AIDEEN GILLEN has published her first annual report as the Donegal County Secretary.
Gillen, elected to succeed Aodh Máirtín Ó Fearraigh last December, will present her report to the club delegates at this Sunday’s County Convention in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny.
Gillen’s is a lengthy report, totalling 11,666 words.
It is largely a lukewarm account of the year although the Dungloe woman does touch on a few big talking points, not least the fall-out arising out of the Donegal v Tyrone Ulster Minor Championship game in May, the perennial problem of club fixtures and discipline.
The alleged incident in Donegal’s Ulster MFC game against Tyrone at Sean MacCumhaill Park is descrived as ‘regrettable and distressful’.
The Ulster Council President, Martin McAviney, touched on this subject on Friday night at the Donegal awards night.
Picture caption: Aideen Gillen with Martin McAviney on Friday night at the annual Donegal GAA Awards. Picture courtesy of Geraldine Diver.
Donegal Secretary Gillen is critical of some of the media reporting of the matter.
“The incident was investigated by Ulster Council CCC and both counties accepted the findings with agreement that they should remain confidential,” she wrote.
“Unfortunately an inaccurate version was issued by a Tyrone based website which necessitated clarification from Ulster Council.
“We in Donegal are happy with this clarification that the matter is now resolved and is now behind us.
“The incident and the fall-out highlights the danger of social media as much of the hysteria that followed the incident was fuelled by inaccuracies by uninformed users of social media.
“The posting of harmful and character damaging messages is something clubs must address with their members.”
Fixtures are an annual topic at convention and Gillen believes that the Ulster Championship could be condensed to free up time for club games. In Donegal, the senior championship was completed in late October with the first round having taken place in May.
“The GAA club is the heart of every community and is the foundation of our association and we must provide regular games for our club players,” she wrote in what is the strongest part of her report.
“Club games should not suffer due to county teams being successful. Our Players played one game in the Championship in May and the clubs decided to defer the RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta Senior Football Championship and the All-Sports Intermediate Championship until after the county’s exit.
“We must remember that the majority of our footballers are club footballers.
A document was circulated to all Counties requesting submissions in relation to Football Championship Proposals for 2017 and beyond. Part of our submission was that Donegal is strongly of the opinion that the Provincial Championship structures must be condensed thus ensuring that clubs are afforded more time to play club games, for instance there should be no reason that two games could not be played in one weekend with staggered times.
“While nationally attention is focused on Player Burnout I believe the problem we have here in Donegal is the inactivity of our club players during the summer months when our county is involved in the championship.
“Star games are a help but a club can only play so many games without their county players. This is a problematic issue for our county CCC which requires cooperation from clubs and county team managers. We must have club activity especially during the summer.”
Gillen notes that a large number of the 33 cases dealt with this year by the County Hearings Committee related to non-playing members of clubs.
She wrote: “It would be appreciated if clubs would remind their officials and supporters to have respect for all who they come in contact with while attending our games.”Tags: