Protestant GAA player gives up sport after sectarian abuse…

Gaelic Football has a grace and skill about it that is hard to resist at close quarters. It’s not surprising that despite the cultural chill around some of the flags and symbols, it is played with enthusiasm and passion by some (albeit very few) Protestants. Darren Graham is probably more senior than most of those who have taken up the sport, but he has finally given up playing after taking regular sectarian abuse.

Deirdre Donnelly, the Press Officer for the Fermanagh County Board GAA, told the ‘Herald’ it was the first time she had heard of that form of abuse: “And, I know from talking to other officials, they have never been aware of it. But, certainly, if individuals feel there is an issue, they should bring it to their club and the club should take it to County Board.”

Darren Graham is adamant: ‘unless there is something really done about it and the County Board realise that this is all happening, I am definite, I am not putting on the shirt again’.

For the record, Rule 7(b) of the GAA constitution states clearly: ‘the Association shall be non-sectarian’.

And, in Febraury this year, the GAA President, Nicky Brennan, in the course of an interview for the Church of Ireland Gazette, insisted there was nothing wrong with the GAA that would stop Protestant people joining. Indeed, he suggested the only intimidation might come from their own community.

It begs the question that if the GAA doesn’t actually know this stuff is going on: is this just the tip of a very large iceberg?

  • Kloot

    Yes – if it became a cultural movement and ceased to be a political movement.

    That’s pretty clear Cruimh. Cheers.

  • Cruimh

    Cheers kloot 🙂

  • flaminglip

    It’s more a fault of Northern Irish society than anything else-didn’t an Antrim hurler get sent off this year for reacting to being called a British bastard by a Galway player, but in saying this the GAA in Ulster anyway should help lead the way in stopping this kinda thing. It’s depressing news nonetheless and hopefully the culprits will be caught.

  • Dave

    Unfortunately its difficult to imagine that sectarian abuse will NOT be levelled at Darren Graham. I suspect that there will be support from teammates albeit in a ‘he is not like the other prods’ sort of way. Wlilst it may be abhorrent it is not unexpected. People will find excuses to excuse the inexcusable.
    Darren’s family have suffered more than most from sectarianism, and ignorance and the inexcusable.
    Darren has the capacity to be a real ambassador for the GAA. I dont blame him for not speaking out sooner – he has done more than enough by playing for the team.

    But now the team needs to speak up for Darren. They really heard nothing ? Never a word ? Father and uncles UDR men murdered by the IRA ? Only protestant on the team ?

    Maybe he’s not like ‘the other prods’ but if he aint really one of us anyway …. We all know the scenario … somewhere ….

  • Aaron McDaid

    Dave:
    “Unfortunately its difficult to imagine that sectarian abuse will NOT be levelled at Darren Graham”

    There’s no reason why a Protestant in the GAA should be any more likely to be taunted than anyone else in any organisation.

    Most people in Ireland don’t even know, never mind care about, the religion of their politicians. Most GAA supporters are the same when it comes to the players. Religion simply does not come into it.

    There are some (i.e. too many) sectarian people throughout this island, and it should come as no surprise that they are in all walks of life.

    The GAA must move swiftly on this and return to a non-sectarian status quo.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Aaron M: “There’s no reason why a Protestant in the GAA should be any more likely to be taunted than anyone else in any organisation. ”

    Let us not be naive, Aaron. A Protestant in the GAA comes with a built-in extra target, given the nationalist orientation of the organization and the break-down of nationist and Unionist along sectarian lines.

    In other words, the GAA, or at least a segment of its players and associates, would appear to have at least a minor pre-disposition to toss a few buns in the direction of a Protestant player, particularly were he perceived to not have the same… enthusiasm for nationalist politics or Hunger Strike memorials.

    As much as some in the Unionist community would see this as an opportunity to toss a few starchy treats, their knee-jerk opportunism does *not* mean there is no substance to the accusation or the problem.

    Aaron M: “The GAA must move swiftly on this and return to a non-sectarian status quo.”

    To play devil’s advocate, can you honestly say, given the celebration of the Hunger Strikers and the admittedly unenforced (but still retained) rules, that there was a non-sectarian status quo for them to return to? The awkward yet inevitable conflation of Protestantism with Unionism with being “British” makes this a far more complex issue that some on either side of the sectarian social divide would admit.

  • willowfield

    dewi

    Yes Cruimh the GAA is a nationalist organisation – I don’t think anyone disputes that. What Mr Graham complains about is sectarian abuse, a different matter.

    All depends what you mean by sectarian.

