There were a number of issues discussed at Monday night’s county convention in Ballybofey.
National Football League fixtures
Donegal officials ignored a request from senior football manager Jim McGuinness on the venues for the forthcoming Allianz National League it has been claimed this week.
The claim was made by St. Michael’s delegate Liam McElhinney who said he found it disappointing that a request from the county manager on his choice of venue for the county’s four homes game in the Allianz National Football League had not been heeded.
“Jim made a submission requesting to play the Mayo game in O’Donnell Park, the Laois game in Ballyshannon and the Cork and Armagh games in Ballybofey,” said McElhinney.
“His request seems to have been ignored for some reason which I find very disappointing and regrettable,” added McElhinney, who went on to say he had no problem with a game played in Ballyshannon.
“Jim has his reasons for wanting to play certain teams at certain venues as from my own experience of being involved in the past had been the case with other managers too. By and large too I always found the manager’s requests have been granted but for some reason this is not the case on this occasion.”
Acting chairman Charlie Cannon said that they had consulted with the team manager but at the end of the day it was a decision for the executive.
Development officer and executive member Michael McMenamin said that the only fixture fixed by the executive was the Mayo game in Ballyshannon, and that he was not sure how the other venues were arrived at and by whom.
And in reference to the Mayo game being fixed for Fr. Tierney Park, the development officer said: “It is very clear what is going on here.”
Central Council delegate, Niall Erskine, who admitted he was new to his position, proposed Fr. Tierney Park because he always found the Aodh Ruadh club very accommodating with their facilities and they should be given the opportunity to host a league game.
Anthony McGrenra from Termon said that it was a poor road to go down that the county manager’s request was not granted.
The executive fixed the Laois game for O’Donnell Park and the Mayo game for Ballyshannon with both the Cork and Armagh games in Ballybofey.
Domhnaill Mac a’ Bhaird Cup missing
One of Donegal’s oldest and most prestigious GAA Cups has gone missing and officials in the county have launched an investigation in a bid to find it.
The cup, the Domhnaill Mac a’Bhaird Cup, is presented to the Donegal minor football champions each year.
It has been missing since last year and was first noticed by Ardara officials when it was not available in October to present to St. Eunan’s, the winners of the 2011 championship.
Kilcar, in 2010, were the last team to be presented with the cup, but according to Ardara official Mary Kelly, who raised the matter at Monday night’s county committee meeting, they returned the cup early last year.
“I have made numerous inquiries since we discovered that it was missing and I have failed to trace it. We know Kilcar were the last team to be presented with it, but I have been in touch with Kilcar officials, and they insist that they returned it to the county board at the start of last year,” Mary Kelly told county committee.
“It is a very valuable cup and there is a lot of history with it. It is over 50 years old and as a club we are very concerned that it has gone missing and I am appealing to the county board to get involved in the search and try and find it.”
Vice-chairman and acting chairman on the night, Charlie Cannon, said that he was aware that the cup was missing and Southern Board chairman James Keenan, stated that it had been brought to the attention of the regional board and that they were investigating the matter.
The Domhnaill Mac a’Bhaird Cup was presented to the county board in 1960 by the Ardara club in memory of Domhnaill Mac a’Bhaird, who gave a great service to the GAA and was a former county chairman and secretary and a life-long advocate on the importance of the development of underage football.
Gaoth Dobhair were the first winners of the cup in 1960. They defeated arch rivals Dungloe in the final.
McGrath accepts new role
Newly appointed Children’s Officer Mick McGrath confirmed that he had accepted the position and was also taking over the role of the Youth Officer as chairman of Coiste Na nOg.
However, at Monday night’s meeting confusion arose as to whether or not the Aodh Ruadh man has been properly ratified in the position.
This follows confusion at last December’s Co. Convention as to whether the role of the Children’s Officer, which is a new position created by Croke Park, to replace the Youth Officer position.
At Convention McGrath, who had been county committee nominee for the position, said he was unaware of the additional duties of running fixtures when accepting the nomination. And for that reason he said that he would have to reconsider whether or not to accept the job. At Monday night’s meeting he said having considered he was now willing to take on the job, and that he had already met with the officers of the two regional boards.
It was then in light of what happened at Convention, questions were raised as to whether or not his nomination had been ratified.
County secretary Aodh Mairtin O’Fearraigh insisted that proper procedure had applied and that he had been proposed and seconded while development officer Michael McMenamin argued that was not the case.
“Mick’s name was put before Convention but he was not formally proposed and seconded and in light of the fact that he left that meeting to consider whether he was going to take the position or not we could not have ratified him,” said the development officer.
John Travers said that it was crazy what was going on and now that Mick McGrath had reconsidered and was willing to do the job, that should be the end of it.
The discussion on the matter ended when Seamus O’Domhnaill, Cloughaneely proposed that Mick McGrath’s nomination be ratified and with no dissenting voice he was finally ratified in the position.
Killybegs’ query county U-21 manager position
Donegal officials could give no reason for the delay in appointing an U-21 football manager when quizzed on the matter at Monday night’s county committee meeting.
Responding to a query from Ed Byrne, Killybegs, county vice chairman Charlie Cannon said that he did not know what the reason for the delay was but stated that a selection committee was in place for some time.
He also told county committee that they had re-advertised the vacancy and that the closing date was yesterday Wednesday January 18th.
The matter was raised by Ed Byrne, Killybegs, who queried why they knew since September that Jim McGuinness was no longer interested in the job and why a Killybegs’ member that had been nominated since early in December was only contacted for the first time last week.
In response to this secretary Aodh Mairtin O’Fearraigh said that when he contacted the Killybegs person in question he told him he had two offers from clubs and was no longer interested.
The secretary also stated that another person had shown an interest but he too was no longer interested. O’Fearraigh also stated that while they had received no interest in the position since it was re-advertised a number of names had been mentioned in recent days and he was confident that they would receive a number of nominations before yesterday evening’s deadline.
Ed Byrne said it was not good enough and that their club member (Joe McBrearty) had been very keen on the job when nominations had initially been sought.
However, as time passed and he heard nothing he was approached by a number of clubs including his own (Killybegs) and had come under pressure from Killybegs to manage the senior team and had in fact been ratified by Killybegs on Saturday night. And it was for this reason that Joe McBrearty, said he was no longer interested. Byrne also went on to say with the U-21s out in the championship in March, he felt it was very unfair on whoever took on the position and that they were not been give a chance to prepare the team.
No other delegate spoke on the matter.