Seen in Croke Park, yesterday…

It may be hard to believe, but a Tyrone fan was clearly putting county allegiance ahead of any dispute with the old enemy. His red and white flag was also the cross of St George. A first for Croke Park? To be filed with tales of a bespoke green Union flag at Northern Ireland’s 1 0 defeat of England in Windsor Park.

  • Aaron

    I wasn’t at the match yesterday, but I’ve been to many a gaelic match featuring Tyrone, and never heard a single sectarian chant.

    I’m getting increasingly sick of people feeling the need to come on this site to abuse a group of men who’ve achieved a heroic sporting feet. Get over yourselves and pay them some respect.

  • James Orr

    I wonder if the guy holding the flag was Trevor Ringland 😉

  • Dan

    While it’s many years since I’ve attended a GAA match, I work near Croke Park and can honestly say that I have never witnessed any kind of sectarian behaviour. The atmosphere outside the grounds was extremely amicable yesterday, and it also seemed to be the case inside.

    The notion that a Protestant supporter would be unwelcome is hard to believe, especially considering how secular the south has become over last decade. On the other hand, for us the reports of women and children being attacked on their return to Tyrone is particularly disturbing and incomprehensible.

  • ganching

    boys-a-dear I don’t know what Sam would have to say about this.

  • raff

    The ‘Sam Maguire’ cup – the highest accolade in Irish sport is named after a PROTESTANT doctor.

  • GavBelfast

    B13 seems to have brought-out the bad in rather a lot the responses above – seems his/her ploy worked.

    Why should anyone be surprised that yesterday’s event should be followed by some violence around the place, whoever the culprits or the victims (it seems louts on both ‘sides’ took advantage of the celebrations to cause trouble). Ulster fans trains/coaches/cars attacked after the 1999 European Cup Final, Linfield fans near the Brandywell, Armagh fans after their win, Northern Ireland fans on the Boucher Road after the England game recently. The list goes on and we have a lot of thuggish people in our society.

    There’s far too much generalisation about the Unionist community in this thread – I rather suspect most of that community felt much the same about the All-Ireland final as most in the Nationalist community do for the Twelfth, disinterested detatchment. Some will be pleased for Tyrone, while a lunatic fringe will have sought to goad and cause trouble.

  • Mick Fealty

    Hear hear Gav. Been travelling all evening. Some pruning coming up shortly.

  • Paul

    Despite Trevor Ringland’s brave attempt most Unionists, I know couldn’t have cared less yesterday about Tyrones victory.
    Similarly when the ROI play at football or Ireland play at rugby, I feel no emotional attachment, it’s simply not my country. No resentment towards either of them(or the GAA), just complete apathy.

    It’s a pity about the trouble that followed the game but sadly that seems to be pretty regular now after any sporting event of note in NI(or Glasgow) and is more indicative of the level of sectarianism within our society than any inherent problem with any of the individual sports.

    But it’s just a pity that when an idiot like B13 appears [now removed] spouting his nonsense, that the lazy stereotyping of the complete Unionist community begins amongst some posters.

  • don

    paul

    I have similar feelings towards the northern ireland football team, i have no interest in their results and have no feelings for their flag or anthem.

    That said, i accept that supporters do have a strong belief and admiration for their team and fully accept this.

    Sports supporters should be able to support who they like, without ridicule or threat, if it be linfield supporters being attacked or Tyrone supporters being injured in stone attacks.

  • Rationalist

    Speaking as lifelong Tyrone supporter who was in Croke Park for the match the feeling was one of pure ecstasy when the final whistle blew. Politics and sport just shouldn’t mix. Full stop. I would be equally delighted for any local sports team who do well – be that NI in soccer, Ulster in rugby, etc. Is it a mere coincidenece that the Ulster rugby shirt bears an uncanny resemblance to the Tyrone GAA shirt?
    As for Paul’s comment above – “[when]Ireland play at rugby, I feel no emotional attachment, it’s simply not my country.” So would you mind telling us Paul which country in rugby terms do you see as “yours”? Would you rather have a UK rugby team, so that then you could support your “country”?

  • Paul

    Rationalist,

    “So would you mind telling us Paul which country in rugby terms do you see as “yours”?”