    But regardless, Mr Graham complains of being abused because his father was murdered by the PIRA – since we are told by its supporters that the PIRA wasn’t “sectarian” (ahem), we can assume that this abuse is political in nature and ties in with the GAA’s political nature. Can we?

    KENSEI

    While you are at it, you might want to attempt to get out of the hole you dug that suggested I can’t choose which symbols I want to represent me.

    You can choose whatever symbols you want to represent you – if that’s what you’re into. Fly the Southern tricolour from your house and wrap yourself in it when you go out to the shops. But if the organisers of the St Patrick’s Day parade choose to display the Southern flag, then they are choosing an inappropriate symbol and won’t achieve support from the wider community. St Patrick is the patron saint of the whole of Ireland: not just the South; and of all Irish people: not just nationalists.

  • páid

    Good test for the GAA this.

    Fermanagh’s traditional poor showing at Gaelic football has been attributed to the county being “half water and half Protestants”.

    They now have a chance to do something about it, and I’m not talking about the water.

    Or they could come with a hundred cowardly excuses about “official complaints”, “slagging only to be expected”, “what about NI soccer team?” etc.

    Peter Quinn has a chance to show leadership here.

  • Realist

    The damning words of Darren Graham.

    “As regards Protestants playing gaelic, I think I am the only one throughout the county that I know is Protestant who is playing that sport. Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of other players who have a Protestant mother/father, but were brought up as Catholics, but I think I am the only true Protestant”

    The stated (potitical) desire of the GAA to see a, so called, “united” Ireland, doesn’t seem to be working in Fermanagh.

    None (zip, zero, zilch, sweet fa) of the people they wish to be “united” with, play GAA in Fermanagh.

    The ONE that did – the bigots forced away.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Willowfield: “But regardless, Mr Graham complains of being abused because his father was murdered by the PIRA – since we are told by its supporters that the PIRA wasn’t “sectarian” (ahem), we can assume that this abuse is political in nature and ties in with the GAA’s political nature. Can we? ”

    To be brutally honest, I would suspect that “the source” of Mr. Graham’s abuse is not singular in nature. Taunting one’s opponent, despite its unsportsman-like nature, is likely as old as competition as sport. Depending on the source, it could be sectarian player or players (a few bad oranges… pardon, *apples*, do not spoil the whole barrel, leastwise according to some…), player or players with a greater interest in victory than sportsmanship, or the simply could be shmucks. Taunts need not be sincere, so long as they are efficacious.

    That said, regardless of the sincerity or the lack thereof behind the taunts, this sort of behavior should be addressed in the harshest possible manner.

  • Dewi

    “A couple of games, perhaps, somebody would mention something about my father or my uncles, but it wasn’t that really. It was more, ‘black bastard’ and, ‘you’re a Protestant, you shouldn’t be playing gaelic sport.”

    Willow – above from article referring to his youth football – abuse mostly religious – no indication in rest of article if more recent abuse was to do with family deaths.

    No less acceptable of course – sectarian I take to mean religion which officially (in that famous constitution) the GAA is not.

  • Todd

    Can people please distinquish between prod and Unionist when referring to this issue or else clearly mention the 6 counties, as this is not a problem in the 26.

    Anyone and everyone plays it here…

  • Cruimh

    Todd – isn’t that partitionist of you ? 😉

  • Todd

    Yes abit of a contradiction isn’t it. 🙂

  • Cruimh

    How are things re the immigrant community in the ROI ? Do many join/participate? Obviously the whole nationalism thing won’t be a negative for them but presumably it isn’t a positive either?

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris:

    “Suggesting this incident may be the tip of a ‘very large iceberg’ doesn’t really square with the facts”…

    Poor phrasing on my part. I was thinking more of the “7/8 hidden mass” principle, rather than ‘a very big thing’.

    Nowadays GAA is conducted in a very public and shared space (TV), rather than something that just one section of the community goes off to do (privately) together every Sunday.

    As such, perhaps previously water tight assumptions of commonality on political issues (not directly related to the conduct of the sport) between supporters, players and officials are directly challenged by such incidents, no matter how isolated (or otherwise) they might be?

    As this story demonstrates, Protestants don’t need to want to play GAA in large numbers before this has the potential to be an embarrassing (and possibly retarding) issue for the organisation at large.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    As an aside, it would appear that, in the states, hurling is suffering a slow death. Apparently, without actual Irishmen to play it, most of the GAA clubs there are withering on the vine — the GAA’s success in the states is too tied to US immigration policy and the Irish economy.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118541380907978494.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  • chewnic

    Realist,
    An interesting quote on The Our Wee Country Webite from a staunch NI fan from Fermanagh who knows Darron well on a personal level. This poster, as you know, is no friend of the GAA.

