national league champions and good underage results. Having seen the operation of the Academy at close quarters and having spoken to players who have gone through the system it seems that this is also very successful. The borrowings have been re-structured. The club game is in a good place. The center of excellence is not far away. Normally when non profit making organisations are funded there is usually a structure in place. Organisations like Pobal and Leader have practices and and checking mechanisms in place but this Foundation does not have a structure in place for the placing/awarding of grants or funding and as far as I know there does not seem to be a ‘best practice’ for such donations. If say the Hospice receive money from a donor does the donor request a copy of the invoice? If monies are given on the basis that the money is to be spent on a particular area the County Board really have to ask should they be told what areas of development are to be prioritised and in doing so dilute their efforts of raising money by having their brand diluted by a third party fundraising entity. It appears that the governance comments are really saying that the Foundation does not have faith in the county boards ability to control expenditure – in effect questioning the county boards existence in the first place. As a volunteer I would have serious issues with people who would question my governance and I would find it difficult to deal with such people especially when all financial affairs are subject to a full audit. The current auditor is probably one of the largest and most respected auditors in the county. Auditors are subject to review by their institutes and other government bodies. It is an onerous job and involves checking transactions. Larger transactions are always checked and smaller transactions are subject to system checks and sampling. I think people need to lay off the ‘governance’ comments until such time as there are concrete provable examples given. Peoples good names are being besmirched. Where the county board do let themselves down is their style, their age profile and gender balance. Saying that this may not be their fault as it is extremely difficult to get people to take these positions.

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