London assured of aid from Connacht
Exiles’ facing third trip home already this summer
Connacht chairman John Prenty confirmed that a commitment has been made but that no decision will be taken on the extent of the contribution.
The Connacht Council have assured the London county board that they will offset some of the cost of their run to the provincial final.
Sunday week’s game in Castlebar will be the Exiles’ third trip home already this summer, leading to unprecedented travel costs for a county board that would usually only have to finance one visit during the championship for an All-Ireland qualifier.
County chairman Noel O’Sullivan has put expenditure so far at “roughly just under £30,000 (€35,000)”.
“It is difficult to afford the amount of money this is all costing,” said O’Sullivan. “But the Connacht Council are going to come to our aid. We don’t know yet how much they are going to give us but they have promised it to us and I would be hopeful that the Connacht Council will look after us in a proper manner.
“For the last two weeks, we have been inundated with county associations throughout London who have been giving us donations as well. It has taken enormous effort from the board and from others to raise the money that we need.
“But I would like to pay respect to the generosity of the Connacht Council throughout this. After all, there was an arrangement made in the 1970s, it was made before any of us were around and that agreement still stands. We are the guests of the Connacht Council and I know for a fact that they will look after us.”
Connacht chairman John Prenty confirmed that a commitment has been made but that no decision will be taken on the extent of the contribution until the council meets next week.
The arrangement O’Sullivan referred to – whereby London are guaranteed a home match and the accruing gate receipts each year – led to the replay against Leitrim having to be played in Roscommon.
On the back of this, O’Sullivan says that London would consider reviewing the situation and possibly going into an open draw.
Prenty, while happy to accommodate London should they decide to go that way, is doubtful of seeing any huge change.
“Well, if I was in their shoes I wouldn’t be going for that,” he said. “Because they would be giving up a guaranteed home game. If they want to take their chances and hope they come out of the draw first, no problem. But I don’t think it would be to their advantage.”