    ‘I have to say I’m totally shocked by this story. Not because of what DG faced, but some of the quotes attributed to him. I worked with him for years in ‘skea & it being the kind of place it is you get to know quite a bit about folks… His history is particularly well known given his family’s tragic circumstances.

    That said, for him to describe himself as a Protestant is amazing, as throughout our friendship, I don’t recall him ever declaring himself such. He was the product of a mixed marriage, and whilst he went to a state school, I doubt he’d have had much religious instruction of the Reformation type… particularly after his father died. Indeed there were all sorts of rumours about the nature of his father’s death & the timing of it in local areas which wouldn’t be right to repeat but cast an interesting light on his upbringing.

    The RC’s in our work place where very supportive of him in my experience, particularly around his GAAGAA and indeed football connections in the area. I’m unsurprised that in his hometown areas he didn’t get any grief.’

    Methinks the media have been too busy knocking themselves down in the rush to stick the boot into the GAA, that they failed to proper;y investigate this story.

  • Cruimh

    “As an aside, it would appear that, in the states, hurling is suffering a slow death.”

    Shouldn’t that please the GAA? After all it IS a foreign sport over there ? 😉

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Cruimh: “Shouldn’t that please the GAA? After all it IS a foreign sport over there ? 😉 ”

    I’m not all that certain *anything* beyond their neighbor’s misery makes anyone in NI “pleased.” So much effort is made to look each look as bad as the next — its like a basket of live crustaceans — no need to put a lid on, since if any one of them gets too far ahead, the rest of the lot will pull ‘im back down.

  • The Penguin

    Must say, I was very impressed with a GAA supporter – possibly member – from Co Antrim who rang Talkback today. The man was shaking with rage at this young man’s treatment and laid into the GAA heirarchy big time.

    Little did he, nor the GAA, probably, realise it, but he did more for the GAA’s image than any amount of spin doctors ever could.

    It’s a wonder Mr GAA himself, Barry MacAlduff, didn’t ring in – or then again, maybe not.

  • Realist

    “Methinks the media have been too busy knocking themselves down in the rush to stick the boot into the GAA, that they failed to proper;y investigate this story”

    chewnic,

    As a Northern Ireland fan, I know all about media mis representation.

    The substance of this story cannot be deflected away from tho.

    The theological beliefs of the fella’s mother are not up for debate.

    It the sectarianism suffered by the player himself that is the story.

    PS. The poster you refer to is certainly not anti GAA – he would follow the fortunes of the Fermanagh county GAA teams.

  • chewnic

    Realist,
    the odd thing arising from the piece submitted by your fellow fan was that Darron would appear to have not described himself as a Protestant before now. From other reports, it would appear that Darron is well able to dish out stick as well as taking it.
    As a perceived victim of media misrepresentaion, it is therefore illuminating that you have nonetheless chosen to stick the boot into the GAA early doors

  • Cruimh

    “From other reports, it would appear that Darron is well able to dish out stick as well as taking it.”

    Can you elaborate ?

  • true gael

    Realist we don’t want to be united with YOU, we want our national territory back again in a unified, indivisible form. I don’t care that this boy is out, do the GAA really want the son of the member of a Brit death squad playing anyway? deep down i know they don’t and I’m glad.
    Ask Aiden McAnespie’s family if they want him or any other Prods playing I think I know the answer you’ll get. we catholics spend too much time talking about wanting to get on with Prods when we all know thats nonsense..there’s no reforming those people they are beyond the pale. let’s keep our organisations of which we are proud pure of them, any true GAA fan who claims they want it any other way is lying, and they know it’s safe to say when it’s never going to happen. the prods should simply give us back our land and if they stay here abide by the wishes of the majority..the gaelic way of life is not something you can opt to pursue, it is a birth right. leave the rabble to their sordid marching season its all they’re good for at the end of the day.

  • Dewi

    Yeah Chewnic – there’s a fair bit of innuendo in your last couple of posts.

  • From other reports, it would appear that Darron is well able to dish out stick as well as taking it.

    Chewnic
    Any links?

  • Dewi

    “there’s no reforming those people they are beyond the pale….”

    Intentionally ironic or not that made me laugh.

  • chewnic

    My first post merely reflected the views of a NI soccer fan on the ‘ Our Wee Country’ site.My second post was drawn from a GAA site in which like most players of a tough sport, Darron was described as being more than able to hold his own on the physical and verbal sides of the game.
    All unsubstantiated I know. My point being that media reports on this are equally unsubstantiated as only Mr. Gibson’s views were sought by the media.

