GAA Football

Namoh Colmcille to appeal ban for hosting charity soccer fixture

BAN: Naomh Colmcille won the Ulster Junior title in 2017 but could be out of action for eight weeks
By Padraig Kelly

DONEGAL club Naomh Colmcille are set to appeal a proposed eight-week suspension in all adult competitions for staging a charity soccer match on their club grounds.

Congress voted in February to give county grounds the same rights as Croke Park when it came to hosting non-GAA events with Central Council set to have the final say on a case-by-case basis.

The rule change did not extend to clubs though and the Donegal management committee handed down the punishment after the game was played on the club’s second pitch.

The event was held in order to raise funds for Paul Dillon, a former Naomh Colmcille coach and player, who had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. It was organised by a fundraising committee in the area rather than the club itself.

It is understood that Naomh Colmcille had asked for permission to stage the game from both Croke Park and Donegal GAA but were denied on both occasions.

The proposed ban falls under rule 6.40 of the GAA’s official guide, which can carry a minimum eight-week suspension and a €500 fine.

If the sanction is imposed after all appeal routes have been exhausted, the club will be forced to forfeit all scheduled adult fixtures over that eight-week period.

The ban comes less than a year after the Liam Miller Testimonial controversy when the GAA initially refused to host a match between Manchester United and the Republic of Ireland at Páirc Uí Chaoimh as they said only a change at Congress could facilitate such a move.

After a public backlash, the Association softened its position and staged the event with a GAA event added to the itinerary.

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