    Certainly, the British (and Irish) Lions, although I do also have a sneaking regard for the Ulster team-would they count as a national team?!
    But to be honest, neither really gives me the same feeling as watching the N.Ireland football international team.

  • raff

    I would like to know what the hell happened to this thread.

    When I went off line last night there were a lot more posts than there are now and I had made 2 posts both longer than the one that is left! I hope that someone isn’t editing the posts and if they are, WHY?

    I thought slugger was about people airing their opinions not for them to conform to the standards of those who run this site. There was nothing unusual in the posts that would warrant their removal. Please respond!

  • Aaron

    Agreed, raff. There’s been some overzealous moderating, which leaves the rest of us looking like we’re doing the online equivalent of shadow boxing.

  • IJP

    While it’s many years since I’ve attended a GAA match, I work near Croke Park and can honestly say that I have never witnessed any kind of sectarian behaviour.

    Leaving aside arguments as to what constitutes ‘sectarian behaviour’ and indeed whether it really matters, are you in fact suggesting that Catholics are fundamentally less sectarian than Protestants?

  • maca

    i dont think any no nationalist/republican should be allowed to GAA games

    keep it Hun free

    you know it makes sense

  • maca

    Thanks “maca” for your contribution. Now f*** off and get your own handle.

    IJP
    Re your 10:28, That’s not like you. His point was simply that he never witnessed any sectarian behaviour around Croke Park and you took that to mean he’s saying prods are more sectarian?? Very odd conclusion there Ian.

  • Niall

    * The ‘Sam Maguire’ cup – the highest accolade in Irish sport is named after a PROTESTANT doctor.
    Posted by: raff at September 26, 2005 09:12 PM *

    Assuming that you posted this in a show of distorted ‘one-up-man-ship’ can I ask that you try and get the facts right. He was never a doctor but a civil servant in Britain and then in Ireland. However that’s probably not the most memorable aspect of his life…….

    http://www.dunmanway.net/sam_maguire.htm

    Now that I’ve put a cat amongst the pigeons, what do you think of Sam, the man?

  • raff

    I see no one has explained the censure on this thread. Can some one tell me what exactly was wrong with what had been posted? The thread looks nothing like what I started posting on and indeed I had already examined what I was going to post before I posted it. Can anyone give me a list of things which I can avoid doing so as to avoid this censorship in the future.

    That said b13 who started this still has not clarified exactly what were the banners and chants and where did he see/hear them. Please provide evidence for your claims.

    For those who did not see the pre-censorship thread, b13 claimed he saw Republican banners and heard sectarian chants at Croke Park on Sunday 25th.

  • wessy

    b13 has also claimed to have been there when Kennedy was shot.

  • raff

    Sorry Niall, I forgot to mention your post. I stand corrected.

    I was not trying ‘one-up-man-ship’, what I was trying to do was point out that regardless of religion, people were able to play GAA sports, and the organisation was not sectarian by design, if you read my original posts you would have seen I am not a GAA fan. Thank you for the link, that was an interesting article, but I would not class it as putting the cat among the pigeons, indeed it points to the sectarian mind set of people in Ireland that a protestant who believed in an end to British rule should raise an eyebrow!

  • IJP

    maca

    Sorry, I’ve seen that line too often not to read between the lines.

    Those (two people, in fact) who wrote it are more than welcome to come back and say ‘no’, if that’s the answer.

  • maca

    Ian,
    Well Dan can speak for himself, but I really think you’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick on this one.

  • doctor who

    Perhaps b13 was just responding to those people who claim to have heard sectarian singing at Windsor Park at the recent historic victory against England.
    While the GAA is not sectarian by design there can be little doubt that it´s adversity toward any sport considered British by them, should not and will not be allowed to use their Government funded stadiums.
    Maybe itis time for the Irish Government to intervene and indeed put presure on what definately is a sectarian organisation although not the recreational wing of the IRA as some would have you beleive.
    Having high profile Gaelic Footballers paying tribute to former leaders of the IRA while they are on their death beds certainly dosn´t help their cause.
    Please Slugger don´t censor me like you have done to b13.

