Donegal GAA officials have dismissed a claim that some clubs are being favoured when it comes to the making of club fixtures in the county.
Denis Ellis, chairman of the Donegal Competitions Control Committee, was responding to a claim made this week by Ardara manager, Adrian Brennan.
Brennan made the allegation in a written statement emailed to the Democrat on Tuesday afternoon.
“There is favouritism and deals being done to facilitate some clubs and to exclude other clubs,” Brennan said in his statement.
At the centre of the allegation is this weekend’s All County Football League Division One meeting of Kilcar and Ardara. The game has been fixed for Friday evening in Towney, with a throw-in time of 7.30pm.
It is one of four games, three in Division One and one in Division Three, that have been pencilled in for tomorrow evening. This is due to the playing of the Donegal finals of Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta, which is being hosted at the weekend by Naomh Muire. Kilcar, Naomh Conaill and Glenswilly (in Division One) and Naomh Columba (in Division Three) are the clubs involved in the Gaeltacht.
The Ardara manager also contends that they were informed over the telephone the previous week by the CCC secretary, Sean McGinley, that their game against Kilcar would be fixed for Saturday evening.
However, the club only agreed to this as long as they were not involved in the latter stages of the Comórtas Peil Na Gaeltachta finals. Ardara subsequently lost their Gaeltacht quarter-final to Naomh Conaill last Saturday evening.
CCC chairman Denis Ellis confirmed, as claimed by Brennan, that he had been in contact with the Ardara club about the fixture on Wednesday night of last week and that he had put the option of switching the fixture to Ardara.
“I spoke to the Ardara secretary, Mary Kelly, about the playing of the game on Friday night. She outlined that the club had a difficulty with a Friday night game because they had so many players working and in college, living outside the county; they were not in a position to play on Friday night,” Denis Ellis explained.
But the CCC chairman insisted that games had to go ahead and they fixed the game for Friday evening as they did for all the other clubs involved in the Gaeltacht.
“We have to play games and get the fixture schedule played and we have no other choice but to go ahead with the fixtures. It is the same for all the other clubs that are involved in the Gaeltacht as Ardara.”
Ardara’s main bone of contention is that they have up to ten of the senior panel living outside the county as either students or working. And these players are in Dundalk, Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Galway and Liverpool and there is no way they can have them home to play a game on a Friday evening. That is unless those players take time off work or their studies and finish up around lunch-time.
“I always have a light workout on a Friday night at 9.30pm and that is the earliest I can have it because some of the lads are only arriving home at that time. In a number of the cases that is straight to training for a number of the lads,” insisted Adrian Brennan.
Ardara informed the CCC by email on Tuesday night that they were not in a position to play the game. Adrian Brennan has confirmed to the Donegal Democrat they will not be fulfilling the fixture.