Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

“This is [partitionist] provocation in the extreme…”

Wed 21 March 2012, 4:05pm

The sensitive souls at the Armagh GAA County Board have, apparently, issued a statement of complaint in the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat to Laois – when their captain was sent-off for allegedly kicking a Laois player during the half-time interval.  The RTÉ report notes

A statement from the Armagh County Board has claimed that its players were subjected to “racist and personal abuse” during the Allianz NFL game with Laois on Sunday last.

The board are angry that the “partitionist provocation” as they define it, has gone unpunished by the GAA and is contrary to the rules of the Association.

And The Score has more from the Armagh County Board’s statement, and a suggestion of what the offensive language actually was

Armagh’s statement opened by expressing concern, “at the alleged racist and personal abuse, directed at our players, apparently going unpunished. Racist abuse is in direct contravention of Rule 1.12 : The Association is Anti-Sectarian and Anti-Racist.”

The statement continues with a hint at what may have been said to McKeever and what many GAA players from Northern Ireland – including Armagh’s All-Ireland winning manager, Joe Kiernan - have complained of in the past.

“The chanting of “God Save the Queen” and malign taunting of “British Bastard” has no place either on or off the field of play.”

“This is provocation in the extreme and at variance with Rule 1.2 : The Association is a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic Games and pastimes.  [This partitionist mindset is contrary to the preamble in the Treori (Rules)].” [Added text from reported statement]

Don’t worry, lads, Sinn Féin have a cunning plan for “rubbing out the border”…  [Is there a turnip involved? - Ed]  Possibly…

Adds  From the Irish Times today [22 March]

…after a meeting brokered by the GAA with their counterparts in Laois earlier today, the Armagh board conceded in a joint statement that that those “allegations do not accurately reflect what occurred in O’Moore Park”.

The statement from both county boards read: “A meeting of representatives of Armagh and Laois County Boards took place today to discuss last Sunday’s Allianz League Football game in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

“It was agreed that allegations made by Armagh County Board in their statement do not accurately reflect what occurred in O’Moore Park. It is acknowledged by both Boards that inappropriate verbal exchanges took place between players during the game and this will be addressed with our respective panels.

“Both Laois and Armagh are committed to the playing of our games in the best possible spirit and look forward to the continuation of a keen, sporting rivalry.”

So that’s all right then…

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Comments (69)

  1. Ulick (profile) says:

    What, no back links to the Slugger archives from Baker? Surprising since a similar story was covered extensively by him and Mick not so long ago. Compare and contrast the righteous indignation then and now:

    http://bit.ly/GEeugC

    http://bit.ly/GE83GD

    http://bit.ly/GEW5lZ

    http://bit.ly/GHZwph

    http://bit.ly/GIFWdL

    http://bit.ly/GJ4M8v

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  2. sitarman (profile) says:

    it wasn’t Peter Robinson’s team was it? ;-)

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  3. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Aw come on, that IS funny Ulick…

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  4. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    5 yrs is a right wee while Ulick.

    But I would agree it is disgusting to question the Armagh players parents, marriage status.

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  5. Billy Pilgrim (profile) says:

    Why’s it funny, Mick?

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  6. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Now, Mick. Ulick’s right.

    It’s very similar to the abuse directed at the only Protestant playing senior GAA in Fermanagh by players and supporters of other clubs within Fermanagh…

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  7. Dec (profile) says:

    To surmise, if an Irish Jew is called a ‘jewish bastard’ that’s bad but if he’s called an ‘Israeli bastard’ that’s just a great laugh altogether.

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  8. JR (profile) says:

    Unacceptably abusive language.

    The only time I encountered anything like this was at the Down v Wexford match in Croke park about four Years ago. A very drunk Wexford fan was slagging a bunch of Down fans, He was needeling them about being British even though a few of his mates were telling him to shut up. Then shouted “Yous shouldn’t be in the All-Ireland at all you’s British C**ts” Before he had it out of his mouth a Guy came running down the terrace from a good way back and knocked the drunk guy on his backside with one punch. There was a Guard and a few stewarts right beside it, none of them reacted. The guy got up and moved away and that was the end of the incident.

    I guess some people are just knobs.

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  9. Reader (profile) says:

    We are constantly assured that partitionism simply doesn’t exist in the 26 counties. So it’s just a bit of banter, isn’t it?
    The Armagh reaction seems to betray massive over-sensitivity. But I’m sure their hurt feelings will be thoroughly respected in future encounters.

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  10. Looking at 1.12 and 1.2 there is nothing wrong with British people playing Gaelic Games. Indeed to say otherwise would be in breach of those rules, strictly speaking.

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  11. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘I guess some people are just knobs.’

    Indeed they are, JR and on an related note, I hope Pete pops up again I hope he explains his direct linkage between the Armagh GAA board’s complaint and SF.

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  12. Ulick (profile) says:

    Mick, Graham and McKeever were both subjected to a bit of sledging which goes on in most sorts. When it happened to Graham there was much indignation displayed all over the MSM and especially on this Blog. However, when it happens to McKeever there is much belly-laughing. Both players should have taken it on the chin and gotten on with the game but I find the very different treatment of both stories very telling.

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  13. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    sticks and stones, but assault in front of a police man. ? whats worse(for irish nats) being called a bastard, or British.

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  14. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Is intra-racism a new term? Can I get a grant for fighting it?

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  15. JR (profile) says:

    Lámhdhearg,

    Ní hea Garda Síochána a bhí ann.

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  16. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Well, look Im willing to hang my head in public shame but I thought the fans were stretching for irony .

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  17. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    JR, now i havE told you before, i dont speak wacky.

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  18. Republic of Connaught (profile) says:

    When I covered GAA for a local paper 10 years ago the behaviour of the mothers amazed me. Respectable mothers would turn into orcs and be insulting the referee and opposition players with the vilest of insults. It always surprised me in GAA how the fans aren’t separated because the passion for the teams is intense.

    GAA is, after all, about one’s local town or parish or one’s county. It’s very tribal and all kinds of insults will fly throughout a match to put the other team off their game.

    If the Armagh boys are bothered about a few unimaginative partitionist insults in the heat of battle then I’m afraid Ulster’s famed tough boys are going soft.

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  19. Ulick (profile) says:

    @Baker
    “It’s very similar to the abuse directed at the only Protestant playing senior GAA in Fermanagh by players and supporters of other clubs within Fermanagh…”

    One gets abuse from opposing club players while playing club match, the other gets abuse from opposing county players while playing county match. Same thing, different day.

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  20. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    out of interest, how many prods play in the county teams.

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  21. Republic of Connaught (profile) says:

    Lamhdearg; “out of interest, how many prods play in the county teams.”

    Wouldn’t know, LD. The players’ religions aren’t listed beside their names on the teamsheets.

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  22. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Ulick, I got the impression the whole team was the target, not just McKeever…

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  23. John Anderson (profile) says:

    This must be seen in context as a playground insult to an player with a short fuse. It is a bit like taunting a unionist from these parts with a map in hand about how can he be British when he is clearly not from Britain. I doubt the Laois player was too well informed about concepts of sovereignty and citizenship when he made his jibe. I suspect the management of Laois will have a word behind closed doors with the player and that will be the end of it. As a GAA fan, I like all others view that although the player was ultimately successful in his endeavours of provocation, he is by all accounts an idiot.

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  24. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    RoC, well if it’s an unknown, i say its none, anyone care to correct me. It’s not that i give a ****. but my local state school has started to play the games, and knowing were we are starting from, may help us see come 10/20 years how things may have changed. side note it’s funny how even yank priest’s know how many catholics played for the Ifa teams.

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  25. sdelaneys (profile) says:

    Republic of Connaught; “If the Armagh boys are bothered about a few unimaginative partitionist insults in the heat of battle then I’m afraid Ulster’s famed tough boys are going soft.”, indeed , you Free State bankrupt Europhile..

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  26. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Update

    Added text from reported statement

    This partitionist mindset is contrary to the preamble in the Treori (Rules).

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  27. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    Laois Suarez

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  28. JR (profile) says:

    Ní íarrfainn dada ón mhuc ach gráith ;-)

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  29. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    30 mins, and no takers JR, maybe i am not alone, NO UNDERSTANDY DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH PLEASE.

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  30. Nevin (profile) says:

    Pigs and grunts come to mind, lamhdearg2!

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  31. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    One gets abuse from opposing club players while playing club match, the other gets abuse from opposing county players while playing county match. Same thing, different day.

    Ulick

    You might think that, I might think that. But Graham thought, and said, that he was being targeted because he was the lone Protestant.

    Armagh think, and say, that they are being targeted in this case because they are from Northern Ireland. [Partitionist! - Ed] Oh, and that it’s “racist”.