  • Realist

    “As a perceived victim of media misrepresentaion, it is therefore illuminating that you have nonetheless chosen to stick the boot into the GAA early doors”

    I believe the boot should be stuck into the sectarian bigots within it – metaphorically speaking.

    To those within the GAA who strive to eradicate sectarianism, bigotry and intolerance from within it’s ranks, I stand shoulder to shoulder.

    The radicals within the GAA will realise that one cannot “unite” Ireland by alienating a section of the people of Ireland.

    They will be deeply angry and hurt at this news today.

    It seems that some Gaels in Fermanagh cannot even bear to have a “Prod” (or half a Prod, as the case may be!) about the place.

    I would suggest to you that they will never “unite” Ireland – they merely ensure that it will never be “united”.

  • My point being that media reports on this are equally unsubstantiated as only Mr. Gibson’s views were sought by the media

    Well, no, that’s not actually the case.
    Both his club and the county secretary are quoted in the report- they say they were unaware of any sectarianism directed towards him.

  • Dewi

    Sorry Chewnic must have missed something – who is Mr Gibson ?

  • chewnic

    Realist,
    You are right in saying that sectarian attitudes and behaviour in sport serve only to alinate those on the receiving end of the abuse. NI soccer supporters once had a very poor reputation in this regard. However thanks to good work done by true NI fans, this problem is greatly reduced and hopefully will be eradicated soon.
    I have no doubt that the true Gaels within the GAA will deal severely if sectarian abuse against this man can be proven.

  • chewnic

    apologies meant, Darren GRAHAM

  • Cruimh

    chewnic – it looked suspiciously as though you were trying to smear Darren Graham.

  • chewnic

    Cruimh,
    As stated previously,I merely conveyed the views of a source that would not be sympathetic to the GAA.

  • tom

    ‘To those within the GAA who strive to eradicate sectarianism, bigotry and intolerance from within it’s ranks, I stand shoulder to shoulder.’

    Realist

    How can you say that when you stand shoulder to shoulder with thousands of bigots chanting ‘no surrender’ at Windsor Park ?

  • Cruimh

    “As stated previously,I merely conveyed the views of a source that would not be sympathetic to the GAA. ”

    With what intent ?

  • Realist

    “it looked suspiciously as though you were trying to smear Darren Graham”

    Cruimh,

    It’s interesting that the bigots within the Northern Ireland support who brought shame on the majority of our fans used the “sure Lennon was no angel himself” excuse when justifying their actions – even tho there was irrefutable evidence on video to show that Lennon was no angel.

    Sectarianism is wrong – whether it’s a Protestant or a Catholic on the receiving end.

    It is the enemy that needs to be destroyed – not the GAA, not the IFA.

    The main problem I have is the utter refusal by some to be allowed judge the GAA and some of it’s it’s followers by the same criteria they judge us as Northern Ireland football supporters.

    The bravery of Graham is to be admired – I’m quite sure he will face the wrath of many of the more bigoted/fascist element within the ranks of Fermanagh Gaels in consequence of these revelations.

  • chewnic

    With the intent of highlighting a different angle to the story from an unusual source-don’t shoot the messenger…

  • chewnic

    Realist, to be fair, I do give due credit to NI fans for the good work done. I was not aware that there was still a problem with the ‘No Surrender’ chants at Windsor. Can you confirm that I am indeed right on this one.

  • Todd

    Cruimh,
    Going back to your earlier question regarding immigrants playing the sport,

    They do if they started in the primary schools, probably not if they came to the country and started in secondary, and not least the problem that it takes years to develop the skills needed to complete for the various teams.

    Even seasoned hurlers need a few months to get back to proper hurling after the winter layoff in clubs…

  • slug

    In Graham Norton’s autobiography he said it really was worse being protestant than being gay, growing up in the part of Ireland he came from.

  • Cruimh

    Realist – I’ve said it before – people here demand that their community be judged by it’s best and that the other community be judged by it’s worst.

  • Realist

    chewnic,

    “I was not aware that there was still a problem with the ‘No Surrender’ chants at Windsor”

    Regretably, a sizeable minority of Northern Ireland fans continue to bastardise the National Anthem of the United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a “No Surrender” add on in the middle of it.

    As an avid reader of the OWC fans site, you must have noticed the numerous threads (some very lenghty) on the subject?

    Akin to the minority of ROI fans who tarnish “The Fields” with political/sectarian add ons.

    Wholly inappropriate.

