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Donegal chief blasts 'disgusting' social media abuse aimed at ex-manager

By John Campbell

With Mick McGrath having succeeded Sean Dunnion as Donegal chairman, the focus will now switch to tomorrow night's Tyrone county board convention at which Damian Harvey will challenge sitting incumbent Roisin Jordan for the top office.

Dunnion, who has led decisively from the front for the past five years, fired a parting shot at the keyboard warriors who heaped online abuse on then county team boss Rory Gallagher following Donegal's heavy defeat to Galway in the All-Ireland qualifiers during the summer.

Gallagher subsequently stepped down as Donegal manager but refuted suggestions that he did so because of the social media abuse he received. He has since taken charge of his native Fermanagh.

"The level of abuse at players and the former team manager Rory Gallagher and his family on digital and social media was absolutely disgusting," Dunnion said in his final address at the county convention.

"That shouldn't be tolerated in a modern society. It was absolutely appalling."

The Tyrone convention, meanwhile, could see a shake-up at the top should Harvey, who would appear to have substantial support within the county, depose Jordan.

Harvey is a former Tyrone PRO and enjoys a huge profile within the county where he is held in high esteem.

While the convention will certainly hold the spotlight, the fundraising at grassroots level goes on within the Red Hand County.

In this respect, the Beragh Red Knights club is particularly active - and with good reason.

The club's pitches have been prone to flooding in the past and now a flood wall is to be erected to minimise this threat.

Over the course of recent years, the club has been hit harder than most others when torrential rain fell for any sort of prolonged period.

Ger Tracey may be a native of Garrison but he is the driving force behind a venture that is already eliciting strong support from the wider GAA community in Tyrone.

Along with other club officials and helpers, Tracey is hoping that the planned improvements to the club's playing pitches will ensure that they survive the worst of inclement weather in the future.

Meanwhile, Donegal side Naomh Colmcille booked their place in the All-Ireland Junior Club Football Championship semi-final against Cork side Knocknagree by edging out Edinburgh outfit Dundedin Connolly's on Saturday by 1-10 to 2-6.

A goal at a crucial stage from Ryan McErlean as well as some superb points from William Lynch and Willie Gillespie in particular helped to underpin the narrow but deserved Naomh Colmcille victory.

But while Naomh Colmcille march on, the lobby within the GAA to have all frontline competitive fixtures completed by the end of November annually has been given renewed impetus following the wholesale cancellation of matches across the country at the weekend because of the prevailing Arctic weather conditions.

Three games in the Ulster Club minor football competition currently being hosted by west Belfast club St Paul's - Errigal Ciaran v Ballinascreen, Ramor United v Enniskillen Gaels and Clann Eireann v St Eunan's - were among the casualties, much to the disappointment of fans.

The organisers, however, hope to re-fix those matches tonight on dates that will still facilitate the playing of the final on New Year's Day.

St Paul's spokesman Billy McLarnon said: "This is our traditional final date and we don't want to deviate from it if at all possible.

"Obviously it's disappointing that the games were ruled out over the weekend but the weather beat us.".

"We have managed to get our opening games played but obviously it was a blow not being able to progress the tournament over the course of Saturday and Sunday.

"The indications are that this year's competition will nonetheless reach a very high standard given the quality of all the teams involved and our hope is that there will be no more hitches so we are keeping our fingers crossed and pressing on."

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