SIX-TIME Donegal club champions Killybegs are up in arms after being thrown out of the county SFC semi-finals for fielding an illegal player, who, along with their chairman and secretary, has been hit with a swingeing one-year ban.
The blow came after a marathon four and a half hour meeting of the Donegal Executive on Tuesday night.
Killybegs intend fighting back immediately by appealing their case to the Ulster Council, which could seriously disrupt the county championships.
The case centred on local man Peter McGinley who has spent the last six months living in New York where he played for the Mayo club.
Killybegs say they were especially careful not to play McGinley until his transfer home had been cleared by Croke Park and the New York Board.
Gweedore alleged that he had played in a Championship game in New York a week before he came home.
Donegal have suspended him and the club on the basis that a player cannot play in two Championships in one season (unless he's a student). But Killybegs are furious that they were not more sympathetic.
"We were careful not to play this player until his papers came through from New York," said assistant secretary Bernard Conaghan. "We sat him out for a league game and our first Championship match, we did everything we thought possible to make sure he was legal and now this has happened, it's a terrible blow.
"We are in a unique situation here that seven of our team are 37-years-old, six are U18 and only three are between 21 and 36," he said.
"We had made a massive effort and played seven games to reach the semi-final. All our older players are giving it one last fling to help the young lads through and then retiring en masse.
"There's people around here very angry with Gweedore," he added. "We beat them by four points in the quarter-final. When you're beaten on the pitch you should take your defeat, not resort to this."
It has also emerged that Ardara are also furious that their objection to the legality of a player from St Eunan's, Letterkenny was thrown out at the same meeting.
Ardara argued that Eddie Brennan, a Sligo county panellist, should not have been allowed transfer from his native Drumcliffe to Letterkenny last March, because he was a student at the Donegal IT.
But the County Board upheld Letterkenny's argument that Brennan qualified to transfer because he is living and working locally.
Ardara believe this contravenes an earlier Croke Park ruling this season when an underage Galway player got suspended for playing club football in Limerick where he was studying and the club convened an emergency meeting late last night to see what action they'll take next.
Technically, Tuesday's decisions gave the all-clear for reigning champions Letterkenny (St Eunan's) to go through to the SFC quarter-final against Glenties which has been fixed for Donegal Town this Saturday (5.0).
The semi-finals, in which Ballyshannon will play the winners and Gweedore meet Dungloe, are due the weekend after next, but some or all of these could be delayed pending further appeals to Ulster or Croke Park.
THE ROW between Killererin and the Galway County Board has taken another twist after a hearing with the GAA's Disputes Committee in Croke Park yesterday afternoon.
This rarely-used appeals committee, usually activated at the specific request of the GAA President, ordered that Killererin can appeal their case back to the Disciplinary Committee of the Galway Football Board.
Their case was initially heard by the Football Board itself and an appeal to the County Board was subsequently thrown out, on a technicality (their cheque was signed in English).
But the GAA Dispute's Committee has decided the club should be allowed another chance to make their case.
FORMER Kerry player John Kennedy has been appointed as the new Clare football manager.
TIPPERARY (IH v Galway) F Horgan; G Griffin, M Peters, B Gaynore; C Ryan, AN Other, C Everard; S Maher, J Teehan; B Hogan, B Stritch, P Buckley; G Maguire, D Hackett, S Everard.