BY CHRIS MCNULTY
ST Michael’s delegate Liam McElhinney has warned of the dangers of playing club championship games at venues that aren’t ‘properly enclosed’.
McElhinney was speaking at Sunday’s annual County Convention at the Abbey Hotel, Donegal town in reference to the SFC game between St Michael’s and Glenswilly at Pairc Naomh Columba, Glenswilly in October.
The game between the two fierce rivals drew a bumper crowd to the Foxhall ground and McElhinney believes that such games be taken to county grounds.
“Years ago, the quarter-finals and semi-finals were taken to pitches that were enclosed, but a big problem now with the group system is that there are big games that are played now at venues that aren’t properly enclosed,” McElhinney said.
“We are in the same boat at St Michael’s. It is impossible for the CCC or the referee to man these games.”
Glenswilly won a low-scoring game 1-4 to 1-2, a result that was enough to see both sides squeeze into the quarter-finals. It was a cagey evening on which the tensions ran high.
McElhinney told Convention: “Between subs and officials, there must have been at least 60 people on the sideline.
“Sean McLaughlin was refereeing and doing his best. Seamus McGonagle was on the sideline doing his best, but if he had his comrades from Letterkenny in the riot squad he’d have struggled to keep control.
“This is not a slur on Glenswilly – we are exactly the same in St Michael’s. At times there were ten or twelve on the field. We are getting big games now at these venues, which aren’t enclosed.
“That was one of the best supported games bar the county final. From a health and safety point of view, it isn’t safe.”