Junior club Letterkenny Gaels is trying to split parishes in the Cathedral Town, a move which could force families steeped in the history of rival senior club St Eunan’s to send their children to the Gaels.
The bitter dispute goes back more than a decade since the Gaels were founded.
A bye-law passed by the county board last November giving the Gaels their way has, so far, not been implemented.
But this week the Gaels upped the ante against St Eunan’s when club representative Jim McGlynn called for the law to be brought in immediately.
Mediation between the two clubs has failed, mainly because St Eunan’s is angry that the Gaels is in breach of an agreement reached when the junior club was founded when both sides agreed to give players the choice of which club to join in Letterkenny without referral to boundaries.
Today a source in St Eunan’s warned the club would take the row all the way to the courts.
“This is a non-runner,” said a source.
“Under this plan St Eunan’s would draw players from the parish of Conwall and Leck whilst the Gaels would have sole access to players in the parish of Aughaninshin.
“We know so many people from the latter parish who are true St Eunan’s people for generations.
“The most galling thing about all of this though is that we agreed with the Gaels more than a decade ago that we would never enforce parish boundaries and people would have freedom of choice to choose which club to play for.
“We believe this move is agains the spirit of that agreement and we are confident that if this does go to GAA HQ, we will win out.”
Many people believe the GAA’s ancient parish boundaries rule is out-dated.
Recently a club went to court to prevent a boy from playing for his local club, because he was a few hundreds yards inside a rival parish.
We understand St Eunan’s has taken legal advice and held a number of emergency meetings this week.
The row is set to split the town. One parent told us today: “My family has been with St Eunan’s for decades, but because of where I now live in the town, this would mean my boys would have to play for Letterkenny Gaels. I’ll never allow that.”
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