Donegal's choice of location for training camp defended

September 18, 2014

The Donegal team take to the field against Dublin. INPHO

The senator who criticised Donegal for holding a training camp north of the border has been accused of being 'partitionist'.

Bundoran-based former Sinn Fein Town Councillor Michael McMahon, who hails from nearby Belleek, says Labour Senator John Ryan was wrong to criticise Jim McGuinness for taking his team to the Lough Erne Hotel for a five-day training camp last week. Ryan claimed the Ulster champions would have paid a fraction of the €20,000 they are believed to have spent at the exclusive Fermanagh venue if they stayed at a similar location in Leitrim or Roscommon.

But speaking to the Fermanagh Herald, McMahon defended Donegal's decision to spend their money in the North: "It makes no difference where Jim McGuinness and his men train when it is on the island of Ireland.

"But even if he goes abroad, as he did to the Algarve in the past, we would not be mean spirited and object to a man and a squad who brought us such great success and real joy over the past four years or so.

"I don't accept that it is necessarily a lot dearer to go to Fermanagh, which is my native county and a lovely place to visit on any occasion. This team has brought great joy to the entire north-west and it deserves only the best, and remember the Lough Erne hosted the G8 Summit last year so it is clear that Donegal will be getting the very best that is available.

"And Mr Kelly should remember that funds for these matters have been sourced by Jim McGuinness from private sources so it is not unduly affecting the county board."

He added: "Mr Kelly is being very unfair on Fermanagh and the training camp is only 20 miles from the Donegal border. Of course we would all love to have Donegal training in our own backyard or even in Bundoran but that is missing the entire point.

"The whole point in the exercise is to get Donegal away from prying eyes and give them the best possible chance to prepare for Kerry."

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