THE SPORTING DIARY: Has the time come to forget about the Dubs?

THE SPORTING DIARY: Has the time come to forget about the Dubs?

Take Dublin out of Croke Park for an All-Ireland semi-final? Are we serious?
I was taken aback a little when listening in to the Donegal GAA Convention on Monday night and hearing one of the most respected administrators in the county, former chairman, John McConnell, calling for Dublin to be taken out of Croker.
This argument has been going on for some time now. There was merit to it when they were talking about the Super 8s, and possibly for some of the Leinster championship matches, but for an All-Ireland semi-final?
Surely all other teams that reach the last four want to play in Croke Park. I know, I know. It is just down the road for Dublin and they can sleep in their own beds the night before. But imagine the clamour there would be for tickets next June if Donegal and Dublin were due to meet in an All-Ireland semi-final and it fixed for Cavan or Navan or wherever. When supporters would not be able to go and see the game, because the venues would only accommodate 25,000, there would be outrage as to why the game was not played in Croke Park.
The only real argument about the Dubs remains the funding issue. And that is one that should be pursued. Money is important in preparing teams to make it to the top. Just look at Limerick hurlers. Did you ever see a more physically prepared team take to Croke Park? And they can hurl too (even if they can also be cynical in stopping the opposition - at least two black card offences on Sunday last).
But apart from that, they were as dominant a team as we have ever witnessed in an All-Ireland final and the skill and scoring power of half-forward Tom Morrissey and man of the match Gearoid Hegarty was impressive.
Thankfully, despite their dominance, there is no mention of splitting them just yet. They have just set a new bar for others to follow.
Just like the Dubs!

Money trouble
The more important issues raised at the Donegal GAA Convention centred on clubs not paying levies and teams being fielded with wrong numbers as listed in match programmes.
On the club levy front, there could be something of a dilemma for the Donegal treasurer and Executive in the weeks and months ahead. How can they get clubs to pay their arrears? And how will the 12 clubs who have paid in full feel if nothing is done to the defaulters?
It looks like many clubs are in serious financial trouble. I know some may have the money but feel they have to withhold the fees because of the lack of activity during the year.
Just like at intercounty level, money makes the wheels go round. It is not an easy task being a treasurer at club or county level, but when you add the nine who are talking to the Co treasurer about a payment plan, then you have 28 clubs (out of 40) involved.
That amounts to a crisis.
On the other issue, which is close to my heart, clubs fielding during the year with teams that do not adhere to the match programme, there has to be a clear and harsh sanction laid down.
The Co PRO, John McEniff, said that one game in particular stood out in this regard (and he said he did not want to name the team). Well, John, I will do it for you. It was Aodh Ruadh in the Donegal Intermediate final, with only two players wearing the correct numbers as per programme. As a paid-up member of the club, I have to say it was not something that would be associated with them. And I hope it was just a one-off.
But in relation to sanctions, it has to be spelt out. There is absolutely no excuse. Any club not following the programmes should be fined heavily, and that amount must be made known before a ball is kicked or a sliotar hurled next year.

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