  • maca

    doctor who
    “there can be little doubt that it´s adversity toward any sport considered British by them, should not and will not be allowed to use their Government funded stadiums.”

    The problem with your little theory is that other ‘sport[s] considered British’ such as tennis and badminton have been played on GAA grounds for decades. And in case you didn’t know, within the next couple of years the Irish Rugby & S.Irish soccer teams will grace the fields of Croke Park. Kinda contradicts your “will not” statement.

    As for the “high profile Gaelic Footballers”, they are individuals and were not there on behalf of the GAA.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “Having high profile Gaelic Footballers paying tribute to former leaders of the IRA while they are on their death beds certainly dosn´t help their cause.”

    Given Croake Park’s history, particularly how it relates to the Auxilliary’s tactics during the Anglo-Irish War, a certain amount of slack should be entertained. Check Wikipedia for particulars — the quote I posted was one of the things round-filed previously.

  • Dandyman

    I was at the match on Sunday, I managed to get tickets for a cousin of mine over from England and a Protestant friend of his from County Down. The friend lives in Dublin anyway so it wasn’t that foreign an experience for him, but I think it was his first trip to Croker, and definitely his first All-Ireland final. He had a good time and enjoyed the day (at least he says he did) and was cheering for the Kingdom. See, it’s not that hard. I know there’s a few aul’ bigots in the GAA just as I’m sure there is in every other organisation on this Island one way or another, but I’ve never witnessed sectarianism at a GAA match and I’ve been to hundreds at this stage.

    And someday I hope I’ll be able to go up North and have a bit of craic for an Orange celebration without getting sent home in an ambulance. I don’t mean that in a smartarse way, I actually think the RM should really consider relaxing a little bit about Orange marches now. If they can handle decommissioning, surely they can handle a short parade with a few tin whistles and Lambeg drums. If the stumbling blocks of decommissioning AND contentious parades were to be removed in one fell swoop, maybe I’m being naive, but I think it would add great momentum to the process.

    Like a lot of other posters yesterday, I’m no fan of McDowell’s I think the guy’s vanity bets the better of him most of the time and many of his public pronouncements ar given for no other reason than to draw attention to himself, but he’s right, if republicans want to seriously continue down the path which they believe leads to unity on this Island, sooner or later they are going to have to face up to the fact that the Orange panel on the flag must be acknowledged. After all this flag is supposedly what it’s all about isn’t it? There’s no point in aspiring towards a ‘United’ Ireland in name only.

  • Democratic

    I think the point being made about Sam Maguire is that although he was a Protestant he was one of those rare beings that were of the Militant Irish Republican Protestant persuasion and offering him as an example of “How could the GAA be sectarian if our top trophy is named after one of yours?”
    when speaking to a British Protestant Unionist falls a little short of convincing – I’m sure you can see why. BTW – I have no problem with the GAA being a sport for Irish Nationalists/Republicans only as part of an ancient heritage – just don’t tell me that all our welcomed with opened arms -If Unionists (who are overwhelmingly of the Protestant persuasion) are not banned officially they certainly wouldn’t be wanted by the powers that be – you only have to look at the lack of target marketing of the GAA outside the Nationalist/Catholic communities – i.e. there is none whatsoever – is this a sign – I certainly think so – then of course as with those who slate the NI soccer team for this – there is the issue of representative flags and symbols – a can of worms perhaps best avoided at present.

  • George

    off-topic so apologies.

    Dandyman,
    the Orange reflects the Protestant tradition not the Orange Order.

    The Republic must deliver for all of Ireland’s Protestants not for the narrow Orangeism expressed by the Orange Order in 2005.

    Much of Protestantism in Ireland has clearly moved away from any “residual Anti-Catholic ethos” (leeway asked) in the last century while the Orange Order has not.

    It is out of touch with Irish Protestant values in 2005 except for those Protestants in Ireland who strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing any act or ceremony of Popish worship.

    The majority don’t.

    It is out of touch unless Ireland’s Protestants belive that they should by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy of the Roman Catholic Church, its encroachments and the extension of its power.

    The majority don’t.

    If the Orange Order really believes in protecting all of Ireland’s Protestants, then it will have to develop a spirit of mutual respect, and an acceptance of denominational integrity.

