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Investigation into transfer of Lifford player to Tyrone club; may have played ‘illegally’

O'Neills ball

BY CHRIS MCNULTY 

AN investigation is underway to explore how a player from the Naomh Padraig GAA club in Lifford was allowed transfer to a club in Tyrone without the permission of either the Lifford club or the Donegal County Board.
The matter was raised on Monday night at the August meeting of the Donegal County Committee in the Villa Rose Hotel, Ballybofey.
It was claimed by the Naomh Padraig delegate that the player – who was not named – made his debut for ‘a senior club in Tyrone’ last weekend, but it has been claimed that he may have played ‘illegally’.
The transfer was initially requested on April 19, but the Naomh Padraig club responded three days later, confirming that they were turning it down. Donegal secretary Aodh Mairtín Ó Fearraigh confirmed on Monday night that he didn’t sign the transfer request on foot of Naomh Padraig’s objection.
“It was sent by me to the Ulster CCC with an objection,” Mr Ó Fearraigh said.
“If it isn’t signed by myself and the club secretary the transfer shouldn’t have been processed. If he did play, then he may well have played illegally.
“We will be following it up with the Ulster Council.”
Stephen Donnelly, who is the person in charge of transfer matters at Ulster Council level, is currently on annual leave, but Donegal’s Ulster Council delegate Pat Connaghan explained why the transfer was sanctioned.
He said: “There is a policy where if a club doesn’t sign it that it goes through if it’s in order. There was no mention of an objection when it came into Ulster. The player had documentation, official government documentation showing that he was a resident in Tyrone. His went through but the other fella’s didn’t because he had no documentation.”
The player’s brother has also submitted a transfer request, but this has not yet been granted. The Naomh Padraig club have voiced their anger on the matter.
“We neither sanctioned nor agreed to the transfer,” their delegate told Monday’s meeting.
“He made his debut for the club at the weekend and his brother is also looking to go to them. Our club is totally opposed to this because we have not signed off it and the county secretary hasn’t either.
“This has made a mockery of the transfer system when we can lose a good, talented player like this to a club in Tyrone
“It is baffling how this can happen. This player was with us since he was seven years of age and now we have to hand him over to a club in Tyrone.”
The transfer was sanctioned on July 8, but Naomh Padraig members only became aware of the development last week.
The county committee delegate said: “The rumour got up that he had played for them and we said no way because it hadn’t gone through the club or the county committee. We have since found out that the transfer went through on July 8.
“This could be a serious issue for clubs in the border area, particularly junior clubs. It could open the floodgates.”

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