Donegal GAA chairman P J McGowan, in his address to annual Convention on Wednesday night, warned that spectators may have to be segregated at GAA matches in the future because of indiscipline.
The chairman, who was re-elected, felt that indiscipline among players and officials and in recent times among supporters was an issue that the the Association is going to have to grapple with.
“Indiscipline among players at club games and furthermore among officials and supporters has become an issue for the Association.
“We have read about such incidents in other counties and they have received much exposure in the media. And there is no point in blaming the media for this and we are far from innocent here in Donegal either as the past year has shown.”
And he asked: “Are we going to have to insist on playing games to protect our players and official in secured grounds and are we going to have to segregate supporters as is the case in other sports.
“Don’t think this will ever happen because I can assure you that the Gardai and the P.S.N.I are making tentative inquires and observations on how the GAA manages its affairs in the province of Ulster.
“It is up to the Association and we here in Donegal must take responsibility that this never happens and that we can always play our games at several venues and not just those pitches with maximum security playing areas.”
In reference to the senior team’s success he paid tribute to Jim McGuinness, his management team and players for the effort for the effort and commitment the gave in the course off the year.
Obviously relating to the Kevin Cassidy affair, he stated that it was regrettable that at the end of the year that Donegal became the focus of much media attention over what he felt was an internal Donegal matter. And he suggested that he felt there were those from outside the county that were trying to create division in the county for what after all was an internal matter.
In his wide ranging address the chairman P.J. McGowan appealed to the clubs of the county to support the development of the new Centre of Excellence at Convoy.
He also stated that it was a good year for Donegal on the playing fields in both football and hurling and paid tribute to all players, officials and management who contributed to that success.
On the Centre of Excellence development he appealed to all the clubs that are lukewarm to the project to get fully behind and support the development.
“We all know the difficulties in getting pitches for county teams to train on and for club and school game; this time it was St. Columba’s and Rosses Community school and they were really struggling until Termon bailed them out.
“It is important that all the clubs and the county get behind the development and any fund-raising for the project.”
On the hardy annual of club fixtures and getting games played he urged that all interested parties – team management, clubs and the CCC – sit down at the start of the year and come up with a workable solution.
“From speaking to people in other counties we are not the only ones to have a problem with club fixtures, but we are going to have to look at the possibility of moving away from the tradition of playing club games at weekends only.
“While clubs give tacit approval to this idea when it is put to them with their silence unfortunately the reverse is the case when it comes to implementing the idea of playing mid-week games.
“It seems to me that those counties that enjoy annual success are the only ones that have devised a workable formula for internal fixtures.
“We must devise a formula for 2012 and beyond and move away from the traditional arrangement of playing all our league games at weekends. With some clubs involved in hurling the problem escalates. It would be better if all clubs were involved in adult hurling.
“Surely clubs with county players should be able to play league games at weekends during the summer months.”
But he warned if clubs allow their own interests to dictate a solution to the problem will never be found. And he strongly recommend at the beginning of the new year that county team management meet with the CCC and club officers to examine ways of improving the fixtures problem and to come up with a system that does not put undue pressure on our county players.
He also paid tribute to his fellow officers and to those officers who were standing down due to the five year rule and he wished them well in what ever paths they wished to follow.