    But I’m glad to see that you don’t have a problem with the original post per se.

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  32. Zig70 (profile) says:

    Which will hurt more, being called British or getting relegated to div2?

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  33. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    one wonders how the ifa/media/man on the street would react to a local football player/club complaining and claiming racism, because they where being called irish.

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  34. salgado (profile) says:

    “This partitionist mindset is contrary to the preamble in the Treori (Rules).”

    Wouldn’t that mean you have to be a republican if you want to play? Seems contrary to what most other people in the GAA seem to say about this.

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  35. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    Can the GAA ban the Laois player for racist abuse because the opposing player is from a different country?
    Is it a Luis Suarez case or a John Terry case?
    Maybe, like Suarez being Uruguayan, the GAA sees the cultural differences between being proper Irish and being a British subject.
    The players involved, albeit different nationalities, should have left it on the pitch, a la Suarez.

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  36. weidm7 (profile) says:

    Seems to be two strains of thought here: ‘prejudice is not only ok, but funny, once not directed by whites to blacks or protestants to catholics’ and ‘Abuse is a terrible, awful thing, except on a sports pitch, then it’s fine.’

    As well as the ironically titled ‘lámh dearg’ being offensive towards the irish language.

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  37. FuturePhysicist (profile) says:

    @sitarman

    You’d be better off saying it was Paisley’s

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  38. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Is there a turnip involved? – Ed”

    Is this what is meant by sledging? Does such a ‘cutting’ remark make Ed a turnip snedder? :)

    “allegedly kicking a Laois player”

    I went to the Laois-Nationalist to see its take on the incident. It wasn’t nearly as excitable as Slugger but there was a far more serious bit of kicking going on in the county, ‘Absolute savagery’ – the sort of thing that is all too common and often more lethal up on the North Coast.

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  39. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    weidm7. sorry for any offence caused to you or others, JR however knows that dispite my pseudonym, i do not speak/read/write Gaelic, so for him to reply to me in Gaelic, in my view is rude, and i responded in kind.

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  40. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    For record.. Nev’s link is a tree, not any part of the story (aka the ‘wood’) under consideration, other than the fact it’s in a Laois newspaper.

    This is one reason why this kindly gentleman has been red carded twice already.

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  41. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    weidm,

    You are making a serious category error. See Pete’s 9.27?

    As for the humour, if it is thrown at the only Protestant playing senior GAA in Fermanagh (and possibly NI), yes, I think is an important issue, and not in the least bit funny (you should try to catch up with Make Bradford British programme on Channel 4 to see how badly wrong misplaced ‘humour’ can go).

    But black humour amongst clubs or counties is quite another thing. The irony is that Armagh GAA are amongst the least British of all NI GAA fans. But then again, maybe the Laois fans knew that, and also knew it would get a rise out of them?

    I remember a Derry mate getting hit round the head with a shovel in Rannafast, because he and a bunch of students on the Easter course had the temerity to blast out the Sash in Irish (which we’d imperfectly translated earlier in the week).

    Yes, of course it wasn’t funny he got hit, but it was funny that the local guy really thought he had a bunch of Orangemen marching round the wilds of the west Donegal Gaeltacht singing Orange songs i nGaeilge on his hands…

    That’s just irony for ya lads…

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  42. turnpike (profile) says:

    They should show some pride playing on an international stage

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  43. Nevin (profile) says:

    “just irony”

    Mick, as others have noted, the incident in Laois involved sledging so it was somewhat ironical that Pete should have indulged in sledging at the end of his post. As for ‘snedding’ perhaps my culchie humour is too much for sensitive city slickers!

    My apologies for not linking directly to the Laois Nationalist story and for going briefly off-side – I was probably swayed by the much more serious kicking incident.

    ARMAGH players, officials and supporters were incensed as they departed O’Moore Park and their fury was firmly directed at referee, Michael Duffy.

    Many were angry that the Sligo official waved away two first half penalty claims and then compounded his unpopularity when sending off Ciaran McKeever before the throw-in for the second half.

    Apparently one of the match officials reported the Armagh centre back for striking Laois’ corner forward, Billy Sheehan in the tunnel as the sides retired at the interval. But all of this was of little interest to Justin McNulty, his players and the Laois supporters.

    The Laois Nationalist article puts the incident into perspective.

