It could be your club as lottos grow in fashion


NEWS ROUND-UP:WITH THE economic climate reflected in scaled-down income projections and disappearing grants, one GAA-related financial activity is experiencing an upsurge in interest. Club lotteries have become more important as a source of fund-raising as sponsorship becomes more scarce., a Galway company, has developed software and a marketing system for clubs, charities and societies. It enables clubs to organise their lotteries online and to reach members and supporters more effectively than the more traditional pub and door-to-door sales methods allow. It also reaches overseas members, a category expanding with emigration.

“This was originally an idea for the GAA,” says Warren Healy, managing director of the company which was shortlisted in the Emerging Business Entrepreneur Category for last year’s annual David Manley Award. “I’m from Carna in Galway and the idea all along was to develop something that could be of use to every club in Ireland, something that would service their weekly lottos.

“But since then we’ve had interest from a number of other sports and from clubs who never ran a lotto, like Corinthians (rugby club) here in Galway.

“Then there are charities, like the Alzheimers Foundation, and community groups, but 95 per cent of our clients are sporting organisations. We have 50 per cent of the Eircom league clubs using the system as well.”

At present the company administers lottos for 328 clubs all around the country, plus a couple in Britain. The system works in return for a sign-up and annual administration fee (€100 each), plus a percentage that reduces as sales increase.

In return, the company administers the sales and provides the facility for posting club news and other membership communications.

“Winning isn’t generally the reason why people get involved with playing their local lottos. It’s either to support the club or for those living away a chance to make a connection with home.”

He reckons the size of the market runs to about 5,000 local lotteries around the country.

“We’re trying to take a share of that and expand it,” says Healy. “The days of going around pubs to raise money are going. There isn’t the same number of people there any more.”

Meanwhile, Eoin McGrath could miss Waterford’s entire National Hurling League campaign through injury, it has emerged.

Manager Davy Fitzgerald has revealed the versatile Mount Sion forward, an All Star nominee last year, will not return to action for at least two months.

Fitzgerald is monitoring a squad crisis ahead of Sunday’s National League opener against champions Tipperary with seven top players ruled out for a variety of reasons.

John Mullane, Kevin Moran and Brian Phelan are unavailable due to club commitments with Munster champions De La Salle, while joint-captain Ken McGrath is still a few weeks away from full fitness.

The 1998 hurler of the year, Tony Browne, will not rejoin the squad for another few weeks, Eoin Kelly is ill and there is a doubt surrounding the availability of Stephen Molumphy, who will share the captaincy with Ken McGrath this year.

Sports retailers Sports Savers have signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with Wexford GAA which will see them replace long-standing sponsors Wexford Creamery. Sports Savers, who employ 70 staff in the southeast, have been in business for 14 years.