Tyrone reignite feud over minor game with Donegal

County board issue statement claiming two players exonerated by Ulster Council

Donegal minor manager Declan Bonner believed matter had to be addressed. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

The long-running controversy about what was said to a


minor footballer during

May’s championship match against Tyrone was further fuelled on Thursday when Tyrone’s county board issued a statement claiming that two of their minors had been exonerated in relation to allegations of verbal provocation.


"Specific allegations were made against two of our minor players following the minor championship game against Donegal in Ballybofey on 17th May this year. The allegations have been fully investigated by the Ulster Council. We welcome the fact that these players have been exonerated."

In the aftermath of the match it was alleged that the Donegal player had been taunted about the 2014 death of his father. The matter was raised by Donegal manager Declan Bonner in his weekly newspaper column.

Public statement

In the event an Ulster Council investigation, requested by Tyrone, reached its conclusions and its findings were reviewed and accepted by both counties on 23rd September but it was decided to keep the outcome confidential.

Earlier this month the Tyrone website teamtalkmag.com ran an item claiming that Tyrone players had been exonerated. This was immediately denied in a public statement by the Donegal County Board and later the provincial council released the following statement: "The Committee agreed with both county committees that the findings will remain confidential. We would also highlight that recent media reports regarding the investigation do not accurately reflect the findings of the committee. All parties were satisfied that this matter was resolved and there will be no further comment from Ulster GAA. "

There was unhappiness in Donegal particularly at the website claim but also the Ulster Council statement, which Bonner felt could have been stronger.

“My stance on it is that I was disappointed that teamtalkmag.com came out with that statement on Tuesday night,” said the Donegal minor manager, “because as far as we were concerned the Ulster Council had produced its findings and for them to come out with a lot of inaccuracies just wasn’t on.

“At no stage were those Tyrone players exonerated completely. That wasn’t true. That’s disappointing. We wanted to move on to be quite honest, we didn’t want any young players being handed hefty suspensions but we had to highlight it because that has no place on any football field. There was no way we were letting it go.”

That was three weeks ago and there the matter rested until Thursday’s statement from Tyrone.

It is understood that as of Thursday evening, Donegal had no plans to re-engage and perpetuate the ongoing feud. When contacted by The Irish Times the Ulster Council said that there had been no change in their stance of September 23rd that the matter shouldn't be made public.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times