Money, money, money



As has already been mentioned in the comments, the Mayo News has a story this week – here – on the rescheduling of the MacHale Park debt. It’s a bit of financial engineering that will save the County Board €200k in annual repayments, with the monthly bill falling from around €48k to close to €33k.

Croke Park is taking on the €5 million Ulster Bank loan so the County Board’s payments will be to HQ – who now own all of our €10 million debt pile – rather than the bank, with the reduction in the annual bill due to the fact that the repayment period has been extended out for 29 years. So, a bit like what the Greeks are finding out, the debt isn’t going away but is instead being booted a bit further down the road.

It’s a deal that obviously makes a whole pile of sense from the Board’s point of view and any rescheduling arrangement that takes the pressure off financially has to be viewed as a good one. While welcoming the chance to use the extra elbow room the deal potentially provides to put more money back into the game within the county, Chairman Mike Connelly was careful to caution that this will only happen if the county team continues to perform at a high level each year:

But the only way we will have €15,000 extra a month to play with is if we continue to be successful on the field, if we continue to reach All-Ireland semi-finals on a regular basis.

We all know that there’s no guarantee this will happen – in the ten years prior to James Horan’s appointment we only got to the All-Ireland semis on two occasions (2004 and 2006, when we went on to reach the final both times) and we bowed out at the quarters three times (2002, 2005 and 2009). In five of those ten years we fell in the qualifiers.

Now, I’m not suggesting that such a fate lies ahead of us over the coming ten years but it’s worth noting all the same that we’re not guaranteed to continue making it to the business end of the championship with the regularity we’ve become accustomed to during the Horan years.  Seen in this light, the County Board’s debt deal is as much a hedge against future underperformance as it is an opportunity for additional financial breathing space in the here and now.

32 thoughts on “Money, money, money

  1. Any deal that puts a few more quid into the coffers of Mayo GAA seems like a good deal to me. Well Done to all involved in this piece of Business!

  2. i see where the rossies have moved their league game on sunday back to 1pm , probably a very wise move as the rugby game at 3pm will not affect attendances. this is called common sense. could the mayo game be played at 1pm also, no chance ????

  3. Rober: Typical of us, we only think of ourselves. What about Monaghan supporters? are they expected to be back home even if the game was played at 1.00pm.
    I suggest you can record the rugby match and look at it when you get home, or stay at home and watch the rugby and listen to Midwest radio. Better still ask the IRFU to play the match at 11.00am or 6.00pm. As usual we always want the best of both worlds. As with you, your sitting on the fence. Come next September you wont go to see a rugby match if Mayo are in AI. on AI final day. Right now your County needs you.

  4. Well done everyone involved in this deal. Let’s hope it in the field activities that keep us occupied well into the Fall this year

  5. I wonder if Croke Park having a stake in McHale Park might have an effect on any future decision to designate a particular ground as the main ground in Connacht. This is a status that the GAA have been considering giving to one of the Connacht grounds of late. Presumably, if this designation was given to another ground like Pearse Stadium, it would impact Mayo GAA’s abilities to service their debts. So maybe we will see an announcement at some point in the not too distant future regarding McHale Park.

  6. Good point Declan,
    If they don’t nominate Mc Hale park as the main ground for Connacht we should default . Let them reposses it if they want. I’d say they would have an awful task trying to sell it.????

  7. Good news of sorts, still think it was an outrageous development in the first place. Smaller stand and proper redevelopment of other sides of the ground would have been better spent. Had to chuckle this morning also at one paper calling it an exclusive, when another also had the story.

  8. Declan, I think you’re spot on there.
    I was of the same mind myself after learning of this. I think we will now see McHP as the main venue for all Connacht major events as well as some qualifiers maybe even non Gaa ones aswell………………..this seems a win-win all round for all.
    MaighEo Abu

  9. My gripe with McHale Park is the ’60s design of the stand roof, requiring vertical supports, resulting in unacceptable blockages to one’s line of vision – I no longer use the stand because of that but it doesnt appear to bother the rest of you.