    “this kindly gentleman”

    Slugger regulars know different; they know me as the ‘dangerous bastard’ who gives various miscreants a difficult time – mostly in the interests of better governance.

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  44. Tochais Síoraí (profile) says:

    Could have been worse, could have called him a Catholic Unicorn.

    Anyway, reminds me of a few yeas back when one of the Dublin players known for sledging (let’s call him Mark Vaughan) tried his hand at a very similiar type of taunt at an Ulster player. Except he was playing against Monaghan at the time. In Monaghan.

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  45. Dec (profile) says:

    Armagh think, and say, that they are being targeted in this case because they are from Northern Ireland. [Partitionist! - Ed] Oh, and that it’s “racist””.’

    So is this a definitive declaration that calling someone a ‘british bastard’ is not racist?

    ‘As for the humour, if it is thrown at the only Protestant playing senior GAA in Fermanagh (and possibly NI), yes, I think is an important issue, and not in the least bit funny’

    Mick

    But it would be funny if there was another protestant on the team who escaped any ‘banter’? I’ve seen some train wrecks of threads in my time but this one takes the biscuit.

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  46. michael-mcivor (profile) black spot says:

    A bit of name calling can be fun to those who taunt- Any-one from the 26 counties making these smart comments are actually calling all who were born before partition like their grandparents- great grandparents british-they also think that those who died in the GPO in 1916 were british-no the joke is on any Irish person who calls another a british bastard- they are slagging their own family history- its a dirty brit history but it is still fact-

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  47. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    one wonders how the ifa/media/man on the street would react to a local football player/club complaining and claiming racism, because they where being called irish. has no one a view on this?

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  48. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Dec,

    Aye right. Here’s Joe Brolly who, quoted in the IT today, gets to the nub:

    “It sounds like a bit of a storm in a tea cup,” he said, “you don’t want to get too precious about this stuff.”

    And then he blew a passionate smacker in the direction of his old rivals: “Probably with Armagh, there’s a bit of desperation because they’re slipping through the relegation trap door.”

    Ouch, indeed.

    Now, look at this from a practical point of view. The county and it’s support have now flagged up a major sensitivity. The GAA wide call may calm things down and work. Well and good.

    Regardless of how well it works, all of the county’s opponents will now know just how easy it is to wind them up.

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  49. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    The chanting of ‘God Save the Queen’ has no place either on or off the field of play”

    Armagh GAA statement

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  50. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    also from the bbc “The Armagh captain, who was sent-off for allegedly striking a Laois player in the tunnel as the two teams made their way off the pitch at half-time, has been cited for a Category Two offence which carries a one match ban”, what do you half to do to go to category one.

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  51. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    the orange county!.

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  52. Dec (profile) says:

    Mick

    Oh a quote from Joe Brolly (and no, not from that piece he wrote on Windsor Park). That’s me and my questions about what this blog seems to define as racism answered.
    However I’m grateful for being exposed to Slugger’s GAA Hate Theorem which contends that seriousness should only be adopted when the targets of abuse based on perceived creed or race <= 1 AND NOT northern Irish catholics.

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  53. CW (profile) says:

    I remember a similar incident a few years ago when the Tyrone team were staying in a hotel on their way back from a league somewhere in the deep south. A wedding party was staying in the same hotel. A few of the wedding guests had had a drink or two and decided to wind up the Tyrone team by the God save the Queen, which caused a bit of a fracas. The incident didn’t get widely reported as Mickey Harte and co wanted it to be hushed up (and rightly so) so as not to distract the teams’ preparations for the championship.

    The fact is that southerners know damn well that one surefire way of winding up northern GAA types is by calling them British. McKeever foolishly rose to the bait and Armagh used it as a pathetic excuse for their poor performance. Brolly is spot on here. End of story.

    On the other hand had it been genuine racist abuse against a black player there would have been a real need for an investigation and disciplinary proceedings. Incidentally if I remember correctly there a mixed race player called Joey Cunningham who lined out for Armagh in the ‘80s. He also played soccer for Portadown. Whether he received any abuse I have no idea, but if he did it wasn’t widely reported.

    Mick – interesting comment about Armagh GAA being the “least British” of NI GAA counties. Not sure what this means, but I’d intrigued to know what the most British GAA county in NI is!!!