    Back on track tho – I hope the incidents referred today today give the GAA hierarchy a kick up the backside regarding the work they need to do within their organisation to eradicate bigotry, intolerance and sectarianism.

    A disease of wider Northern Irish society that has found it’s way into sport.

  • Realist

    “people here demand that their community be judged by it’s best and that the other community be judged by it’s worst”

    So very true Cruimh.

    To happy to hide behind sectarianism by pointing the finger at “the other side”, rather than tackling the enemy that cripples both communities – sectarianism.

  • chewnic

    Realist,
    I haven’t been to an NI game before but I will be attending the Leichtenstein game in a few week along with a friend from work who is an avid fan.

    I am looking forward to a good game in a non-sectarian environment and I’ll be cheering for a home win.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Cruimh: ” people here demand that their community be judged by it’s best and that the other community be judged by it’s worst. ”

    Are you suggesting your feet aren’t made of the same clay?

    A more honest assessment is that a communities are judged on the most obvious and memorable members of their community — the negative is more memorable than the positive and the obvious more memorable than the subtle.

    Realist: “To happy to hide behind sectarianism by pointing the finger at “the other side”, rather than tackling the enemy that cripples both communities – sectarianism. ”

    On the other hand, there are those who wish “the other side” to believe “their” sectarianism is limited to a few bad actors within otherwise fine upstanding institutions whilst “themmun’s” sectarianism is deep in the core identity of that community and its institutions.

    Just as the argument cut both ways, there is little chance that even individuals of good-will will take “advice” about sectarianism from folks who are wholly uninterested in the problems in their own community.

  • Cruimh

    “Are you suggesting your feet aren’t made of the same clay? ”

    No,

    You’ll have to try harder mo chara!

    But It’ll have to wait for a response as now I am off for a night of utter debauchery.

  • Realist

    chewnic,

    That’s great to hear.

    I hope you thoroughly enjoy the occassion, and that you witness another three points in the bag for Northern Ireland.

    If you’re perturbed about the Anthem, with the disrespectful add ons, just stay outside until it’s over.

    Maybe you would be so good as to come back onto Slugger and relate your experiences after the game?

    I’m very concerned about my bank balance to be honest – what with trips to Latvia, Iceland, Sweden and Spain coming up before Christmas.

    Worth every last penny tho, to see players from both communities representing this little part of the world with pride and passion – against the odds!

  • chewnic

    Realist,
    Slightly taken aback that you suggest I stay outside the ground until the anthem’s over but I suppose you didn’t intend this to read like it does. I will gladly recount my experiences on Slugger after the game.

  • Realist

    “Slightly taken aback that you suggest I stay outside the ground until the anthem’s over but I suppose you didn’t intend this to read like it does”

    chewnic,

    Just pointing out that if you have any objections to the Anthem, it’s not compulsary that you join in.

    Nothing sinister intended in what I said at all.

    Plenty of fans give it a bye ball before going in to take their seat.

    Plenty of others stand for it, but don’t sing it – including some players.

    Enjoy the day – I’m certainly looking forward to it.

  • dave

    Aaron:

    ‘There’s no reason why a Protestant in the GAA should be any more likely to be taunted than anyone else in any organisation

    I’m in total agreement that there is no reason. There is equally no reason to taunt black players but it is more likely. Actually ‘True Gael’ makes my point very succintly.

  • mount m

    ‘Just pointing out that if you have any objections to the Anthem, it’s not compulsary that you join in.’

    So its an inclusive occasion at n.i games as long as you stand to the English anthem while the flag of the disgraced sectarian Stormont regime is flown.

    Perhaps the very few Taigs who attend the games should use the old ‘ stick your fingers in your ears’ routine during the unionist anthem, then squint their eyes, so as not to see the unionist flag and pretend that ‘no surrender’ is an old Spandau Ballet tune and not a sectarian loyalist chant.

    Any ideas how we can explain the ‘ulster’ songs only referring to 6 counties of the 9 counties ??

    Maybe the sash, dambusters & billy boy tunes could be accompanied with a tin whistle, in the interests of equality !!

  • Michael Robinson

    People with objections to the NI anthem at the Liechtenstein game are going to be doubly offended by the Liechtenstein anthem 🙂

    You can listen to it here:
    http://www.liechtenstein.li/en/mp3-fl-lik-landeshymne.mp3

  • páid

    So some doubt has been cast on whether Mr Graham is a ‘true prod’.

    i.e. The number of prods playing GAA in Fermanagh may be one or it may indeed be zero.

    A target of twenty by 2010 would seem appropriate.

