In what described as ‘a bizarre situation’ the Na Rossa and Dungloe amalgamation at minor football received the approval of county committee for a second time at Monday night’s county board meeting.
The amalgamation received the thumbs up after a motion from four clubs - Aodh Ruadh, Ardara, Four Masters and Naomh Conaill - to rescind the January decision was defeated by 30 votes, 54 to 24. There were 21 abstentions.
The amalgamation, which was requested by Na Rossa on the grounds that they did not have enough players to field a minor team, had been passed on the casting vote of the chairman Sean Dunnion at the January meeting, after the vote on the matter had ended even
Eamonn Gorrell, Four Masters, proposing the motion to rescind the January decision on behalf of the opposing clubs stated that the regional board felt the matter should have been referred back to them for discussion.
He also said that it did not receive the full backing of county committee and that the chairman had to decide the matter on his casting vote.
“We also feel that looking at the Na Rossa registration they have the numbers to field a minor team and the amalgamation should not be allowed to go ahead,” said Dunnion.
Seconding the proposal Mary Kelly, Ardara, reiterated what the Four Masters representative said.
However, this was rejected out of hand by Pat Boyle, who felt the proposal to rescind the decision was blatant discrimination against Na Rossa and their minor footballers.
“I find this the most bizarre situation I have ever witnessed in my 30 years attending county board meetings,” said the Na Rossa official.
“But given where the opposition is coming from I’m not surprised. The last time Dungloe won a minor championship was in 1968. Back then Ardara and Glenties decided that they did not want Dungloe to win any more minor championships and the decided to amalgamate the following year, in 1969.
“They amalgamated again in 1970, ‘71 and ‘72 to stop Dungloe. Aodh Ruadh formed one of the greatest amalgamations ever in the 1960s when they and Bundoran joined forces to form the great St Joseph’s team.
“Four Masters draw their players from two parishes Killymard and Clar while Na Rossa and Dungloe are in the one parish.
“In light of the decisions to unanimously pass the amalgamation of Downings and Fanad Gaels and Naomh Brid and Pettigo here tonight the call for the rescinding of the decision to allow Na Rossa and Dungloe join up is nothing short of blatant discrimination.
“Thankfully, Croke Park does not discriminate against clubs that find themselves in the same situation as we find ourselves. The Official Guide clearly states if a club is not able to field a team, the club’s players are free to join the next nearest club, which in our case is Dungloe.”
The Na Rossa official went on to point out that Na Rossa play in Division Four of the All-County Football League and that they finished third from the bottom of the table last season.
He also pointed out that they do not have a reserve team and that they had only ten minors and as a consequence were not able to field a minor team. He also insisted, contrary what is being said by others, they simply do not have the numbers and if they had they would be fielding a minor team.
He also rejected a claim by Mary Kelly that Na Rossa had the players and had no difficulty fielding at U-16 and that they had 18 players for the Regional U-16 Division Two final in 2012.
Despite a call from Mary Kelly for a secret ballot county committee voted for a show of hands.
Meanwhile, a request from Downings to amalgamate with Fanad Gaels at minor level and the continuation of an amalgamation of Naomh Brid and Pettigo, also for minor football, received the unanimous backing of county committee.