Donegal official hits out at Croke Park cancellations

A leading Donegal county board official has launched a blistering attack on the Croke Park decision to ban all club matches in the country.

And Assistant County Secretary Ed Byrne branded the decision by GAA leaders as "totally and utterly wrong."

"It's a horrible way for a year to end that we have left club players not knowing, that's horrible and that's not what the Association is about."

"I am very angered by their decision."

Byrne hit out as it emerged that Croke Park rejected an e mail from Naomh Conaill asking that the game go ahead.

The decision to ban all club activity, has sparked considerable frustration and anger in the Naomh Conaill and Kilcar camps as both clubs were gearing for the county final on Sunday in Ballybofey.

This is the third time the county final has been postponed.

In particular, questions have been asked about why Croke Park did not wait until after the government had made their decision on sanctions due to the worrying spread of Covid 19.

The GAA banned all club matches amid reports that the country was going into lockdown at the weekend and Croke Park has been accused of "jumping the gun" by Kilcar manager John McNulty.

But, Assistant County Secretary Ed Byrne accused the decision makers of "punishing a few counties for what happened in other counties."

"Of course, the health of the nation has to take priority over everything else, but I am not so sure that calling off club matches would add to that"

"I think Croke Park could have spoken to those few counties who still have county finals to be played and come up with a plan.

"I know we in Donegal would certainly have worked with them in having smaller panel sizes.

"And a lot of the things that are concerning Croke Park are not on the pitch but in the celebrations afterwards."

Byrne added that Donegal was being punished for 'the sins of others."

"A few counties are being punished for what happened in others.

"And we are paying a huge price for that.

"We have tried our hardest here to go with the guidelines and regulations as best we could as the County CCC.

"We are gutted.

"Those who made that decision, they did not consult with the affected counties and they just threw a blanket ban out there.

"As a result, they have lost the connection with the grassroots."

"I am angry that the GAA have ignored their grassroots in some counties.

He added;

"We want to see our competitions finished but to me Croke Park's decision is completely and utterly wrong because they have not consulted with the relevant counties.

Byrne believes the final could have gone ahead.

"I believe we could have run the county final safely this weekend.

"I believe we could have worked with the two clubs the Gardai and everyone concerned to ensure the county final could have been played safely."

"We had a club window until October 11 and it was snatched away from us.

"We could have run a county final and we could have allowed it to go ahead but the opportunity to do that has been snatched from us, not by an outside body, but by our own organization."