We revealed a couple of weeks back that the 2018 round of Sports Capital Grant funding was going to be substantially oversubscribed and today we have confirmation that submissions looking for €162 million have been received. The fund has a value of €40 million which, while substantial will still see many clubs miss out on what they had planned for.

The 2018 round opened up in September and applications were submitted by 2,253 clubs around the country as well as 84 larger groups including National Governing Bodies and Local Authorities pitching for projects with a value up to €300,000.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will now commence the process of scoring each of the applications with an indication of whether individual projects are to be funded expected in early 2019.

Among the criteria which will be used to determine the best applications is the ability of a project to improve participation, the level of collaboration across different sports using shared facilities, and the technical merit of the project. The level of own funding being put towards the project will also be a consideration.

The latter may run counter though to one of the stated aims within this year’s application process that a greater weight would go to applications from areas of socio-economic disadvantage.

Sport for Business, together with 2Into3 ran a series of roadshows back in September where we spoke to groups in Cork, Dublin and Athlone and were impressed by the level of engagement and effort that was being put into this year’s round.

The 2017 money amounted to €62 million and was distributed, as was the case with previous rounds, on a pro-rata basis across counties.

GAA Clubs are the single biggest cohort of those hoping for success in the current round with 680 clubs accounting for 29 percent of the total applications.

The GAA through the clubs received €23,4 million in the last round of funding under the Sports Capital Grants scheme, ahead of football’s €7.25 million and €3.1 million going to 60 rugby clubs.

The judging and assessment of the applications is undertaken by Department officials and while there is no longer any overt political influence over which projects may be favoured there is still a political sense of goodwill to be obtained from the announcement. With that in mind, next year’s local elections taking place at the end of May would provide an attractive looking target ahead of which to reveal the winners.