A Donegal GAA club and the local community are in total shock after being hit with an eight week ban for allowing a charity soccer match be played on their property.
The club, Naomh Colmcille in Newtowncunningham, have been hit with a proposed eight week ban by the Donegal Management Committee for allowing a fund-raising match to be played on their property.
The match, which is believed to have been a mixed game of Gaelic football and soccer, was played back in the middle of February and was part of local community driven fund-raising drive which raised an incredible €85,000 in a matter of weeks.
The match was in aid of local man Paul Dillon, a former Naomh Colmcille player and dedicated underage coach, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease at the beginning of January.
Paul Dillon is a local young married man with three children and the funds raised were to make adjustments to facilitate the illness.
The ban was proposed by the Donegal Management Committee following a meeting with the main officers of the club.
News of the ban emerged this morning (Tuesday) in the Inishowen Independent and has sparked a massive response on social media with the Donegal GAA board and officials on the receiving end of a lot of criticism.
Neither the Donegal county board or the club are making any comment on the issue other than Donegal PRO John McEniff confirming the ban had been proposed.
The ban, which only applies to adult football, means adult games fixed for club in the eight week period are forfeited and the points go to the opposition.
The club are allowed to continue to play underage competitions.
However, one club member, who did not wish to be named, said the club was in total shock and that the club had nothing to do with the organising of the game.
“It is an amazing decision and one that has totally shocked the members of the club and the local community.
“I would min’tnd but it wasn’t even a full blown soccer game and was in fact a mixed game and started off as a Gaelic match. In fact the club senior team were playing Limavady in an Ulster League game on the main pitch at the same time.
“It’s a crazy decision. Paul is a great club man. He played for the club and has coached and managed teams at all levels from U-8 up to U-12 and he would have coached all of the club’s current U-12 team.Feelings are running high in the short time since the news broke this morning.”
It is understood the club has also been fined €500 by the Donegal Management Committee as part of the penalty.
Naomh Colmcille have appealed the decision to the Donegal Hearings’ committee.