    Will it remove the oath to the Queen, for example?

    Or can an Irish Protestant only be British and Protestant in the eyes of Orange Order?

  • Dandyman

    Well accomodating a few more marches might be a good starting point, that’s all I’m saying. I can’t see decommissioning doing much, I’m sorry to say. i just don’t believe that Paisley will deal with SF no matter what they do so why not expose him for what he really is? Decommission weapons, accomodate a few more parades and join the policing board. End this nonsense once and for all.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Well accomodating a few more marches might be a good starting point, that’s all I’m saying. I can’t see decommissioning doing much, I’m sorry to say. i just don’t believe that Paisley will deal with SF no matter what they do so why not expose him for what he really is? Decommission weapons, accomodate a few more parades and join the policing board. End this nonsense once and for all.

    Decommissioning makes sense… policing board makes sense… accomodating OO parades, not so much. The recent riots put paid to that notion. What was the Protestant rallying cry, “we won’t negotiate with a gun to our head?”

  • Niall

    * …Maybe itis time for the Irish Government to intervene and indeed put presure on what definately is a sectarian organisation although not the recreational wing of the IRA as some would have you beleive.
    Having high profile Gaelic Footballers paying tribute to former leaders of the IRA while they are on their death beds certainly dosn´t help their cause.

    Posted by: doctor who at September 28, 2005 01:51 PM *

    And in a classic case of whataboutery or for fear that there might appear not to be a level playing field, then we’d have to ask the Westminster Gov and FIFA to investigate the soccer bodies in Britian. This would be in light of Andy Goram’s (ex Glasgow Rangers and ManU’s goal keeper) support of loyalist forces.

  • frank

    “Well accomodating a few more marches might be a good starting point, that’s all I’m saying.”

    If the orange order stopped glorifying uvf murderers at its parades it might be easier to see an accomodation.

  • Niall

    * ….I think the point being made about Sam Maguire is that although he was a Protestant he was one of those rare beings that were of the Militant Irish Republican Protestant persuasion
    Posted by: Democratic at September 28, 2005 04:54 PM *

    I disagree, SM was following the lead of other “..Protestant’s and Dissenter’s” from years previously…

    Theo Wolfe Tone, 1763 – ’98
    Robert Emmet, 1880 – ‘03
    Countess Markiewicz (Constance Georgine Gore-Booth), 1868 – ’27

    The complexities of NI are that it is not a religious struggle or a class struggle or a nationalist struggle etc ad nauseum, but all of the above and much, much more. Therefore, generalizing statements like Demo’s above, are useless.

  • maca

    Democratic
    “I have no problem with the GAA being a sport for Irish Nationalists/Republicans”

    Well I do. It’s not a sport [organisation] for just “nationalists/republicans”. Most members/supporters are not “nationalist/republican”.

    “If Unionists (who are overwhelmingly of the Protestant persuasion) are not banned officially they certainly wouldn’t be wanted by the powers that be”

    Rubbish. More members would mean more ticket sales, more merchandise sales i.e. more money, that alone would keep the GAA powers happy. They couldn’t care less what your politics are.

    “you only have to look at the lack of target marketing of the GAA outside the Nationalist/Catholic communities – i.e. there is none whatsoever”

    Dealing with NI only. I would assume each NI county is tasked with promoting the sports in their own areas (that’s how it happens elsewhere anyway). So is it any surprise that there’s a lack of marketing? How would they go about marketing the sports in unionist areas when the sports are already so tied into identities up there?

  • Democratic

    To Niall – you disagree that Sam Maguire was a rare Militant Irish Republican even though a Protestant – fine! – I still very much stand by that statement and my wider point – if you disagree – fine! – offering 3 of his fellows is not a rebuttal – nor does it make my post useless.
    To Maca – Firstly – “most GAA supporters are not Nationalist/Republican” – really? – I doubt that personally but there you go. Didn’t an ex-GAA president and present Sinn Feiner last week make an appeal for all “TRUE” GAA supporters to attend their make partition history rally in Dublin – surely this does nothing to dispel stereotypes. How could the GAA be marketed to Unionists? – come on now Maca – show a bit a imagination – how about a marketing approach to state schools for example – free tickets for a big match – making some kids from a Unionist estate guests of the board – you never know it may catch on – and you may just find the next Peter Canavan outside the Catholic community. “The GAA don’t care about your politics” – really Maca? – I wonder about that – perhaps some example of their neutrality on the subject would be welcome. As I said before the GAA are obviously perfectly happy with the status quo as it stands whereby the GAA is seen as an extension of the Nationalist identity where Unionists though not banned are not wanted – what with their Britishness and Union Flags which obviously go against the primary mission statement of the GAA – don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with this and I never said it was sectarian – I just don’t like a load of spades being called hatchets.

  • maca

    Democrat
    “really? – I doubt that personally but there you go.”

    So pretty much any conversation on this subject is pointless as you have made up your mind on the subject and are not open to persuasion. Correct?

    “Didn’t an ex-GAA president and present Sinn Feiner last week make an appeal for all “TRUE” GAA”

    Did he? If so he was talking shite. That’s his personal opinion and does not make all gaa members/supporters “nationalist/republican”.

    “How could the GAA be marketed to Unionists?”

    The reason I asked this was because it was stated here more than once by unionists that it doesn’t matter what the GAA does it will never be acceptable to the unionist community. Isn’t this true?
    Plus, GAA sports are not just sports, they are part of an Irish (of- or relating to- the Irish state) cultural identity, an identity which is rejected by most unionists.
    The problem is not simply with marketing. The problem is first sorting out NI’s social issues.
    All the marketing in the world won’t make a bit of difference while ye are at each others throats.

    “really Maca? – I wonder about that”

    I say that because the GAA are pretty much interested in one thing – money. I think they’d pretty much throw away a lot of the historial baggage if they could make a few bucks. But it’s a very complicated issue in NI and any change (like life in NI) will not happen overnight.
    But things are moving in the right direction, rule 21 & rule 42 for example.

    “As I said before the GAA are obviously perfectly happy with the status quo as it stands whereby the GAA is seen as an extension of the Nationalist identity where Unionists though not banned are not wanted – what with their Britishness and Union Flags which obviously go against the primary mission statement of the GAA”

    They may be happy enough with the way things are now, as the GAA is growing and making more money than ever. But to say unionists are not wanted is still bullshit. But I have a feeling nothing I or anyone else says on the matter will change your opinion.

  • Democratic

    Hi Maca,
    I am not a bigot, don’t worry – my mind is very much open – I simply call it as I see it – I have given you a few examples of how I feel the GAA could be marketed to the Unionist young (perhaps the older generation is beyond conversion due to intrenched views – but that is no reason not to try – in such a case scenario any further criticism levelled at the GAA on inclusivity would be null and void) – I just don’t think there is any interest on the part of the GAA – If am proved to be wrong I will happily offer an engraved apology – I accept your analogy of the identity problems – I believe I have covered this from my point of view. Flags and anthems would need to be addressed – this would be the ultimate test of GAA political neutrality – something I don’t think exists no matter how much money is put on the table – why should be GAA bcome whores for money when the whole ethos of their existence is on the line – I think you do them a diservice Maca. Anyway I do note the progess that has been made in recent years regarding rules 21 & 42 – good for them – they deserve credit – but for me there is a way to go yet if the GAA are in anyway interested in attracting those from outisde the Catholic/Nationalist community. BTW – The Sinn Fein anti-partition rally comment about true supporters was totally true and easily verifiable – it happened during preparations for the all-Ireland I believe – I am not a propaganda
    hound Maca – nor am I having a cheap shot – I felt this was relevant to the discussion about stereotyping.

  • maca

    Democratic
    Don’t worry, I wasn’t calling you a bigot. You do, however, give the impression that your mind is made up on the matter.

    Personally I think the GAA have simply become trapped in the Troubles up North. Politics plays little or no part in GAA life down south (based just on my own experiences) and you get people of all persuasions taking part. In the North, much like the Irish language, is has become identified with just one culture. It’s not easy to break out of that especially when NI’s social problems continue.
    A lot of the criticism flung at the GAA is very unfair. The GAA will NOT fix NI’s social problems. For the GAA to be cross community you’ll need to sort out some of the problems on your own first.
    The GAA can help, but it’s up to yourselves (all NI’ers) to initiate change.

    Does the GAA have a lack of interest in your community? Maybe, I dunno. Maybe it’s a lack of balls. Maybe it’s a fear of stirring up a hornets nest. Maybe it’s just the same problems existing throughout NI, how to get the two opposing communities together.

    Could the GAA do more? I think they could and should. But it has to happen at a local level.
    And if your GAA club has been attacked by petrol bombs, or members have been attacked on the way home from training it doesn’t exactly encourage you. Not an excuse, but it’s the reality.

    Ethos of the GAA: ignore the preamble in the rule book. Few people have read it or care about it. It is no longer the 1880’s. The GAA is a business and in my opinion they value money more than almost anything. Of course, i’ve always viewed the GAA very negatively in this regard, they (the high command not the members) are money grabbers IMO.

    Flags & anthems*: again I believe it’s mainly down to local communities learning to compromise.
    If Ulster GAA wants to compromise and change certain rules I can’t see GAA HQ having any problems with that.
    But what will make Ulster GAA & the 6 GAA counties want to change? The clubs are comprised of members, ordinary people you see every day, and most are from the nationalist community. Are you expecting the NI nationalist community to initiate all the changes or do you plan to make changes yourself? Should they lead and you follow? It won’t happen ya know.

    *Same issue is relevant to the NI soccer team btw. Just keep it in mind.

  • Ringo

    Democratic –

    I just don’t think there is any interest on the part of the GAA

    You are right to a point. There isn’t the will at present to really try and make inroads into unionist communities. And there is an equal lack of interest in hurling and football among unionists. So the time isn’t right for a major push – which would completely backfire anyway as it would no doubt be labeled as cultural imperialism by the DUP and the like. A hard sell would be disastrous.

    In fact I don’t ever see the need or the likelyhood of high levels of participation among unionists in the GAA – it isn’t as though they are stuck for something to do on a wet january night. Getting to the stage where all Tyrone people supported their county in an all-Ireland final would be sufficient. Same goes for Ulster Rugby.

    From a purely sporting point of view, the Ulster Branch of the IRFU or the IFA wouldn’t be too pleased about it anyway. Competition for the decreasing numbers of people who are active in team sports is not to be underestimated.

    it happened during preparations for the all-Ireland I believe
    How do you mean ‘during preparations’?

    Who are you referring to? Quinn/Bootman/McCague?

  • doctor who

    Consider this.
    Michael Stone is on his death bed, the captain of Northern Ireland takes to him the British Championship trophy (of which Northern Ireland have been holders of for the last 23 years), in order to pay tribute to him.
    Then imagine the outrage this would cause, with the politicians and the media rightly calling for action to be taken.
    Now does remind some of our moderate GAA non sectarian mates of anything.

  • Democratic

    Some food for thought Maca – I can appreciate your last post in its entirety – I bear the NI soccer team in mind for purposes of similarity of circumstance and agree – (I am a fan myself) The one thing I would yet to be convinced of is the relevance of the mission statement – is it really outdated preamble ripe for deletion or does it have relevance – I can see and appreciate where you sit on the matter as modern day Southerner – but would your Northern contempories where I live view it in the same way taking on board the conflicting nationality problems here and of course the issue of violence against GAA property and player by agitating Loyalists in the past as you mention? This is also very much an issue I feel – the ethos I suggest would be more relevant and heart-felt by some than others – especially some Northerners I contend – who would (perhaps wrongly) construe the ethos as having a duty to make sure that no element of Britishness permeats a proud Gaelic Irish cultural pursuit which contains a very definite aspiration of a United Ireland. (therefore solidifying the organisation’s place in the political sphere in Northern Ireland for those of the Unionist persuasion)

  • Democratic

    Hi Ringo,
    The report I found at a cursory look didn’t give the gentleman’s name – save that he was an ex-GAA president speaking on behalf of Sinn Fein – I will look harder when I get a few minutes for a name for you.
    The comment was not made in any kind of GAA official capacity I might add but a private appeal on the eve of the rally which coincided with the all-Ireland preparations to crowds of GAA supporters. I apologise if I mislead – it was unintentional – I only brought it up to identify an example of a popular stereotype.

