THE controversial amalgamation of the Dungloe and Na Rossa clubs for the purpose of minor football in 2014 will go ahead after it was given the green light at last night’s meeting of the Donegal county committee in Ballybofey.
It was the second month in a row that the proposal was before the delegates after Sean Dunnion’s casting vote passed it at the January meeting following a 25-25 stalemate in a vote.
Last night, four clubs from the southern region – Ardara, Aodh Ruadh, Four Masters and Naomh Conaill – tabled a motion asking for that decision to be rescinded, but this was defeated by 50 votes to 24. With a valid poll of 95, there were 21 abstentions.
Two other amalgamations were given unanimous approval of the committee with Naomh Brid and Pettigo set to form Derg Gaels in the south at minor level and in the northern section Fanad Gaels and Downings have joined hands to become Mulroy Gaels.
The Dungloe-Na Rossa amalgamation was met with loud disapproval at the January meeting of the Southern Regional Board following the successful proposal by the clubs at the county committee. However, the opposition fell well short of the required two thirds when it was put to the vote last night at the Villa Rose Hotel.
Long-serving Na Rossa Secretary Pat Boyle hit out at the opponents of an amalgamation that sees the clubs in the parish of Templecrone and Lettermacaward join forces at minor level.
“I find this a most bizarre situation. This has already came up and been passed. In my thirty years coming to county committee I have never come across where something is passed by county committee and the same thing comes up at the next meeting,” Mr Boyle said.
“Given where the opposition is coming from I’m not surprised. The last time Dungloe won a minor championship was in 1968. Back then Ardara and Glenties decided that they did not want Dungloe to win any more minor championships and the decided to amalgamate the following year, in 1969.
“They amalgamated again in 1970, ‘71 and ‘72 to stop Dungloe and in the were in minor finals in 1969, ‘70, ‘71 and ‘72. Aodh Ruadh formed one of the greatest amalgamations ever in the 1960s when they and Bundoran joined forces to form the great St Joseph’s team.
“Four Masters’ area is made up of two parishes – Killymard and Clar – but Dungloe and Na Rossa are in the same parish and are in a better position to amalgamate.”
Eamon Gorrell of Four Masters proposed that the decision taken in January be rescinded, claiming there ‘wasn’t a full mandate the last night’.
“We feel that, looking at the registrations of Na Rossa, they have the numbers to play a minor team,” he said.
Mary Kelly from Ardara seconded his call, saying: “It is very evident from the Na Rossa registrations that the numbers are there to field a minor team. This is very unfair on clubs with small numbers.”
Na Rossa have outlined in the last month that they have only ten players – John McDyre, Christian Bonner, Odhrán Molloy, Sean McMonagle, Adam McHugh, Conor McCahill, Conor Bonner, Gerard Breslin, Michael Boyle and Ryan McGonagle – available for minor football in 2014, but the Ardara and Four Masters delegates suggested that the club could field a minor team.
“It is not a legitimate case and, going on the registrations, I feel that they have adequate numbers,” Mary Kelly said.
Packie McDyre, the Na Rossa PRO hit back amid a tetchy tête-à-tête between the delegates.
“How does she know? The Sunday after the last Southern Board meeting, we had a minor team meeting – eight showed up and we had two apologies,” he said.
Ciaran Doherty of the Setanta Hurling Club spoke in favour of the amalgamation. “A case has been made that these young people wouldn’t be able to play Gaelic Games – that’s what the Chairman said when he made his casting vote last month,” he said.
Pat Boyle said the saga was ‘blatant discrimination against these two clubs’.
“Na Rossa are in the fourth division of Donegal football and we were second-bottom in the last two years,” he added.
“We are not able to field a reserve team, and haven’t been for the last two years, and we’re barely able to field a senior team. We have ten minors and we need to get them playing football. We could be on the brink of extinction.
“We just don’t have the numbers. If we had a minor team we would enter it as we have done every year up until now.”
Mary Kelly called for a secret ballot, but county committee ruled, following a vote, that a show of hands be taken. 24 voted to rescind the decision and 50 voted to keep the amalgamation, meaning the Dungloe-Na Rossa combination will play in the 2014 Minor League and Minor Championship, the draws for which can now be made having been postponed.
Also in the south of the county, the Derg Gaels amalgamation of Naomh Brid and Pettigo, which was in effect during 2012 and 2013 was given unanimous approval to continue, as was the Downings-Fanad Gaels fusion into Mulroy Gaels.