  10. The redevelopment of O Connor park in Tullamore cost apparently under 9 million would like to know why MacHale park cost so much?

  11. Doesn’t the dosh spent on Mchale Pk mean we have an awful awful lot less to spend on the development of football in general across the Co.? Does that not bother U?

  12. Good news and welcome news.
    Regards the supports in the stand , they are so slim that they do not bother me. I always make sure to get there in good time so that I don’t have to sit directly behind one.
    Regards selecting a primary ground in Connacht, McHale Park has to be the winner hands down. It has by far the highest capacity in Connacht and is already all seated even if most of the seats are concrete benches. But converting Salthill or Hyde Park to all seating is extra expense and reduces their capacity still further. And Salthill’s location and poor access is an issue which will not be overcome easily It is also coming under increased criticism from the local residents re parking and on a fine summer day with possible other events in Salthill accommodation for patrons is an even bigger problem.
    Question, MO215. Does O’Connor Park have the same accommodation as McHale Park? From my visit there for the Mayo W’meath Minor QF in 2013 I do not think so. From memory I think it may not be much more than half. Offaly hurling people are not so impressed with it either as their hurlers have been wrenched from their traditional home in Birr to help pay for O’Connor Park.

  13. AndyD O Connor park did a full redevelopment with terrace,stand (without poles obstructing the view) press and toilets facilities etc. The cement seat/benches were untouched in MacHale park most of the money was spent on the new stand, im open to correction but I think when it reopened in 2009 the cost figure was something in the region of 19 million?

  14. The upside of the new stand is/are the facilites which are housed within under the stand. Although Joe public sitting in it doesnt realise that there are gym facilities, meeting rooms and canteen facilities there. I would think that a cantilever design to remove the poles would have been significantly more expensive and piushed back into the pitch behind the stand leaving the Mitchels with less acerage to work with.
    In respect to the GAA taking over the loan, my understanding is that when the GAA took on some of the loan a fews years back, they actually charged a higher interets rate then the bank. Looks as if common sense have prevailed at last though.

  15. Is there ever any scope to roof the MacHale road end….probably not if the residents onjections to the TV tower were anything to go by. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing behind the goals returned to standing terrace as it is always easier to stabd behind a goal then sit for viewing purposes alone.

    A lick of paint to the Albany end would not go astray either, even if they just painted the concrete seat edge green and red.

  16. That’s not correct re O’Connor Park, MO2015 – there are poles there too, though they’re small slim ones (as you can see here). I was there a few weeks ago for the Vinnies game and I think it’s one of the best grounds of its kind in the country. The area at the back of the stand is well laid out too, unlike MacHale Park where the bottleneck created by the shop and the jacks (which has the same entry and exit door) situated right beside each other is a bloody joke, though one that could be sorted out with a bit of redesigning and some common sense.

  17. What are we congratulating ourselves on? A stand that no one seems to know exactly how much it cost to build, a stand that has big poles up the middle obscuring a view, a stand that took me over 15 minutes to get out of after a Kerry Mayo league match on a cold day. An area for toilets that makes the Black Hole of Calcutta seems wide as Croke Park.

    We have changed pay masters, instead of getting rid of the debt over the original agreed years we now have a pay check heading in the opposite direction for 29 years> What Paddy in Mayo would like to see is a clear transparent outline of the schedule of this undertaking from day one, costs, analysis, tenders, reasons, who was involved etc. Chances of that? …not a ghosts..

  18. The strategic review of the mayo gaa still has not been implemented.
    Part of it was to look into the Mayo county board procuring of the contractor who undertook the work and development of Mac Hale park.
    This information with regards to the construction costs and appointment of the contractor still hasnt been given to the relevant parties.
    When will this information be furnished to the clubs/supporters to show that the monies were properly spent?
    This information was requested by the finance & funding commitee back in November 2010 and still no information. Why? Is there something to hide? Why did it cost so much?

