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Naomh Colmcille GAA club facing ban for charity event

Man lifting GAA ball Image copyright ©INPHO/James Crombie

A Donegal GAA club is appealing a proposed eight-week ban from all adult competitions after it allowed an "unauthorised" charity football event to be held on one of its pitches.

Naomh Colmcille, in Newtowncunningham, hosted the event to raise money for a man with motor neurone disease.

The GAA guide states all tournament games must be "sanctioned by the appropriate controlling authority".

Clubs can face a €500 ban and eight-week suspension otherwise.

The club has challenged the ban and lodged an appeal with the Donegal County Board.

A spokesman from Naomh Colmcille said the club had no comment pending the outcome of the appeal.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former Celtic and Man United player Liam Miller died of cancer in 2018 aged 36

The Donegal County Board confirmed the findings of an investigation had "recommended a suspension of eight weeks" for Naomh Colmcille for holding an "unauthorised tournament".

A statement said the club was not currently suspended and they would be "afforded due process" to appeal the proposed ban.

"Naomh Colmcille have the right to prove these findings incorrect or mis-applied," it added.

'Exceptional circumstances'

The GAA was criticised last year when they initially refused an application to host a testimonial match for former Republic of Ireland player Liam Miller at Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium in Cork.

The decision was reversed following discussions between the GAA and match organisers.

In February, the GAA National Congress voted to give the central council the power to authorise the use of GAA property for use for "activities other than those controlled by the association" but only in "exceptional circumstances".

The rule change only applies to county grounds and not club facilities.

The GAA previously restricted all property controlled by the association to only be used "for the purpose of or in connection with the playing of the games" with the exception of Croke Park.

In 2007, the ban on so-called foreign sports being played in Croke Park - the home of Gaelic games - was changed to allow soccer and rugby to be played there.

A GAA spokesman confirmed that the matter was being dealt with by the Donegal County Board and the organisation had no comment while the case was ongoing.

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