A Donegal GAA club are appealing against an eight-week ban from all adult competitions imposed after they hosted a charity soccer tournament on their grounds.
The Naomh Colmcille club in Newtowncunningham were hit with the two-month suspension when news emerged they allowed one of their pitches to be used for the fund-raising event in aid of local man Paul Dillon, who has been diagnosed with motor neuron disease.
It is understood that during the organisation process they requested permission from Croke Park to host the tournament, as soccer, rugby and other ‘foreign sports’ cannot be played on most GAA pitches under the Association’s rules.
They were refused this permission and they were also turned down by Donegal GAA following a subsequent request.
Last year the GAA bent their own rules following a public outcry after they initially refused permission for the Liam Miller Tribute Match to be played at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.
This was a soccer game to raise money for the family of the late Ireland international.
At GAA Annual Congress in February the rules were changed to allow county grounds to be used to host non-Gaelic games - however, this doesn’t cover club grounds and this is why Naomh Colmcille found themselves in hot water.
The ban, first reported by the Inishowen Independent, covers only adult competition and not any underage matches or players. The club will forfeit any adult games that were due to be played during the period of suspension.
Naomh Colmcille were suspended under Rule 6.40 of the GAA’s Official Guide, which covers the holding of tournament games as it was deemed that they had hosted an ‘unauthorised tournament’.
Eight weeks' suspension and a fine of €500 is the minimum punishment for such a breach of rule.
The event was part of a fund-raising drive to aid local man Paul Dillon, who played and coached with the club, who was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.