Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney has defended the decision to take his panel on a ten day warm weather training camp in Portugal, just one week after receiving a €300,000 “bail-out” from the GAA.
Speaking Croke Park ahead of the division 2 final clash with Tyrone; McGeeney was at pains to point out that the players had funded the trip out of their own pockets.
The Armagh native pulled no punches to the media stating that his Kildare side had earned more than £3million for Croke Park coffers in terms of match ticket receipts over the last four years, a fact which had been “conveniently overlooked” by many according to the 40 year-old.
“There are other teams who are in worse predicaments than us and they still don’t get the same headlines,” he said.
“We are probably four years into the worst recession in the history of the world, a lot of other teams are coming down the line with similar things.
“Our fellas went out and raised money and instead of going on a holiday before Christmas, they wanted to go on a training camp. Again people say that funding would have been there for other reasons, but it wouldn’t. That funding would not have existed. It is not as if any mistruths are given, but the whole story is not always told.
“Fellas train hard, they work hard and that is all that they are trying to do. Again, if you look at the bigger picture, if you look at the teams that are winning All-Irelands over the past 10 or 15 years. Are they the biggest counties, are they the richest counties? The answer is ‘yes’.
“The preparations for teams are tough and we are trying to do it. Everybody is working together.
He continued: “The Kildare county board are not a bunch of pariahs. There are things that have to be changed and we are all trying to do it and work together and it is not easy. They are still trying to prepare underage teams the best, they are trying to do things for the county and it costs money.”
“We have generated €3 million in ticket sales over the last four years, and that is not counting the TV rights and all the other stuff, but they are buying into the GAA ethos like everyone else. That goes back into the pot for those teams that are not producing those ticket sales.
“So it is a wee bit unfair on the people of Kildare to be saying that they are not doing things right.”
McGeeney has also expressed his frustration over the transfer of Cavan footballer Seanie Johnston to Kildare
Kieran McGeeney is frustrated over this whole debacle as he believes that the same rules don’t apply from one person to another. “Whatever your beliefs or opinion given what has happened, the one thing I will say about Seanie is that he is honest. He has that kind of integrity. It is frustrating. I understand there are rules there and other things people feel that they are trying to protect. “It is frustrating for the young fella, he only wants to play football,” said McGeeney at a press conference in Croke Pairc for the National Football League Division two final.
Johnston was dropped by former Cavan manager Val Andrews at the start of the year and has since been seeking a transfer from Cavan Gaels to St. Kevin’s in Kildare. The matter will now be dealt with by the Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) and it seems this saga will go on as there is no sign of it being resolved.