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Rory Gallagher: Ulster GAA responds to allegations of domestic abuse against Derry manager

Ahead of the provincial final between Derry and Armagh on Sunday, Ulster GAA has said it does not condone “any form of domestic violence”.

Derry GAA manager Rory Gallagher

Ulster GAA has appealed to supporters to be “respectful to everyone” after Derry football manager Rory Gallagher responded to allegations of domestic abuse.

Ahead of the provincial final between Derry and Armagh on Sunday, Ulster GAA has said it does not condone “any form of domestic violence”. Ulster's secretary and chief executive officer Brian McAvoy made the remarks while adding that "we cannot comment or make judgement on any specific allegation or allegations."

McEvoy said that Ulster GAA was "proud to have joined with White Ribbon NI in pledging to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. "We encourage and support anyone who has been a victim of such abuse not to suffer in silence but to avail of the statutory and voluntary support services that are available in the community." Rory Gallagher said earlier today that claims made against him have previously been dealt with by authorities. The football coach’s wife posted a message on social media in which she detailed a number of alleged incidents of domestic violence.

Nicola Gallagher claimed she has spent years staying silent about her difficult relationship with her husband. She said she had tried to block it out and turned to alcohol as a result.

The couple, who have three children, are separated.

In a statement issued through a solicitor today, Mr Gallagher acknowledged his estranged wife’s social media post and the fact it made “very serious allegations against me”.

He said: “Our marriage broke down over four years ago. Those closest to our family are well aware of the reasons for the breakdown of our marriage and the continued issues we have faced since that time.”

Mr Gallagher insisted the allegations “have been investigated and dealt with by the relevant authorities”.

“My focus over the past four years has been to protect our children from the ongoing turmoil in our family.

“I have left this matter in the hands of my legal team and ask that the privacy of our family is respected at this time. I will not be making any further public comment on this matter.”

This evening Ulster GAA issued their own statement which included a broader appeal urging supporters attending Sunday’s final to be “respectful to everyone”.

"Unfortunately, isolated actions by a very small minority of supporters at both semi-finals did nothing to enhance our status within the community and I appeal to all supporters to by all means get behind their team, but to do so in a way which is respectful to everyone, irrespective of their creed, gender, tradition, political opinion, or indeed which team they support," said Mr McAvoy.

"Clones will be beaming on Sunday with a full capacity St. Tiernach’s Park hosting the showpiece game of Gaelic Football calendar in the province. The GAA prides itself on being a community and family organisation and we want Sunday’s game to be a celebration of all that is good about our Association and a great day for the GAA in Ulster."

Sunday's final, the first between Derry and Armagh since 2000, is on course to be a 28,720 sell-out with no tickets going on general sale.

Gallagher is one of the most recognisable names in Ulster GAA. He was part of the management team that led Donegal to All-Ireland in 2012.

During his playing career at inter-county level, he wore the jerseys of both Fermanagh and Cavan.

Under his stewardship, Derry won the Ulster SFC final last year and progressed to the All-Ireland semi-finals, where they lost to Galway.

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