SPORTS COLUMN

THE SPORTING DIARY: Are Donegal taking on the right fight at the wrong time?

WITH SPORTS EDITOR PETER CAMPBELL

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

THE SPORTING DIARY: Are Donegal taking on the right fight at the wrong time?

Are Donegal taking on the right fight at the wrong time?

While the press release from Donegal GAA this week that they are going to seek a meeting with Croke Park officials over the fine points of the fixtures for the Super 8s is admirable, is it not a distraction to a  young team preparing for the biggest game of their careers.

Congress 2017 passed a motion to bring in the Super 8s and it decreed that teams would have a home game, an away game and a game in Croke Park as part of the group games.

The make up of the groups was also decided at that Congress and it paired the provincial winners of Ulster and Leinster in one group and the winners in Connacht and Munster in the other with the other sides in the two groups decided by the Qualifiers.

The contention is around Dublin having two games in Croke Park, as they use the venue for home games. It is a valid argument, but is it Donegal’s fight alone to change that. Dublin’s ‘home’ game is against either Roscommon or Armagh and really it should be their fight to have that game in Parnell Park, instead of Croke Park.

Are Donegal getting involved in a very valid argument at the wrong time?

Donegal’s focus should be on facing Dublin - and that game has been fixed for Saturday week, 14th at 7 p.m. This is a young Donegal team who need to get the Croke Park experience as often as they can. They would hope to get back to headquarters for an All-Ireland semi-final and the experience gained by the younger players on Saturday week could be very important in that regard.  Playing in Croke Park as often as they can should be their entire focus.

Last week it was Newbridge or Nowhere. And it ended well for Kildare. But it could also have gone pear shaped.

Donegal have the high moral ground and there will be be support from the other counties outside of Dublin, but it more to make a point than win any short term argument. But this is not another Newbridge. Kildare were always going to win that argument. Should Donegal not pursue the matter through their Central Council delegate and submit a motion to the next Congress rather than going public with it?

The present issue could become something of a sideshow and take away from what was shaping up to be a great July.

One issue around the Super 8s that should also be looked into is the fact that the provincial winners will all have their home game as the final game of the series. Surely the reward for winning your provincial title should be that your first game should be at home. Hopefully, that will be part of any review of the competition for 2019.


WORLD CUP HYPE

With England almost crowned World Cup winners in some quarters, should we just forget about the next week and a half. Even though they are in the easy half of the draw, it is hard to see them progressing very far based on the evidence of Tuesday night. They looked laboured and were fortunate to be meeting a team who had little interest in football.

The antics of the Columbians should see them banned from playing in any tournament for a year - they were a disgrace, especially around the time of the England penalty.

Not an easy job this refereeing gig!


OPEN DONEGAL

What a week this will be for the Donegal sporting public with the influx of close on 100,000 for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. It is a major coup for the county and with the weather we’re experiencing, this can become one of the greatest occasions to showcase the county.

All we need now is for three or four of the Irish golfing stars to rise to the top and make it a really exciting weekend.