Cricket Ireland reported a deficit of £175,000 after what chairman Ross McCollum described as the most challenging year ever, on and off the field.

Andrew May, the company’s newly appointed chief financial officer, told the annual meeting in Dundalk yesterday that expenditure for 2018 was up almost €2.5 million to €6.3 million, with the cost of hosting the expanded number of international fixtures, in Ireland’s first year as a Full Member nation, rising by €1million to €2.6million.

That did not include the cost of players’ match fees which rose by €500,000 to €1.3 million while match fees for the women’s programme also increased by €85,000.

Match costs will rise to €3million this year with Ireland due to host 25 men’s and women’s internationals, plus men’s and women’s inter-provincials across all three formats.

Sponsorship, however, rose from €631,000 in 2017 to €1.5 million and the broadcasting deals, with the most lucrative being the two T20 internationals against India in Malahide, brought in another €1.5 million.

Mr May also explained to the meeting why CI chief executive Warren Deutrom had to give a short term loan of €100,000 to the company to pay staff and creditors.

“We had budgeted for €5.6million in revenue but only €4 million was received from ICC.
With the bank holding back a loan facility — something we had never used before — there was a cash flow problem.”
The money duly arrived from ICC and Mr May reported that all debts were settled by January 15.

Mr McCollum later told the meeting that ICC were threatening to cut the funding to Cricket Ireland over the next three years but the Lurgan man, who is on the ICC board, says that “will be challenged with all my might”.

This year, the Euro T20 Slam — to be launched in Dublin tomorrow — is being played in Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands and with “strong revenue” expected from the Indian-backed venture, a €150k surplus is forecast for this year.

Mr May also told the meeting that there will be a heavier security presence at the forthcoming Tri-series in Dublin, with West Indies and Bangladesh, following the recent attack on a hotel in New Zealand where the Bangladesh team were staying.

The new president of Cricket Ireland is North County’s David O’Connor, a former mayor of Fingal, who told the meeting that while his “heart was here, my soul is in The Vineyard” where County were playing The Hills in a Leinster Senior Cup match. However, it appeared to be a good match to miss with North County bowled out for 67!

O’Connor succeeds Aideen Rice whom the chairman described as an “absolute credit as Cricket’s Ireland’s first female president”.
The new vice-president is long-serving Civil Service North member Philip Black who will take over the top office at next year’s AGM.

Meanwhile, the opening day of the season in Northern Ireland got off to a false start on Saturday with every game in the NCU wiped out by the rain and only one going ahead in the North West.

That resulted in a seven wickets victory for Donemana over Glendemott with North West Warriors captain Andy McBrine hurrying his side to victory with 36 from 19 balls.