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GAA Football

Inter-county demands harming the clubs says Donegal secretary

Donegal champions Kilcar were involved in one of the games of the year against Slaughtneil, but Donegal secretary Aideen Gillen says there is a declining interest in many club games because of the demands of inter-county teams. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

DONEGAL secretary Aideen Gillen says that the demands being made by inter-county managers all over Ireland have led to a dent in club finances and a declining interest in their games.

Gillen, who took over as secretary in December 2014 and will be returned unopposed at convention on Friday night, says that supporters have become disinterested in what were once major games on the club calendar.

Donegal boss Declan Bonner has already indicated that he will not hand the players back to their clubs during the month of April, which has been designated for club-only fixtures in the GAA calendar.

“The club as described in Rule 3 of T.O. is described as the basic unit of the Association and its object shall be the promotion at local level of the Association’s aims.

“Some people indeed claim that the club is the integral part of C.L.G. The club of today are experiencing problems from within and without.

“The ever increasing demands by county managers (who themselves have to prepare teams at the same level as other counties) are at times depriving county players from playing with their club.

“This is a nationwide problem that appears to be left with individual counties.

“In the past we had local club derbies but nowadays with weakened teams, patrons show little interest and club finances suffer accordingly.”

Gillen also reiterated Donegal’s call for Croke Park to give extra financial aid to counties that reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals from next year, in light of the extra expenses they will incur from having at least two more games.

At the GAA’s Annual Congress in February, Donegal chairman Sean Dunnion – whose five-year term of office comes to an end this weekend – requested that Central Council make “a significant contribution” towards additional costs associated with the new GPA players’ charter.

“Like many we look forward to the new football structure commonly known as the Super 8. No doubt for the participating 8 counties this series will create much interest.

“I hope that we can be still involved at this level. What I hope for is that the extra revenue generated by these games can be filtered down to all counties to alleviate the costs that counties now incur in preparing teams.”

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