  • maca

    Democratic
    “is it really outdated preamble ripe for deletion or does it have relevance”

    The former, in my opinion.
    I read it for the first time just a couple of years ago and thought it was just archaic nonsense. That’s part of the reason why unionist attitude to it surprises me so much.

    “would your Northern contempories where I live view it in the same way…”

    Probably not. But of course I can’t answer for them.
    Remember though, in the North you have two commuities who believe strongly in their respective identities. The GAA is part of one.
    In the south we just don’t have that. Such cultural activities are not confined to one community. If anything it has more to do with class than religion but even this has totally changed over the years.

    You might like to focus on the North in the discussion, but the problem is when you criticise the GAA you criticise the entire organisation, and then you get defensive southerners like me annoyed 😉

    “who would (perhaps wrongly) construe the ethos as having a duty to make sure that no element of Britishness permeats a proud Gaelic Irish cultural pursuit..”

    The ethos, when created way back when, was not (IMO) about keeping out Britishness but was (IMO) about protecting cultural activities which were under serious threat. I don’t believe there is anything wrong (as such) with this ethos even today other than the fact that it is no longer needed. If someone believe the ethos is about keeping out Britishness then they have it wrong. Evidence lies in Britain and elsewhere where many British people play the sports.

  • Democratic

    Fair enough Maca – I think we understand each other – the only thing I would point out (as I have done already) is that I was never being critical of the GAA and/or their ethos as wrong or sectarian – I just wanted a spade called a spade – that’s all.

  • maca

    Nice discussing with ya anyway.
    Have you been to any GAA games? If you haven’t then i’d recommend it … south of the border if that makes you more comfortable. The atmosphere is always good … and family oriented.

  • Democratic

    Thanks Maca,
    I have never physically been to a game – though I remember being “down South” a couple of years ago on holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the international rules games against the Aussies at a local bar – great stuff – lots of niggle and altercations – just the way I like it. I would love to come and see a couple of games and see what the fuss is about – I’m sure 82,000 odd can’t be wrong. Here’s hoping someday everyone could do likewise across the island under the inclusive and family atmosphere you describe regardless of nationality or personal politics – I would look forward to that day.

  • seedot

    Just a note, Democratic
    The atmosphere in Croke park is family friendly and relaxed, but the rivalry is there.

    At Armagh/Dublin and Tyrone/Dublin matches in recent years “Whats it like to have a queen” is sung on Hill 16 with much gusto.

    Of course thats polite compared to what Meath get (their special song involves sheep).

  • maca

    Democratic
    “Here’s hoping someday everyone could do likewise across the island under the inclusive and family atmosphere you describe regardless of nationality or personal politics – I would look forward to that day.”

    Perhaps we can already.
    Wouldn’t I be welcome in Windsor? You’d be more than welcome in Croker.
    Some of the barriers are self-created.

  • Democratic

    You would be welcome in Windsor Maca, for my part very much so in fact – I appreciate your invitation to Croker and the spirit in which it is intended – the fact remains though as the respective status quo’s stand would either of us feel fully comfortable or would it be neccessary to suspend our identities and beliefs for an afternoon – I sure you and I could in the name of sport – could others? Did you understand the point that Seadot was making – I am not sure – but I suspect he was warning me about certain chants that may make for uncomfortable listening for those of a Unionist bent (no jokes please!) – I would hope that sort of bantering would remain good-natured and that Nationalists would take the same view at Windsor when appropriate – if so then we may get somewhere – just that matter of anthems and symbols then – hmmmmmm.

  • maca

    I’d say few people in Croker or most other places in the south would care what your politics are. I could understand it if you wouldn’t feel comfortable but to be honest i’d see little reason for it. A much bigger issue is what county you support, inter-county rivalry can be fearsome at times (not in any negative way).

    No, I don’t think seedot was warning you, not in a serious way anyway. He was just giving an example of the rivalry which exists between counties. It’s always good natured and once the final whistle goes we’re all friends again.
    As for those specific examples he gave (“Whats it like to have a queen”), i’d think they would be more uncomfortable listening for those of a nationalist bent (jokes allowed).

