Co. secretary Aideen Gillen
The GAA’s Master fixture plan designating April to club football/hurling did not work says Donegal GAA secretary Aideen Gillen in her report to tonight’s (Thursday) annual Donegal GAA Convention.
One of the county’s top officials, Ms Gillen, who will deliver her fourth secretary’s report to the meeting in the Abbey Hotel, argues that it is an issue that needs to be looked at again by the Association.
In her wide ranging report covering all aspects of the Association in the county she also raises a growing problem of gambling on club and county games.
“For us in Donegal the national master fixture plan for the year making the month of April “Black Out” for county fixtures freeing up five Sundays for club fixtures did not work,” says the Dungloe clubwoman.
“In the past county players were available for club league matches during the
“But the new fixture plan has been interpreted that from the end of April until a county exited the championship players are not available to clubs.”
The secretary feels this is wrong and she argues that fringe players on a county panel should be allowed to play during the championship season.”
She also highlights a new problem which is being experienced by the GAA and that is gambling on games and, in particular, internet gambling.
And she welcomed the launch of a new Gambling Awareness Campaign called “Reduce the Odds” by the President of the GAA, John Horan, to combat the growing problem.
“Unfortunately gambling on GAA matches at county and club games is becoming increasingly popular.
“Internet betting is easily accessible with odds available on many aspects of our club games throughout the year.”
It has become such an issue and such big business that the secretary reports that influential club people are being contacted prior to games on the composition of club teams in order to assist betting.
“Other sports have had their problems and I would hate to think that some of the difficulties that they have experienced would spread to the GAA.
“I commend the “Reduce the Odds” campaign to all our clubs and members for it is important that the wellbeing of our members and the integrity of our games are paramount to us all.”
In her report the secretary also congratulated Ryan McHugh on his second All-Star award and Eoghan Bán Gallagher and Michael Murphy on receiving All-Star nominations.
She also congratulated Declan Coulter and Stephen Gillespie on winning Nicky
Rackard All Star Awards and Mickey McCann and the Donegal hurlers on winning the Nicky Rackard Cup.
She thanked her fellow officers and paid tribute to former treasurer Cieran Kelly, who resigned in the course of the year. She says being left in charge of what is now a business with a turnover approaching €2 million is a lot to expect from one person and suggests that more than one person be appointed to the position.
See also: Convention Treasurer report