The Allianz Hurling and Football Leagues are used in different ways by different counties.
Generally the aim is to sift through the talent available in the county squad and built a team for the upcoming championship.
However, there is a business side to the competition that no one has tapped into as well as Kilkenny have in the hurling competition in recent times.
Manager Brian Cody was never of the view that doing well in the National League impacted negatively on the county later in the season. Consequently the Cats were never afraid to have a right good go at winning the League.
The Leagues can be real money-spinners for counties seeing that ‘gate’ returns are distributed between the participants. The competitions are performance based, with the winners getting the biggest share of the pot.
Kilkenny won the Hurling League in 2012 and 2013. As a result, there were rich pickings for the county - €129,948 (2013) and €126,932 (2012).
During the past five years Kilkenny did better than any other county in either of the League competitions and netted a magnificent £544,931.
Doing well in terms of winning matches and the League and making money go hand in hand.
Last year’s League final win over Tipperary was Kilkenny’s 16th in all, and it left them second in the Roll of Honour behind the Premier County (19).
During Brian Cody’s reign Kilkenny won the League in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2013. They were big earning seasons!
They were also beaten finalists in 2012 (v Dublin) and 2007 (v Waterford). They were good earning seasons too!
Over the last five years the Hurling League returns for Kilkenny have been – 2013 €129,948; 2012 €126,932; 2011 €109,311; 2010 €79,415; 2009 €99,325.
Healthy returns like that have been a great help to the County Board, who looked after the business side of the organisation. This year the county showed a net surplus of €273,939.