Donegal GAA club in the dock over 'unauthorised tournament’

Naomh Colmcille GAA Club will appeal an eight-week suspension handed down to them from the Donegal Competition Controls Committee (CCC) for hosting an ‘unauthorised tournament’ for a former player and coach suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.

A soccer competition between Letterkenny and Derry, was held at Páirc Colmcille’s second pitch in Newtowncunningham in February to raise funds for Paul Dillon. It was arranged not by the club but by a fundraising committee in the village.

The event was one of a series of fundraisers held in the north-west for the charity drive that.

There were more than 20 events including 5k runs, table-quizzes, auctions, dances, and bootcamps. In all, over €85,000 was raised.

However, Naomh Colmcille, who won the Donegal and Ulster JFC titles in 2017, have been penalised under section 6.40 of the GAA’s official guide, which states that a club ‘organising an unauthorised tournament’ can be fined €500 and would also be ‘liable to a minimum suspension of eight weeks’.

As a result, no adult team at Naomh Colmcille will be permitted to play for eight weeks, and they will also forfeit whatever fixtures they were pencilled to play in that timeframe, pending the appeal.

To date, Naomh Colmcille’s senior men’s team have won two and drawn one of their opening four fixtures in Division Three of the Donegal All-County Football League.

They will take part in the Donegal Intermediate Football Championship in a first-round group with Burt, Naomh Columba, and Fanad Gaels.

Last summer, the GAA came under fire for initially refusing to permit a charity soccer match to be played at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork, with the main part of the monies raised being donated to the family of former Republic of Ireland international Liam Miller, who passed away from cancer.

However, after much public criticism on the matter, the GAA eased its own rules and the match took place in September.

In February of this year, the GAA Annual Congress voted in favour of using county grounds for non-GAA related activity, but the rule does not extend as far as covering club grounds.

Naomh Colmcille officials met with members of the Donegal CCC earlier this month, and yesterday evening an official from the Donegal County Board said that the appeal from the club was still “in progress”.

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