Social Media abuse deflecting from the real issue

County board ready to stick by Gallagher

The 2017 Championship may be over for Donegal but it seems that the county is generating more media coverage than many of the counties still vying for championship glory this year.

The Brian McEniff/Gerry Gallagher debacle was the first story from the game to go viral on social media and today we have county chairman, Sean Dunnion blasting the abuse received by Rory Gallagher on Facebook and Twitter. Ironically, all of this controversy has probably shifted the limelight from Donegal’s poor performance to the reaction of fans in the county.

Conspiracy theorists will probably tell you that this is an orchestrated attempt to deflect blame from Rory Gallagher and the management team. This is unlikely, but it does shift the conversation from the inadequacies of this season’s performances to the unrealistic expectations of Donegal fans and their abuse of the manager. John Delaney used a similar tactic a few years ago when he was at the centre of a rebel singing  fiasco and the story was eventually turned on the abuse suffered by himself and his partner on social media.

The fact that Sean Dunnion has come out to back the Donegal manager has been seen by many as a public show of approval for the Fermanagh man. However, it should be noted that Rory Gallagher has been the victim of unfair personal abuse on social media but that should not distract from an objective and impartial analysis of his tenure, which up this point, has not yielded much success.

I called for Rory to step aside at the beginning of the week and I would like to think that my reasons were solely footballing reasons and did not constitute personal abuse. He has had three years in the job and despite the constant reference to transitioning, I believe that too many players, who should be in the panel are not in the panel. His assertion after the game that there is simply no other available talent out there defies what the fans have been saying for months in relation to Leo McLoone and Brick Molloy.

There is a growing consensus within the GAA fraternity that Rory Gallagher is not up to the job of bringing these lads through, but there seems to be a concerted effort among high profile commentators to give the Fermanagh man another term at the helm. Only John Haran in the Donegal Democrat has offered an alternative view to keeping the Erne man.

Many have stated that if he stays he needs to bring on a new backroom team but it seems that he may be resistant to bringing in dissenting views, which would block that idea. His vision for Donegal football needs to be given to the county board. Are we committing to three more years of a sole forward in the shape of Paddy McBrearty? What are our goals for the next three years? Is he willing to work with players who have previously left the panel. If he’s not willing to change the style of play and bring back in the players who have left, then he has to go. If he’s willing to change, maybe he could be afforded one more year but it needs to be nipped in the bud immediately or this will get out of hand and we will have a Brian McIvor type situation on our hands.

It’s fair game for Sean Dunnion to criticise those who have abused Rory Gallagher in a personal manner but that should not deflect from justified criticism of his tactics and managerial style, as that is what he is there to do. Don’t let idiots on Twitter change the conversation and allow the county board off the hook.

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