  • Democratic

    Fair enough Maca, I have to stop looking at things from a NI only point of view – us northerners can have a bit too much of an ego that way to the exclusion of a wider view sometimes. I accept that the southern GAA and supporters can quite easily have different outlooks and motivations than their northern contempories (no offense to anyone intended) Perhaps the recent provincial rule change debates were evidence enough of that. I would have no problems with viewing any GAA game down south nor with the anthem or flag(s)at the stadium as for me they are natural home of such symbols are ARE representive of the vast majority (if not all) of the citizens there.

  • seedot

    sorry if my comment felt like a warning democratic – as maca pointed out the chant is more on the basis of the presumed nationalism of northern supporters. I think if there were people who could respond “Quite nice actually” to a song of “Whats it like to have a Queen” Hill16 would change it.

    When it comes to GAA, I’m from Dublin and there’s 31 other counties who all dislike us – that is the extent of the rivalry. Some of the sentimental nationalism that you encounter down south is tied up with the GAA (the names of the stands in Croke park are an example of this) but generally it is a) sentimental and historical rather than in any way serious or committed and b) it is tied to place, to club and county more than anything else.

    Sometimes it seems though that if certain ex football stars had their way, nobody from Ulster would be allowed in Croke park. But thats cos of puke football and the fact they keep winning rather than any of the less important matters. As long as the unionist adoption of GAA is confined to hurling I am sure you will be more than welcome. Armagh and TYrone don’t need any more footballers 😉

  • Democratic

    Fair enough Seedot – thanks for the clarification and the humour injection.

  • maca

    The north could do with a few hurlers anyway. Shame that there’s thousands of young talented protestants who aren’t trying their hand at the sports.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´Sometimes it seems though that if certain ex football stars had their way, nobody from Ulster would be allowed in Croke park´´

    Which stars? Why? I´m not much of a sports fan so I might have missed something but what is this a reference to?

  • Niall

    * ´´Sometimes it seems though that if certain ex football stars had their way, nobody from Ulster would be allowed in Croke park´´

    Which stars? Why? I´m not much of a sports fan so I might have missed something but what is this a reference to?

    Posted by: foreign correspondent at September 29, 2005 04:48 PM*

    an idiot called Pat Spillane who doesn’t like Ulster football ( calling it puke football) or any football other than Kerry football. He can have his own opinion, which I disagree with, but I just don’t understand why the RTE is paying him a salary as there are many better replacements for him.

  • maca

    Spillane is a gobshite, best ignored.

  • willowfield

    Rationalist

    Politics and sport just shouldn’t mix. Full stop.

    If that is what you believe, how can you be such a passionate GAA supporter?

  • dave

    “Politics and sport just shouldn’t mix. Full stop.”

    When you have paramilitary organisations confronting each other at football matches, as happened at Windsor Park during the Irish cup final. politics are the least of our worries at sporting occasions.

    One of those involved in the clashes, was murdered the following week.

  • Bradanfeasa

    Folks: Isn’t it about time we took politics out of sports and religion out of politics on the entire island of Ireland? As for hurling and football, what a tremendous gesture of reconciliation it would be if Dr. Paisley in his role as Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)leader were willing to show up in Croke Park for All Ireland finals in which teams from Northern Ireland were playing. I have no doubt that he would be heartily welcomed by the GAA and the President and Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of the Republic of Ireland. It might even be possible to imagine God Save The Queen being played immediately after Amhran bhFiann to honour Dr. Paisley’s presence. Any spectators who could not bring themselves to utter the British lyrics for that music could always sing the American lyrics for the exact same tune:

    My counry ’tis of thee.
    Sweet land of liberty.
    Of thee I sing.
    etc.

  • maca

    Bradanfeasa
    Personally I don’t think Paisley deserves even a smidgen of such respect.
    However if, for example, a member of the Royal Family (either of Charles’s young lads would be perfect) were to attend a match in Croker then i’d be more than happy to support such a gesture.

  • barnshee

    “regardless of religion, people were able to play GAA sports, and the organisation was not sectarian by design,”

    LOL you could not make it up. An organisation is set up with an ethos that will alienate 20% or more of the people on the Island and “the organisation was not sectarian by design”. Therare none so blind…….