    Mr Fealty is correct and the winners of the new struggle will be the successful includers, not the excluders.

  • Outsider

    Jim

    How many members of the IFA are also in the OO?

    Regarding Darren Graham I think hes making a big deal out of this, he only joined so he could say Im the only prod in town, nows its back fired, hes really only got himself to blame.

  • sammaguire

    As a GAA supporter I was very disappointed to read about how this player was treated. It’s not typical of the GAA despite what some people like to think.

  • Twelve Monkeys

    He looked a bit silly during the news report what with all the staging, throwing his GAA tops into the cupboard in anger, his 15 minutes of fame looked a bit fishy.

  • George Gay

    Maybe all he needs is a big hug and a succulent Provo.

  • George Gay

    http://u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?id=38692&pt=s

    He’s bringing up his daughter a Catholic. I hope she doesn’t get it when she takes to camogie, Jack Charlton’s favourtie game.

  • WateverRiiiite!

    there are Prods in the teams in Donegal….Cavan…and monaghan….The problem of course as I see it as someone from donegal..is the GAA guys from the north, they come over the Border at the weekend and wreck the place…they are so anti protestant (among other things.. ruff and violent) its so stupid…They are so stupid..

    Im glad he spoke out…Idiots need a mirror held up to their face!!! never have i ever cared what religion a player was!!!…

    Northern catholics….really really need to loose the Superiority complex about being catholic and in the GAA…The south has! There is no advantage in GAA…Whoever is the most skilfull is the best…This has nothing to do with religion…

    The Northern attitude is typical…What else should people expect from people with Neanderthal like IQ’s….Worse thing is, they give the nice ones a bad name! Wolfe tone, Parnell, and Sam Maguire himself was a protestant! among many others….

    i hope the GAA bans those players for life…Just to sned a shot across the waters…No room for scumbags in the GAA. i hope he wont quit altogether! But i wouldnt blame him…

    Prods in…scumbags Out (of the GAA)
    PLEASE.

  • USa

    Hopefully the GAA will investigate and if truth be found in the allegations then firm action should be taken against any sectarian abuse. Respect to the young man Mr. Graham, I hope he continues to play the sport. His case would be greatly helped if others (team mates) came forward with corroborating testimony.
    As i’m sure you are all aware this is not just a GAA problem, unfortunately sectarian attitudes are widespread in the “wee six”.
    I am not a GAA fan but I have a hope that they will deal with this sectarian issue a lot better than other institutions in the “wee six”.
    Based on what I have recently read about Mr Graham he has my respect and sincere good wishes. Young men like him are an example to us all.
    PS…a lot of you guys were totally off topic on this thread, go have your sectarian squabbles somewhere else.

  • Hogan from County Tyrone

    As someone who is a fan of GAA i do believe that if they are to progress in any sense to eradicate sectarianism from the organisation they have to look at who leads their various structures.

    I remember having the misfortune to be at the 2004 Ulster Final, the first one held in Croke Park, when the Ulster Council Chairman was giving the speech (paraphrasing him) he said something along the lines of ‘people said we shouldn’t have the final in Croke Park, well the Ulster GAA suffered in the troubles, Sean Brown, Aidan McAnespie, that’s why we have the right to be here’ etc.

    I remember praying that the speech wasn’t being broadcast on RTE into the homes of whatever progressive protestant sports fans in the North that happened to be watching.

    That day I thought the organisation went back 10 years in its quest to reach out to other traditions.

    As a constitutional Nationalist i believe all sectarian murder is wrong. But the Ulster Council should have known better than put a gobshite such as this at the microphone that day. It was real braveheart stuff.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “The same is obviously true of the, thankfully dwindling, number of loyalist sympathisers who like to nurse a sectarian grudge upon showing their ‘support’ for the NI football team by singing ‘No Surrender’ etc at Windsor Park.”
    Posted by Diluted Orange on Aug 01, 2007 @ 01:38 PM

    Sectarianism is “a narrow-minded adherence to a particular sect or party or denomination”.
    How then is it sectarian to sing “No Surrender” during the Queen? “No Surrender” is not a pejorative term for a Roman Catholic, nor is it a derogatory term for the Pope – we’re not shouting “Fuck The Pope” or “Kill All Taigs” now are we! I cannot see in any way how it promotes the Protestant faith as the one true faith at the expense of the Roman Catholic faith, unlike the crude sectarian bigotry heard from the Pope in a recent speech. It is, pure and simple, an act of defiance against IRA ethnic cleansers who tried to bomb, shoot and butcher Protestants and RC’s who didn’t subscribe to the Provies’ Aryan ideals of Irishness. Yes, the chant will ultimately go and politics should have no place in sport but I take umbrage with the assertion that “No Surrender” is a sectarian chant when it obviously does not fit the “criteria”…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “Or being banned from being a member of the KKK because you’re Catholic or Black.”

