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Minogue says GAA should “hang heads” on Burns decision

Dolores Minogue
Dolores Minogue photographed at the Fair Green in Ardee in 2016. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

Dolores Minogue has added her name to the chorus of those denouncing the GAA’s decision to ban Ryan Burns for 12 weeks – with the Ardee based councillor saying that the decision sends the wrong message out to children who should be encouraged to participate in the game.

The 21-year-old has no summer football to look forward after the GAA upheld their decision to hand down a 12 week ban to the Hunterstown Rovers forward in light of his red card against Longford as Louth crashed out of the All-Ireland qualifiers last month.

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Croke Park’s Central Competitions Control Committee heard Burns appeal against the lengthy suspension last Monday but that decision was upheld – meaning Burns will not return to action until mid-September.

In the meantime, he will miss the Intermediate Championship group stage and quarter finals too – and possibly the last four round, should Rovers get there. He will also miss the remainder of a stellar league campaign – in which Rovers currently sit just one point off the summit in Division 2 – and the Paddy Sheelan Cup final. Hunterstown begin their 2017 Championship campaign against St Fechins on Friday.

The 12-week suspension that has been meted out prevents Burns from playing club football, despite the incident in question occurring on Louth duty as the Wee County lost out to Longford at the Gaelic Grounds two weeks ago.

“As a local person and member of Louth County Council who like many enjoy local and county football, I wish to express my huge disappointment and disgust at the GAA and their recent punishment towards a fine young player Ryan Burns,” she told ThisIsArdee.ie.

“I feel this punishment does not fit the crime, it’s way too harsh and looks like the GAA are trying to save face in light of a recent incident with a Dublin player manhandling a linesman. They are two very different incidents with the same punishment.

Ryan Burns in action against Meath in the Leinster Quarter-Final.

“Ryan being denied the opportunity to play for Hunterstown comes at a time when rural clubs are struggling to secure players and keep a team going. In some parishes, teams have to amalgamate to survive and they do this because the GAA is the heart and soul of any community,” she continued.

“Yet here we are with a county player, playing for a small rural club in a small community – and he’s denied the chance to play. What message is the GAA sending out to young dedicated players with this kind of punishment?”

The councillor feels that Burns, who recently held his own Easter Camp at Hunterstown and has previously coached at GAA Cul Camps around the county, is being made a case of – instead of being held up as a shining example to young boys and girls.

“Here in Louth, we are very proud of our players and in Ardee Ryan is one of our own. He’s a young sportsman who represents Louth and Hunterstown with distinction, both on the field of play and in the many activities he’s involved in, such as running summer camps for stars of the future.”

As well as not being able to play in any code at any level, Burns is not permitted to train with the team during the summer. Minogue says it is grossly unfair on him and youngsters who are denied the chance to see the prolific forward up close in club colours.

“So many young people in the wider community have been left very disappointed,” she stated. The GAA is such a huge organisation, surely it’s time for checks and balances. I cannot believe the punishment that Ryan received. The GAA should hang their heads in shame coming to such a decision.”

The Fine Gael councillors comments are echoed by many supporters, and local and national figures in the GAA who have heavily criticised the ban.

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