Jim McGuinness John McVitty/INPHO
Rule Book

Jim McGuinness gets eight-week suspension overturned

Donegal successfully argue that McGuinness was not ‘person in charge’ of naming and fielding the team against Armagh.


DONEGAL MANAGER JIM McGuinness will not now miss a good chunk of the Allianz Leagues, after his hearing with the Ulster Council overturned the eight-week proposed sentence for playing an underage player.

McGuinness handed his Naomh Conaill clubmate, Finbarr Roarty, a senior intercounty debut when he played against Armagh in the Dr McKenna Cup.

On the night, Roarty was 17, turning 18 the following day. But because he had not turned 18 the year prior, was deemed to be underage.

However, the hearing overturned the penalty. A Donegal GAA press statement read; ‘Following a request by Jim McGuinness to the Ulster Hearings committee, the County secretary has been informed that the alleged infraction was not proven, and that no further disciplinary Action is to be Taken.’

The reason given – centres on the logic around who was responsible for Roarty playing.

Sufficient doubt was thrown over the burden of responsibility belonging to McGuinness, who is the manager and takes the training sessions, or Declan Martin, who is the Donegal secretary, over who picked the team.

After the game against Armagh, McGuinness told reporters; “I thought the young lads all did very well, Finbarr in particular.

“For 17, it’s hard to believe. He hasn’t even trained with his club at senior level yet he’s pulling on the jersey to make his debut at county level.”

The latest development des not affect the outcome of the game, as Armagh did not appeal the result. Donegal did not appeal the two-week suspension handed to Roarty.

As things stand, the rule is now defunct with this case setting a new precedent. The GAA’s rules advisory committee will  presumably seek to rectify it as soon as possible, to provide a clearer emphasis as to who exactly is ‘in charge’ of a team.

Various members of the hearings committee were contacted by The 42 but declined to comment. It is believed that the Ulster Council will be addressing the logic behind the hearing at some point today (Friday).  

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