Saturday 7 December 2019

Colm O'Rourke: Hypocritical GAA have forced good GAA people to sell more lotto tickets

It was hard to credit that Central Council fined the Dromard club in Longford for allowing a soccer school to be held on their premises. This must have driven members of this progressive club into a deep sense of annoyance.

Dromard are a club which looks after the young and the old, is totally embedded in the community and has provided great facilities in a rural area. It must have felt like a stab in the heart.

Of course there are rules in the GAA which must be obeyed, but remember this is the same organisation which blatantly ignores its own rules on training bans for senior county teams, the same organisation which turns a blind eye when it comes to enforcing regulations with underage county teams, the same organisation in which a county board passes a resolution in October then completely ignores it in January.

So spare us all the talk about the rule book and insurance. What of concerts, soccer and rugby in Croke Park? The GAA can talk about rules and exemptions for Croke Park but there is natural justice and what the Association has done is force the good people of Dromard to now go selling more lotto tickets, run draws and beg from the locals they are trying so hard to serve for the €2,000 to pay this ridiculous fine.

If those responsible for imposing this fine go around the country any night they will see lights on all-weather facilities on GAA properties where young people are playing football but they never handle the ball.

This rental money goes to run these clubs. Will everybody be in line for a fine? It is a real insult to the integrity and far-sightedness of brilliant people who love the GAA at local level.

And, finally, the Leinster Council, because the lights in Navan are out of action, has decided to transfer the Meath versus Dublin Leinster under 21 championship first round match from Navan to Parnell Park. A few years ago Meath offered to play Dublin in either Navan or Parnell Park in the Leinster final but that was turned down and the match was played in Portlaoise. To the detriment of the supporters and the gate receipts, it has to be said.

This game should be played on a Saturday in Navan and just because most of the matches are played on a Wednesday night should certainly not mean giving up home advantage. What was wrong with waiting three days or going back to the previous Saturday? We definitely have gone soft in Meath to allow this to happen.

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