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GAA Football

In The Irish News: Apr 24 1998: President JoeJoe McDonagh urges GAA to abolish rule 21

Former GAA president Joe McDonagh
Sports desk

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GAA president Joe McDonagh last night urged members reluctant to change Rule 21 that now is the time to grasp the nettle and scrap the controversial ruling for good.

Aware of a certain level of discontent among northern GAA members in the fallout from last weekend’s annual congress, McDonagh said he wanted to strengthen the resolve for pushing ahead with the rule’s abolition at the special congress on May 30.

The Galway man said however, that he would not be travelling north to attend any of the meetings planned by the various counties in the run-up to the congress.

McDonagh said he was conscious of the reasons why four Ulster counties had rejected his proposal to push the rule’s removal through last weekend.

“I want to highlight that I as president and the general membership are very much aware of the hurt and grief that has been endured by our membership in the north,” he said.

“It’s important to state that, because maybe people think we don’t understand.” However he urged all GAA followers that the time was now right to move on.

“This is a time of hope, for courage and for vision, and the underlying values of Christianity on this island need to be expressed by gestures which represent those.

“The views I expressed (at congress) were in the context of the evolving political situation that has occurred in recent times and we should show a tangible support for what is going on.”

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JUNIOR soccer club Donegal Celtic may tonight know if an application to join the Irish League has been successful.

The west Belfast club, based on the Suffolk Road, has been applying to join the games senior leagues for almost a decade.

Members of the Irish League senior club’s committee will tonight discuss applications for entry to the Irish League First Division, which is expected to be extended from an eight team league to a 10 team one, prior to the new season.

Clubs who have sought promotion from junior football to the Irish League B Division Section II, will have their applications discussed on Friday, June 5.

Joining Donegal Celtic on tonight’s agenda are five other junior clubs, four from the B Division and Oxford United of Derry, who play in the Intermediate League along with Donegal Celtic.

Institute, who enjoyed a brilliant run in the Bass Irish Cup this season, before eventually losing to Crusaders in the quarter-finals, former Steel and Sons Cup champions Chimney Corner, Armagh City and Loughgall are also among the applicants.

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OWEN Mulligan was released from hospital yesterday following an operation to fit a plate to his broken arm. On Sunday he will play in an All-Ireland final in Croke Park, less than a week after fracturing his radius in two places.

Advances in medical science, allied to the Tyrone teenager’s remarkable courage, mean a dream that looked certain to be cruelly shattered, will now be realised.

Mulligan has been named at midfield on the Tyrone Vocational Schools side to face Offaly in the curtain-raiser to the National League final – an unexpected but important boost to his side’s chances of taking a sixth title at this level.

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