    Posted by Oliver Cromwell on Aug 01, 2007 @ 01:46 PM

    How does an organisation that was founded across the Atlantic, which has no support base in Ulster, equate to Protestants being unable to take part in Gaelic games? Protestants here play no part in the KKK so why are you making cheap shots and trying to tar all Protestants with the racist brush AGAIN Cromwell? Stick to the subject and stop your pathetic attempts at point-scoring…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    This guy’s point is weakened by the LVF/UUP diehards like Michael Shilliday who are all too eager to jump on the bandwagon. Given his family history, he is a man apart. But Fermanagh hurling is not up to much. Any player will get baited at a game and to expect the GAA to police low level shit like this is ludicrous. Ye would realise that if ye ever played anytihng more than pocket billiards.
    What is the opposition to do? Spread their defence wide open like a H Block arse so he can walz on through. If it puts him off his game, theywill do it. Ditto any sport, anywhere.

    Posted by George Gay on Aug 01, 2007 @ 01:48 PM

    You need a good kick in the teeth. It might give you a bit of perspective Gay. Sectarianism, or any form of bigotry for that matter, has no place in any sport and to trivialise it like you have just done makes you just as bad as the non-educated neanderthals who goaded this brave young man over the deaths of family members who died keeping Ulster free from IRA fascistic murderers…

  • Mick

    See the topic above, and now check out the definition of Whataboutery?

  • Dublin GAA

    Personally I’d love to see more northern Protestants involved in the GAA and I think it would be a tremendous benefit to the entire gaelic games community. Fair play to Darren Graham for raising this. There is no room for sectarianism within the GAA. On a related point, with the incresed coverage of hurling and football on UTV and the BBC are more Protestants taking an interest in the GAA or cheering on their home county? I’d love to think so.

  • George Gay

    Concerned Loyalist: Go out and play a game, any fucking game, except orienteering and you might learn something about baiting. As you have no interest in GAA, not even in point scoring, you should maintain a dignified silence, assuming your allegience alows you to do that. And, as regards your threat of violence, at least it is not the physical violence Concenred Loyalists have dished out to GAA members and non fascist Protestants like John Turnley.

    Dublin GAA: You don’t get it, do you? You wil lbe standing on Hill 16 along with 85,000 other fair weather Dubs. Your dreams will be in the hands of 15-20 Dublin players and Paul Caffrey. You need 20-25 good players, not 200,000 UVF heads. Geddit? Let the UVF heads drink cheap beer in Benidorm, howl to the moon for Rangers and shag themselves silly. Silverware is won by the elect so to ask the GAA or the IRFU to throw open their doors is silly. Unless you want to be the bridesmaid, never the bride. You might look nice in white.

  • Ms Wiz

    People aren’t going to get into a sport if they don’t have the opportunity to play it. When I was at QUB I would have loved to have played gaelic games and membership of the society was open to anyone even if they’d never played before. But never having played and not knowing the rules meant I probably would have sucked big time.

    Protestants in NI don’t get the opportunity to play gaelic games. If you’re school doesn’t offer it and you don’t have any mates outside school who play then by the time you leave school at 16 or 18 you’ll be in the same position I was – even if you wanted to take it up at that point you’ll be total crap at it. So you don’t bother. It’s like trying to play football for the first time when you’re 16 when most of your peers have been kicking around since they were wee kids.

    Likewise I would have liked to have played rugby at school but we only had cricket and football. And no-one I knew growing up played or watched rugby so now it’s alien to me.

    What are the chances of gaelic games being on the curriculum at state schools? Pipe dream?

  • páid

    Message to Croke Park.

    See the post above.

    Read it and weep.

  • Objectivist

    In Graham Norton’s autobiography he said it really was worse being protestant than being gay, growing up in the part of Ireland he came from.

    In an interview in 2003 G.N. when asked what it was like growing up as a Protestant in West Cork answered ‘I quite liked it’
    Another excerpt from the interview:
    IGNFF: Were there the same frictions in the South, as there were in the North?

    NORTON: No, not at all, because everyone just got on it with it.There was no conflict.
    Then again autobiographies don’t sell by waxing lyrical about your idyllic childhood.

