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'They could be in jeopardy' | GAA scholarships at risk over Killoe 48-week ban

Longford senior footballer Mickey Quinn says the 48-week ban imposed on his club Emmet Óg Killoe...



Longford senior footballer Mickey Quinn says the 48-week ban imposed on his club Emmet Óg Killoe is having serious implications for many people, including young players on the verge of scholarships.

The Longford GAA Hearings Committee set the ban last month following the non-payment of a €750 fine in February.

The fine came about after Killoe allegedly didn't field a team in an Under-16 match against St Colmcille's/St Francis last January.

Emmet Óg Killoe and Longford's former AFL star Quinn spoke on OTB AM about the ramifications of the punishment handed down.

"It's 12 months, it was September last year that this has all rumbled on from so it's dragging on massively. We're at a crossroads now where we have 48 weeks of a ban, and it's just a real kick in the teeth for a club after coming out of lockdown.

"It just goes completely against what the GAA ethos is about - about community and volunteering. We're a traditional Irish GAA club - two pubs, a church and a GAA pitch in our community and you can only imagine how important the GAA is for the likes of Killoe at this time, and especially the way things have been over the last number of months.

"At the moment, we have five referees that are members of the club - they're not allowed [to] officiate any games. We have potentially two or three guys going off to college that have GAA scholarships lined up, they look like they could be in jeopardy too.

"We have five members on the Longford inter-county senior team, that looks like that's not going to happen, we won't be able to play inter-county for the next 48 weeks.

"And then the likes of myself, I'm a teacher here in St Mel's College in Longford, and I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to coach a team whenever we're back playing football here in the school.

"[That's] on top of other members that can't officiate, other members that are involved in coaching... It just seems absurd and ridiculous that the punishment doesn't fit the crime."

'Detrimental to our club'

The 30-year-old says the whole saga has made him question previous decisions made in the past when dedicating his life to the GAA.

"We've probably been sitting on our hands the last while, let's let [the process] take place and hopefully we'll get to the end of it, but this has dragged out for so long now.

"You talk about mental health and wellbeing, and kids nowadays with the dropout rate from under-16s on is so high in the GAA.

"It's detrimental to our club to be honest, this could definitely put serious pressure under a club like ourselves.

"You give ten years of a career to your club and your county and to be honest with you, you're spending more time with your county than your club in the last number of years, but you're questioning everything you've done for the last ten years.

"I've given up this [and that], I've missed weddings, I'm even at the stage now where my wife's due at the start of October and you're talking about planning around different bits and pieces with an inter-county championship starting in October.

"You're thinking to yourself, 'What's it all about?' That's just from my personal side of things, there are definitely others in similar positions in the club that have given so much, and for it to be thrown back in their faces like that? It doesn't fit what the GAA is about."

Quinn's Longford future

Quinn says the whole debacle has made him question his future with the Longford senior team.

"That's definitely something that has gone through my mind in the last three or four weeks, that could be it for me. I'd find it very hard to... I love putting on the blue and gold of Longford, but it's something that's there now.

"I'm not sure that it's something I'd be willing to... With this it surely is something that makes you question it."

Quinn spoke to OTB AM at the start of lockdown about coaching in the GAA, and his skills videos online that went viral.

"Even where I'm coming from on the teaching or coaching side of things... be creative, try something new. There's lots of different skills that can be done, but I think it's something not encouraged enough, or not practiced enough to try different things.

"It's frowned upon... stick to the basics, the simple kickpass. It probably comes in waves where people go out and do the simple thing right and that's the focus."

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Killoe Killoe Emmet Óg Longford Longford GAA Mickey Quinn