Donegal GAA officials were yesterday still awaiting the referee’s report into the mass brawl that marred the Naomh Conaill versus Glenswilly Senior Championship game at Davy Brennan Memorial Park in Glenties on Sunday.
The melee, which occurred seconds after referee Seamus McGonigle’s final whistle, involved most of the players, substitutes and mentors from both teams and resulted in county player Leo McLoone suffering a serious eye injury.
“We are still awaiting the referee’s report, but I expect there will be an investigation into the whole incident,” said Ed Byrne, secretary of the County Competitions Control’s Committee (CCCC). He said that he could not comment further on the incident due to his involvement in any possible investigation. The CCCC secretary was among a number of county officials who were at the game and saw the incident first hand for themselves. Meanwhile, county secretary Aodh Mairtin O’Fearraigh said that while the CCCC will have to follow rules and procedure, he insisted that it was not on that a player, county or otherwise, leaves a GAA ground with a serious injury. “It is totally unacceptable and I feel so sorry for Leo given what he has gone through.
But it does not matter whether or not he is a county player or a club player, it is not on. It cannot be accepted and has to be stamped out, “ insisted the secretary. “The CCCC have a job to do and will investigate it once they receive the referee’s report.” Former manager Brian McEniff also joined in the condemnation of the incident that marred what was otherwise a trouble-free and highly competitive game. In his column in today’s paper, the former All-Ireland winning manager said such incidents had no place in our games and cannot be tolerated and must be stamped out.
He called on the clubs to take responsibility for their players and he called on the county executive to call a meeting. He said the executive should bring in officials and managers from all clubs in the county and lay it on the line to them that such behaviour is totally unacceptable.
“I feel that is time clubs take responsibility and do something about it and I include my own club Bundoran in that. I also think the time has come for the county executive to stand up and be counted on this and I would urge the executive to meet all 40 clubs as soon as possible on the matter and I would include club managers at that meeting,” said McEniff.
“It cannot be allowed continue. It simply is not acceptable. I know winning is important, but it is not everything and my big fear is unless action is taken and quickly someone will receive a serious injury and then it will be too late. “Leo McLoone received a nasty facial injury on Sunday and ended up in hospital. Leo is not a dirty player and did not deserve what happened him and whoever hit him must be dealt with.
“Sport is important, but remember everybody has to get up and go to work on Monday morning.” A clash between a Naomh Conaill player and a Glenswilly mentor seconds after the final whistle seemed to spark the incident that led to the mass brawl. The brawl, which lasted for well over a minute, involved most of the players, subs and mentors from both sides. Some got involved in a bid to make the peace and restore order while others were clearly intent on getting stuck in and causing injury. It was in the course of the brawl that Leo McLoone, who only recently returned to action after close on four months out with a broken ankle, picked up the injury. McLoone walked from the field when order was restored and tempers cooled down and it was only in the dressing room it was realised that he had received an injury to the eye area. This was later diagnosed as a fracture to bone in the socket area of the eye and will see the Naomh Conaill player miss the Ulster final.