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  54. Confused. Could Armagh be called ‘Orange b’ds’ because they play in Orange. Getting sense Armagh a little thin skinned. http://newrytimes.com/2012/03/22/sectarianism-towards-the-6-counties-is-not-new-and-laois-have-previous-form/

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  55. Nevin (profile) says:

    CW, here are a few snippets from a thread on the Armagh GAA website:

    1. It was quite common for teams from the north of the county to be called orange b@stards, Brits etc when playing in the south of the county.

    2. All six northern counties voted against Rule 42, allowing British games to be played in Croke Park.

    3. Most northern counties boycotted the Queen’s visit to Croke Park, while most southern county representatives bowed down to her, cap in hand at our HQ.

    4. And correct me if I’m wrong, but all (except Down) voted against changing Rule 21.

    Perhaps that makes Down the most ‘British’. I wonder if any of the ‘Queens County’ stars greeted the Queen on her recent visit.

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  56. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    CW,

    Are you inviting me to dig a very very very deep hole?

    Dec,

    It was an appeal to common sense not Brolly’s authority.

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  57. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Newry Times piece:

    “Whilst I write this firstly as an Armagh man and secondly an Ulsterman I am being impartial and forthright. A lot of supporters from the six counties do not exactly cover themselves in glory either and chants of “Take it down from the mast Irish traitors” and “Free State B*****ds” are just as unacceptable and disgusting as what happened to Ciaran McKeever.”

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  58. Ulick (profile) says:

    Joint Statement by Armagh and Laois County Boards
    22 March 2012

    The statement reads:
    “A meeting of representatives of Armagh and Laois County Boards took place today to discuss last Sunday’s Allianz League Football game in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

    It was agreed that allegations made by Armagh County Board in their statement do not accurately reflect what occurred in O’Moore Park.

    It is acknowledged by both Boards that inappropriate verbal exchanges took place between players during the game and this will be addressed with our respective panels.

    Both Laois and Armagh are committed to the playing of our games in the best possible spirit and look forward to the continuation of a keen, sporting rivalry.”

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  59. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Thanks Ulick… Intriguing…

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  60. Nevin (profile) says:

    Earlier up at HQ:

    Armagh have strenuously denied reports that Paul Duggan has resigned as county chairman in the wake of the racist allegations involving Ciaran McKeever.

    There were widespread rumours yesterday that the chairman had quit his position after Croke Park officials had vented their fury with the Orchard County for releasing a statement to the media before consulting with them.

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  61. Ulick (profile) says:

    Intriguing, it’s fecking embarrassing. As if the past three weeks weren’t bad enough for Armagh, this is all we need going into a must win match with Down at the weekend.

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  62. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Adds From the Irish Times today [22 March]

    …after a meeting brokered by the GAA with their counterparts in Laois earlier today, the Armagh board conceded in a joint statement that that those “allegations do not accurately reflect what occurred in O’Moore Park”.

    The statement from both county boards read: “A meeting of representatives of Armagh and Laois County Boards took place today to discuss last Sunday’s Allianz League Football game in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

    “It was agreed that allegations made by Armagh County Board in their statement do not accurately reflect what occurred in O’Moore Park. It is acknowledged by both Boards that inappropriate verbal exchanges took place between players during the game and this will be addressed with our respective panels.

    “Both Laois and Armagh are committed to the playing of our games in the best possible spirit and look forward to the continuation of a keen, sporting rivalry.”

    So that’s all right then…

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  63. Alias (profile) says:

    The only aspect of this storm in a plastic cup that offends me is the over-use of the word ‘racist.’ It has been cheaped to the point where its meaning no longer conveys the seriousness of its orginal use.

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  64. SK (profile) says:

    Indulge me for a second.

    Imagine this was an NI versus England football match, where England fans chanted “you’re not proper Brits” at the less-than-impressed unionist OWC supporters.

    Now Imagine, the next day, Chris Donnelly came along to write an article where he essentially pointed and laughed at what transpired.

    Our unionist chums would be calling for his head.

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  65. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Ahem…

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  66. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    one wonders how the ifa/media/man on the street would react to a local football player/club complaining and claiming racism, because they where being called irish. Is this whatabouterye mick

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  67. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    it’s a fantasy version of same…

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  68. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    In my fantasy, the local footbal player/club who where daft enough to claim racism in such a scenario, would be accused of being racist or at least of being anti Irish themselves.yet no one as pulled Armagh up for being so obviously anti British.

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  69. Ulick (profile) says:

    Latest update is McKeever has had his suspension lifted pending an investigation into the affair.

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