Spectator and other issues a major headache for GAA venues and Co Board


Spectator and other issues a major headache for GAA venues and Co Board

News that 200 spectators will be allowed into sporting venues that can normally host more than 5,000 has been given a cautious welcome this week.
However, there has been some fall-out from the hosting of games in Donegal over the last few weeks and there was a stand-off in MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey on Sunday between members of the Naomh Conaill senior panel and some Donegal officials.
It was not the only stand-off which occurred over the past number of weeks with supporters wishing to watch their favourite team and some novel methods have been invoked to ensure a viewing of some kind or other.
At the end of Sunday's second semi-final between Naomh Conaill and St Eunan's, veteran Naomh Conaill player, Brendan McDyer referred to the stand-off which had taken place prior to the game and wondered why others, including some from Kilcar, were watching the game from the stand.
"Hopefully, we will have a few Naomh Conaill men up in the stand (for the final). I saw a couple of Kilcar men up in the stand there today and it was surprising to see that. There are a few questions to be asked there when a lot of our players couldn't get into the ground; they were being held back,"McDyer claimed.
He added that it was “strange times” but felt “it needs to be neutral for everybody.
He continued: “It's not fair when a lot of our players are training away all year and they're told they can't come in the turnstile. I would say there was a good 150 to 200 people in here today; I'd like to know where all them are from.”
Responding to McDyer's comments Donegal GAA assistant secretary, Ed Byrne, who was a member of the committee controlling the fixtures, said: "We had two entrances to MacCumhaill Park on Sunday and we did our best to adhere and follow the guidelines set down by Croke Park.
“We had a list compiled of people who were allowed to enter the grounds but others (and he was specific about that) chose not to follow the rules."
It is believed that the 'others' he refers to includes clubs and club officials as well as teams and he added that it was not just an issue at MacCumhaill Park.
Mr Byrne said that all of the Naomh Conaill panel had been admitted to the venue.
"A special meeting of the CCC is being scheduled this week to deal with the fall-out from the running of the games over the past few weeks and all those issues will be on the agenda," said Mr Byrne.
Now with the announcement that 200 will be allowed to watch the final from inside the grounds, will that make it any easier for clubs and county officials? That is unlikely.
The senior finalists, Kilcar and Naomh Conaill, are the two best supported teams in the county and 100 tickets per club will hardly satisfy the demand. And it will create a major headache for the clubs as to how they distribute those tickets.
While no decision has been finalised yet it looks as if the Michael Murphy Sports Intermediate final will be held on Saturday, 26th with the senior final on Sunday, 27th.

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