Tuesday 20 August 2019

Donegal GAA club 'happy' with lesser sanctions over 'unauthorised' fundraising match

Former coach: Paul Dillon is suffering from motor neurone disease
Former coach: Paul Dillon is suffering from motor neurone disease

Chris McNulty and Allison Bray

Donegal GAA club Naomh Colmcille has been spared an eight-week suspension for hosting an "unauthorised tournament" to raise funds for a former coach suffering from motor neuron disease.

The Newtowncunningham club faced having to forfeit its games for eight weeks after the Donegal GAA Management Committee proposed the suspension after the club was charged with staging an unauthorised tournament in February. Locals reacted with fury after the sanction was proposed.

Needs

The match was held in aid of father-of-three Paul Dillon, a former player and coach at the club, in order to fit out his home to address his needs. It was part of a local fundraising drive that raised €85,000.

The Donegal Hearings Committee heard an appeal from club members on Tuesday night but found they breached two rules following lengthy deliberations. It imposed a €250 fine for each breach as well as ruling the club will lose its home venue for all adult games for 12 weeks, covering five home games.

Last night, Mr Dillon (45) said the ruling was the lesser of two evils. "Everybody is happy enough," he told the Irish Independent.

"We were expecting to get a total ban so it's the best we could hope for," he said.

Initially, the Donegal GAA Management Committee sanctioned Naomh Colmcille under sections 5.1 and 6.40 of the GAA's Official Guide and was going to impose an eight-week suspension.

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