Personal abuse of Rory Gallagher is simply wrong

As the fallout from Saturday’s defeat to Galway continues, an element of farce has engulfed Donegal GAA, the likes of which has not been seen since the Charlie Mulgrew/John Joe Doherty affair. Yesterday, we had Brian McEniff slating the Donegal support for abusing Rory Gallagher’s father, but that accusation was rescinded following a tweet from Gerry Gallagher, who said that he did not receive any abuse from Donegal fans.

The innuendo and ambiguity surrounding that news story has now been exacerbated by the news that all-Ireland winning captain, Anthony Molloy has slammed the Donegal supporters who have taken to social media to hurl personal abuse at Rory Gallagher.

This blog was very quick to post an article urging the Fermanagh man to step aside, but the reasons for that were stated and they were stated in footballing terms and there was no personal element to the article.

Rory Gallagher has given a lot to Donegal GAA. He was an integral member of one of the greatest period’s of Donegal’s history, which saw the county win its second all-Ireland in 2012. No one can deny that he has worked tirelessly for the Donegal cause at U-21 and senior level over the past number of seasons.

As a paying customer on Saturday, the anger among the Donegal support was palpable. The anger was about the tactics, the lack of intensity and at times, about the players who were not in the panel. At no point was there personal attacks heard from the stand. As a manager, Rory Gallagher has to be prepared for hard questions, when his team folds in such a dramatic fashion, but that does not mean that he should face personal criticism for his role as Donegal manager.

Rory Gallagher is a family man, he is a businessman and on Saturday evening, one could not help but feel sympathy as he addressed the media in a disconsolate manner. The hours of training and preparation that was put in by this group of players was forgotten on Saturday evening as the scoreboard highlighted Donegal’s fall from the top table of the GAA. It is hard to believe that it’s just three seasons since we pummelled Dublin in one of the greatest days that Donegal fans have ever seen.

Criticising Rory Gallagher’s management style, tactics and personnel selection is fair game for supporters but at no point should a man working in an amateur organisation be subjected to personal abuse simply because we lost a match.

My opinion on his tenure has not changed but one can not help but feel anger when they read the reports of the personal vitriol being heaped on the man via social media, most likely from keyboard warriors, who do not attend games. There has to be a distinction between professional criticism and personal criticism. Maxi Curran, his assistant has also taken a lot of flak, especially for his constant intrusions onto the field of play, but he too, should be exempt from personal criticism. The Downings man has also given a lot to the Donegal squad over the past decade and this should not be forgotten amid the media circus that is currently in town.

The County Board are going to have to deal with the issue immediately, instead of letting this fester. We do not want to see a situation like the one Brian McIvor faced at the end of his tenure, as he was forced out of his job at the behest of club delegates. This type of action does no one any good, least of all, Donegal GAA. But for now, people should keep any criticisms of Rory Gallagher to football issues only and cease the type of personal abuse that has angered real fans within the county.

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