    Smells of cute hoorism to me until this information is produced to dispell the rumours.
    Maybe this information was supplied to Croke Park and a deal was done to refinance it subject to going to Limerick.
    Who knows what goes on behind closed doors in Croke Park, its treated like a business and far from grass roots gaa.
    If it was Dublin who drew the first game (major gaa financial contributor), that game would definitely have been played in Croke Park.
    So there are double standards for Dublin and the rest of the country, finances rule over actual fairness and a level playing field.

  19. All that money spent on the stand, it’s a shame they didn’t set aside money for a game clock. Very useful to have and would benefit the players and supporters alike. The old Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Pairc Esler in Newry have them so why not McHale Park? Couldn’t be a massive undertaking to modify the existing scoreboard.

  20. Fair enough Willie have been to O Connor park a few times myself and didn’t notice the poles maybe because I sat in the lower level of the stand. Every time I sit in MacHale park stand I seem to have obstructing view. Yes the new stand does house other things but you won’t get many saying it was value for money anyway.

  21. A little bit of payback for having to go to Limerick and probably explains the lack of real opposition from county board. Will now have to play in Timbuktu if Croke Park sees fit.

  22. Yes Galway Exile I agree with that explaining the lack of fight from the Co.board on the Limerick game.

    It doesn’t get away from the fact that the whole development was badly planned and the only winners were the buliders and planners…….a bit like the mess the country is in!

  23. Well said galway exile and joe, a bit of truth, pity the board couldn’t have said this.

  24. The design of the stand leaves a lot to be desired but we shouldn’t be so negative about MacHale Park in general. It is still the overall second biggest all seater stadium in the country (only the Aviva is bigger) and the biggest GAA all seater stadium. It’s by far the best stadium of any type in Connaught. In relation to the stand, the problems underneath could be sorted out with a good dose of common sense and a small bit engineering. The issue of the poles could be eased by replacing them with ones of a more slender profile, but the cost of doing this would have to take into account the fact that there would still be poles obstructing the view. Replacing the roof with a cantilevered design is really not an option without major expense and realistically was never an option for a stand of that capacity due to cost.
    The egress issue could also be addressed by installing a walkway at high level behind the stand. Cost however is a factor, bearing in mind that the ground is only full once every two years at best.

  25. The stand is grand. True, there is only one way in and out of the jacks but there is plenty of room inside there, there is none of us that big! Access in and out of the stand is as good as anywhere, I find the biggest problem is people congregating at the top of the stairs and creating a logjam. There are always 3 or 4 stewards standing in a group at the very top of the stairs having the crack and they seem to know everyone coming up the stairs so everyone stops for a chat. It is a social event after all!!!
    A cantilever stand would have been more expensive, but the biggest hindrance to that option wasn’t the money (they couldn’t spend enough of that on the project it seems!). The hindrance was that there would be significant interference with the Mitchels pitch directly behind it. The county board do not own that pitch.
    I like the stand and I’m kinda proud that we have such a facility in our county. It says much about us as sportsmen and women and supporters that we have created the demand for such a ground. In fairness, there are a lot of rooms, gyms, canteens, media rooms etc included in the stand that are unseen and the pitch is in fantastic condition. My gripe is the lack of transparency in the entire design award/tender process/final bill and the fact that surely they could have ordered green and red seats and been a bit more imaginative in the layout, eg they could have spelled “Mayo” in coloured seats across the length of the stand.
    Maybe the stand is another reason we didn’t win in Limerick? 🙂

  26. Does anybody know how much the co board get for the naming rights to Elverys McHale park….will it always be known by that name or can a new company create a bit of competition & cover the cost of the repayments going forward,there are plenty of big companys with Mayo connections do this.

    also agree with other posts its a pity the seats were not green & red as when the stand is not full it woudnt look so noticeable.

  27. freespoonwitheverytub, I think the reason that was given was that the blue seats wouldnt fade as bad as the red and green.

  28. No worries WJ. I figured I might have been sailing close to the wind with it to be fair 🙂 I’ll know for again.

  29. The pitch is in fantastic condition? Seen it in better shape tbh, have regularly walked along it bumpy and very sandy in places and it probably should be closed October to February to improve the surface for the NFL. Plenty of other good club pitches in Mayo to host senior county and Connacht club games same goes for the FBD in January.

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