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Man At Centre Of Donegal Club Fundraiser Row Asks For Some Compassion From GAA

Man At Centre Of Donegal Club Fundraiser Row Asks For Some Compassion From GAA
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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After the debacle surrounding the Liam Miller Tribute match last year, many had hoped the GAA had learned their lesson when it came to hosting charity events on their grounds. However, we have learned this week this has not been the case.

Donegal club Naomh Colmcille have been punished by the county board for hosting a charity soccer match on their pitch, with the event held in aid of a club member who is suffering with motor neurone disease. Local man Paul Dillon was diagnosed with the disease last year, with the funds raised going to Paul and his family to help make their home life more comfortable.


However, the club has been punished for their fundraising efforts. They were hit with a €500 fine, as well as an eight-week suspension from all matches at adult level. While the decision is currently in appeal, it has made national headlines the past couple of days.

Paul Dillon, the long-serving Naomh Colmcille member who this fundraiser was in aid of, was speaking on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning. He pleaded for the decision makers to show some common sense in the matter and not punish those who had put so much effort into helping him and his family:

My message to the GAA today is that I think it's a total disgrace. I think that this ban should just be overturned for the sake of the players and the whole community. The hard work that they put into this fundraising, it's just a total shock to us...

With my motor neurone disease, I'm not too bad at the minute. I'm in good form, just trying to stay positive. It just gave me and my family a whole lift, it was just overwhelming how much effort was put into it through the community. There was a 5K done for the fundraiser and 1,300 people turned up to it, which was amazing...

What makes this all the more head-scratching was the fact that this pitch was originally used for soccer, only to be leased by the GAA in the past few years.


A bunch of lads that I had run about with all my life had come together and just raised some money so the home could be made wheelchair accessible. The pitch was actually the local soccer pitch and the GAA have it leased. It is the parish grounds as well, I just hope that it gets sorted sooner rather than later...

I would just like a bit of common sense to prevail. I know rules are rules in the GAA, but surely in situations like this they can slide the rules some way. When we first heard it, my wife said to 'I feel guilty', which she shouldn't...

So much community effort in to help me, my wife and our three girls. Whoever reported this, I would just like them to come and see how I get through everyday life now, maybe they would change their mind.

Well said. Hopefully common sense does indeed prevail.

SEE ALSO: How Do Elite Inter-County Players Slip Through The Net At Minor Level?



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