  • Outsider

    As has been said before Darren Graham does not represent the Protestant community of NI. He has really turned his back on his own Protestant culture and is fairly typical of 99.99% of Protestants partisipating in the GAA. Translated this means he fits a certains criteria, non practicing Protestant, married to a Catholic, bring his children up as catholic and a non member of the loyal orders and Protestant bands.

    Darrens little winge in the Newsletter today did not exactly endear himself to the Unionist/Protestant community, and community he has clearly shunned long ago.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Would Neil Lennon be safe to make an international comeback? errr – no.

    Posted by the doc on Aug 01, 2007 @ 01:51 PM

    He’s past it and wouldn’t even make the squad so it’s irrelevant…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “And, as regards your threat of violence, at least it is not the physical violence Concenred Loyalists have dished out to GAA members and non fascist Protestants like John Turnley.”

    Turnley was executed in Carnlough by the UFF because he was an INLA member and strategist in the renegade faction and the Chairman of the seditious Irish Independence Party. The INLA signed his death warrant when they blew up Airey Neave in the Commons car park a year earlier…hardly a beacon of humanity now was he?

  • kensei

    “Darrens little winge in the Newsletter today did not exactly endear himself to the Unionist/Protestant community, and community he has clearly shunned long ago.”

    So, he’s not Prod enough so it is ok for him to be abused? He should be instead abused for not being Prod enough? What is your point?

    I’d suggest Darren is possibly 99.9% of 6 county GAA Prods, period 😛

  • chewnic

    Concerned Loyalist, on the one hand you present yourself as a non-sectarian Northern Ireland supporter, suitably outraged at the treatment of Mr. Graham.
    In the next breath ,you casually condone paramilitary murder by loyalist terrorists.

    Obviously, you are one of the old school of Northern Ireland fans that we are told, don’t exist anymore according to ace delusionists, Realist and Willowfield.

  • Realist

    “Obviously, you are one of the old school of Northern Ireland fans that we are told, don’t exist anymore according to ace delusionists, Realist and Willowfield”

    chewnic,

    On the contrary, I have often stated on this board that it is inevitable that amongst the Northern Ireland fanbase there will be supporters of loyalist paramilitary groupings.

    I’m also quite sure that there are supporters of republican paramilitary groupings amongst the GAA fraternity.

    I would also bet my bottom dollar that supporters of various paramilitary groupings also support various other football teams.

    Perhaps you will desist from misrepresenting me?

  • Realist

    “Would Neil Lennon be safe to make an international comeback?”

    He recognises, endorses and applauds change.

    For that, he gets my respect.

  • chewnic

    Realist, You are right that there remains a significant underbelly of sectarian die-hards within the NI fanbase but not all are hiding in the shadows. Indeed on a certain NI fans Website this week, I note that reference is made to ‘taigs’ at games. Sad to see that Site Admin has failed to remove this grossly offensive term. I’m sure you would agree on that? I’ll see for myself in a couple of weeks and will take you up on your invitation to report back.

  • Martin Luther

    “Turnley was executed in Carnlough by the UFF because he was an INLA member and strategist in the renegade faction and the Chairman of the seditious Irish Independence Party. The INLA signed his death warrant when they blew up Airey Neave in the Commons car park a year earlier…hardly a beacon of humanity now was he?

    Posted by Concerned Loyalist on Aug 03, 2007 @ 05:03 PM

    Good to know the INLA killed Turnley, whose only crime was not loyalty. Let’s salute the men who brought the war home to the IIP and the GAA.

  • Realist

    “Indeed on a certain NI fans Website this week, I note that reference is made to ‘taigs’ at games”

    What site was that on chewni?

    “You are right that there remains a significant underbelly of sectarian die-hards within the NI fanbase but not all are hiding in the shadows”

    Yes – like are within the fanbases of many football teams, and the GAA membership. I’m sure similarly sectarian comments would be found on sports boards of a nationalist/republican hue.

    Northern Ireland fans will continue to strive to ensure that the sectarianism is left at the turnstiles at Northern Ireland matches.

  • Outsider

    So, he’s not Prod enough so it is ok for him to be abused? He should be instead abused for not being Prod enough? What is your point?

    I’d suggest Darren is possibly 99.9% of 6 county GAA Prods, period 😛

    What I said was hes chosen that way of life, he should at least have the guts to endure it.

  • Realist

    “What I said was hes chosen that way of life, he should at least have the guts to endure it”

    What? “Endure” prolonged sectarian abuse?

  • Outsider

    What? “Endure” prolonged sectarian abuse?

    He knew what he was getting into before he joined, besides hes not a Protestant so I am confused as to why he is being abused.

  • Realist

    “He knew what he was getting into before he joined”

    What was he “getting into”?