Belfast Telegraph

Anger after GAA club faces ban for hosting charity game

Paul Dillon, baby daughter Daisy, wife Emma, and daughter Lilly and Heidi at the latter’s communion
Paul Dillon, baby daughter Daisy, wife Emma, and daughter Lilly and Heidi at the latter’s communion

By Allison Bray

A former GAA player and coach who is battling Motor Neurone Disease has hit out at the controversy over the possible eight-week suspension of his local club for 'hosting' a fundraising match.

Paul Dillon (45), from Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, said he was taken aback that his local GAA club, Naomh Colmcille, could face possible sanctions for allowing a charity football match to raise funds to help him manage his illness go ahead.

"I think it's a disgrace. I'm behind the club and it isn't their fault," the father-of-three said.

The local county board issued a statement yesterday saying that the club was investigated for allegedly hosting an unauthorised match, which is against GAA rules. But the club has not been suspended pending the outcome of an appeal.

"In clarification, the club is not currently suspended but the findings of an investigation has recommended suspension for eight weeks - this is the minimum period of suspension for holding an unauthorised tournament," the board's statement read.

Some players from the club where Mr Dillon was a popular under-age coach took part in a seven-a-side match held on a former soccer pitch that the club now uses as a training pitch.

The one-off event was to help raise funds to refit Mr Dillon's home to make it accessible by wheelchair, which he now requires for mobility.

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