THE SPORTING DIARY: An own goal by Donegal GAA on Naomh Colmcille isue

THE SPORTING DIARY: An own goal by Donegal GAA on Naomh Colmcille isue

If you pardon the pun, it looks as if Donegal GAA has scored a major own goal with news of the eight week suspension being proposed for a GAA Club in the county this week.

That Naomh Colmcille could be punished with a fine and the loss of league points because their grounds were allowed to be used as part of a community fund-raiser just doesn’t sit well.

We don’t know the full story behind the debacle, but it already has put Donegal GAA on the back foot. I’ve heard some of the facts behind the reason for the suspension and they are all valid. However, just like the Liam Miller Benefit match in Pairc Ui Chaoimh late last year, the GAA are never going to win the argument, even if they are playing strictly by the rules.

But that is the problem nowadays. Rules regarding insurance and safety take precedence over everything else. There is no place for common sense and reality.

You would wonder where does community come into the argument.

Whatever about the full facts of what happened in Newtowncunningham in February, the punishment being proposed for Naomh Colmcille is way out of proportion. The club may have to take some responsibility if everything was not in order for the fund-raiser, but it was being done in good faith. To punish the club adult teams is not commensurate.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail when the Naomh Colmcille appeal is heard.

Remember if the appeal is not successful then the Newtown club - who were Donegal and Ulster Junior champions last year - would be hit heavily by the loss of league points and their county panellists would be suspended.

The thought comes to mind - how many times in the GAA have we seen suspensions overturned on appeal; an incident is not recorded in the referee’s report and because of that it just didn’t happen. Or a red card can be rescinded so a player can play in a final. Surely common sense will prevail and this issue can be resolved.

If the suspension is not overturned then there will be a huge negative response to the Association in the county.

Good weekend of football

Away from the boardrooms of the GAA, there was plenty of great entertainment to be had on Donegal GAA fields at the weekend with a double round of league fixtures on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

One of the talking points coming from venues at the weekend was the refreshing brand of football that is being played by clubs. Is this part of the new revolution in the GAA world? Attacking football was the norm and there were some very good encounters in all divisions.

I was in Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon on Friday evening and in Gerald Gallagher Memorial Park, Mountcharles on Sunday afternoon. Conditions were perfect for football and the entertainment value was excellent.

There is probably a hierarchy in the Division One league with the winners likely to come from the quartet of Kilcar, St Eunans, Naomh Conaill and Gaoth Dobhair.

However, in Division Two it is much more difficult to work out. Killybegs look favourites, even at this early stage, as they have four wins from four games, but they will be without their county stars Hugh McFadden and Eoghan Bán Gallagher for the rest of the campaign.

As St Nauls manager Barry Meehan said to me on Sunday evening after watching his side get over the line against Naomh Columba, every team in the division feel they can win any games. There have been quite a number of home wins already, and trying to work out the two teams that will be promoted is a very difficult task.

That closeness makes the games exciting and with the penchant for attacking football, it is a good time for Gaelic club football.

Harps need a break

After getting two draws in the opening three games, Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps are already in a difficult place in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division.

The Finn Park side are finding the going very tough, despite putting a lot of effort into their games. Getting to the standard required is proving very frustrating.

They travel to the Showgrounds in Sligo this Friday evening for another local derby and it is one of the games that they would target to get something from. If the present run continues, then their fate will be decided before the half-way stage of the league is reached and that would have a knock-on effect on attendances.

They need all the support they can get just now and this Friday night would be a good time to get something going their way.