Naomh Conaill players and supporters celebrate after last year's final PICTURE: THOMAS GALLAGHER
Disappointed Naomh Conaill have sent an email to Croke Park asking the GAA to change its mind and allow this Sunday’s county final to go ahead.
Like their opponents Kilcar, the Glenties club were primed to go for the big showdown in Ballybofey - after two postponements of the game already.
The GAA decision to ban all club games has already drawn an angry response from Kilcar manager John McNulty after it was learned that the country was not going into total lockdown and staying at Level 3 which was already in force in Donegal and Dublin.
Confirming the email, Naomh Conaill chairman David Kelch said: “We have sent an email to Croke Park looking for the game to be played as planned this weekend.
“The email is going through the county board, so we are awaiting a reply.
Like many others Kelch was surprised at the GAA’s top brass decision to ban all club activity before any government announcement.
“ We have been at Level 3 for the last number of weeks.
“We played our semi-final under Level 3 restrictions and that is where we are coming from and hopefully, we can get the game played.
“I accept that Croke Park may not change their mind given their concerns, but there is no harm in trying as it is desperately disappointing for the team, the town and the whole community.”
Kelch accepted that Croke Park “probably should have” waited for the government announcement on Monday night, but “it was their call at the end of the day, and they are the ones that govern us.”
“I can see their concerns about the health situation especially in Donegal and it is a very difficult situation for everyone.”
But the club ban has been a source of deep disappointment in the football mad town of Glenties and for Martin Regan
“It is just unbelievable, and you don’t know where you are at all with it.
“You are still allowed to train, thinking that when Donegal go out you will be allowed to play the final.
“But that could be five or six weeks down the road and at the longest it could be ten weeks down the road.”
So, is that a chink of light?
“That’s not really a chink of light for anybody as you are held off.
“And you are actually left in limbo and you don’t know when the game would be played.
“And it is only natural that you would want your county of Donegal to go as far as they can.
“If they do, they are all the way to the weekend before Christmas.
“You wouldn’t want anyone to be playing in that weather.”
So how can players stay focused in these times of anxiety and uncertainty?
“That is a matter for the team management, but it must be hard for any player to stay focused in these circumstances.
“How can they look forward to a game that far away and you need to know when your season starts and finishes.
“All this stop, and start is no good for anybody.
When asked about the GAA’s concerns about recent post- match celebrations all over the country, he said: “Yes, we are aware of that, but we had already planned if the game had gone ahead that there would be no homecoming in any circumstances, win or lose.
“We had no intention of doing that and we took those measures to get the game played because football means so much to this area, that we should be allowed to play the game.
“But if that is the way the GAA want it, we are left in this position and there are many others in the same position.”
He added: “It would be ideal for everyone, if the game went ahead this weekend but it is in the hands of the powers that be, and I can’t speculate on what they might or might not do.”
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