26 Sept 2022

'Social media abuse hindering Donegal senior team manager appointment'

'It is certainly not helpful and has been mentioned by a number of people who have been approached about the position of Donegal senior team manager'

Social media abuse hindering Donegal senior team manager appointment

Declan Bonner stepped aside from his position of Donegal senior manager in July

Donegal GAA’s social media abuse is so chronic, it is proving to be a hindrance in the search for a new county senior team manager.

It is believed the reason the county board have thrown a veil of secrecy over the process and the names of the three-person committee tasked with finding the new manager is because they became the targets of abuse and criticism during previous appointments.

A number of potential candidates, it is understood, from within the county have spoken to the committee in the last fortnight or so and the search has now been extended to outside the county.

“It is certainly not helpful and has been mentioned by a number of people who have been approached about the position of Donegal senior team manager,” a source told DonegalLive in relation to the online issue.

“One or two people approached by the committee have cited the abuse as one reason for not being interested in the position. It is too bad that people - be managers, coaches, mentors and players - cannot do what they enjoy doing without being attacked by these anonymous faceless individuals.”

The board have already taken steps to track these abusers down and to deal with them through the GAA disciplinary system. Only last month, Ed Byrne, the secretary of the Donegal Competitions Control Committee (CCC), addressed the issue.

He stated there will be a hardline approach taken in line with the GAA’s Social Media Strategy to deal with offenders.
However Byrne did stress that the issue is only with personal abuse and not criticism of the performance of players, managers or officials.

“Some people, because they are in possession of a social media account, feel as though they have the right to abuse not only people involved in the GAA, but their family members, their partners and friends,” he said.

After he stepped aside from the role in July, in the wake of Donegal’s defeat to Derry in the Ulster SFC final and then the reversal to Armagh that followed in the All-Ireland qualifiers, former manager Declan Bonner said some of the abuse was ‘horrendous’

He said: “It is from people who don’t go to matches. It does make it difficult. When you put yourself out there, you’re open to that, no matter what you are. You’re there to get abused if things don’t go well. I have a 27-year-old, a 25-year-old, a 23-year-old and an 18-year-old and they are all in the circle that sees it, hears it and it cannot be good. My family is delighted that I am stepping away.”

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