Despite these recessionary times, the Government has honoured its financial commitment in advancing cash payment for inter-county players – for this time round at least.

Recipients, who received their cheques ranging from €1200 to €2400, got the payments just in time for Christmas.

The monies have been transferred from the Irish Sports Council to the GAA and passed on to all eligible players.

The payments officially are labelled as out of pocket expenses and are awarded depending on the player’s duration and involvement in this year’s championship.

The scheme had been the subject of a fair degree of discussions involving the Government, GAA, GPA and Sports Council and was realised despite the sharp downfall in the economy.

Accountancy is the key word associated with all facets of business working as well as with sporting organisations and there are few to equal the GAA in this regard.

Here we are, some four months before provincial Conventions hold centre stage, word has already filtered through from the Munster Council that a sum of € 2.41 million for ground development projects in 2008 has been approved and paid.

And while this figure is slightly down on 2007, it is readily explained. Once again Cork the largest county in the province stands out as the largest benefactor and heads the list with 46 projects netting a total of € 574,944.

This is followed by Kerry, who on the submission of 48 applications received €387,649.

Other county totals include: Limerick – €229,063 Tipperary – €214,398 Waterford – €218,000 while in other major grounds developments a total of €484,570 has been made available.

Speaking to the media last Munster Council PRO Jim Forbes explained that 40 per cent of all gate receipts earned in 2008 has now been paid out in grants, and the drop since 2007 in such monies was due to falling attendances.

In the previous year paid out of the same percentage – 40 per cent – which totalled €2.61million.

But a drop in attendance would affect the overall figures in any given year, next year will be difficult but we are hopeful that our attendance figures will at least be as good as 2008.

“But these monies are a nice early Christmas present for many county clubs and grounds” said Forbes.

When Munster Council allocates grants up to an approved maximum in various categories including field purchase, dressing rooms, floodlighting, pitch drainage, stands, entrances, embankments, dugouts, medical rooms, car parking facilities, scoreboards, netting, playing pitch fencing, purchase of mowers, hurling walls, pitch sanding, school grounds also benefit.

Since 2004 the Munster Council has committed itself to almost €9million to development grants and has contributed an additional €2.6million to clubs within the province during the same period.