Connacht Council have scrapped the FBD League ‘away’ final in New York after it emerged that last month’s fixture was cancelled as Leitrim couldn’t afford to travel to the Big Apple.
Leitrim’s withdrawal, which followed Mayo also failing to complete the fixture in 2012, came in the wake of an expensive trip to play a Connacht championship quarter-final against New York in May.
Speaking in the Irish Examiner, Leitrim secretary Diarmuid Sweeney revealed that despite a €20,000 travel grant from the Connacht Council, it would have cost the pre-season league winners at least the same amount again to travel, which was not within their budget.
“We have a number of developments ongoing in the county and it just wasn't financially possible to do it this year,” said Sweeney.
“We would have received a grant from the Connacht Council but there still would have been a shortfall. It isn't easy to fork out €20,000 and that’s hoping you get away with that figure.
"On top of that, we had the trip to New York for the Connacht championship back in May and that had similar costs involved.”
Connacht Council secretary John Prenty said that counties’ reluctance to travel and the general economic climate had led to their decision to scrap the fixture.
"All counties had got to the point where they were thinking could they afford to win it" - John Prenty
“All counties had got to the point where they were thinking could they afford to win it,” said Prenty.
“The decision to do away with the ‘away’ final is something we have been considering for a number of years because of the economic climate here at home; the costs involved for counties going there and whatnot.
“We spoke with the New York Board and in fairness, they saw it coming. The writing was on the wall. The fixture was of no financial benefit to New York. It didn't draw a big crowd out there.
“The FBD ‘away’ final costs in the region of €40,000. The breakdown for that would have been 50-50 between ourselves and Leitrim. Last year Mayo informed us they wouldn't be travelling over very late in the day when all the arrangements were made and we fined them accordingly.
“Leitrim did give us due notice this year and we weren't going to fine them because we had no arrangements made.
"They were already over there for the championship. It cost them a lot of money to go then and when you add the whole lot together, it wasn’t financially viable for them to go a second time.”