Thy Kingdom Come

The Mourne County is rejoicing following a thrilling semi-final encounter with Kildare which has returned the county’s footballers to the All-Ireland Football Final for the first time since their twin triumphs in the early90s.

In truly dramatic style, Down survived a last second 13-yard free which was heroically pushed onto the crossbar by the outstretched fingertips of a brace of Down players, heralding the sound of the whistle amidst scenes of joy for the Black and Red hordes in Croker. Final Day in September will certainly have a Rebels vs Ulster theme as the  Cork seniors and minors seek double glory against Down and Tyrone.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEt2XdN_TbQ

    The Serbs are with Down? So where does that put Munster? With the Croats?
    ::::::::::::::::::::::
    Plus a “controversial” goal. You should really have had a post lasttime with the other semi final cracker.
    Will Down keep the 100% record?

    Who will th great Eamonn McCann be cheering for?

    http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/anarchism/ireland/people/JohnMcGuffin.html

  • chewnicked

    Tremendous game witha truly nerve-jangling finish. Hard luck to a gallant Kildare team which had no luck on the day- but were nonetheless deservedly beaten by a vibrant Down team. A great player (Earley)was sadly sat on the sidelines watching another great player (Coulter) performing superbly.

    Good to see the red and black flags flying in victory in Belfast City on the County Down side of the Lagan.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    A soft spot for Down dating back 50 years. although Im no longer “allowed” that soft spot.
    Hard not to feel some sympathy for Kildare as clearly the goal should not have stood.
    On the plus side the final is against Cork who always manage to have 31 counties against them…..and half of their own.

  • McCarthy Óg

    I’d have feared Kildare more. Corcaigh abú!

  • Oracle

    One of the worst games in the world after cricket……

    on a par for boredom with Croquet, Dressage, Sumo, Bowls, Skateboarding, Yoga and reading green party literature

  • Kevin Barry

    I was wondering who would be the first person to post something negative on a thread like this.

    Congratulations! Instead of saying something positive about a team from the North doing well, you have to have a go.

    Pathetic

  • Mick Fealty

    Nonsense… Gaelic makes it in just in front of Cricket in my personal league of great games…

    Yesterday’s game was mighty… though they are going to have to close those holes in defence Kildare found towards the end…

    Down should not have had to rely on King’s fingertips to get them through at the end…

  • Alan Maskey

    Shouldn’t a moderator be neutral in all this Dowqn v Cork stuff?

    Also, I owuld be slow to attack bowl or bocce. I don’t want ageing Poms or Italians on my case.

  • Mick Fealty

    So would Down. They’ve done us both a favour.

  • turnpike

    It’s a derivative mess. By taking what looks, on the face of it, like the best bits of footbal and rugby – they’ve ended up with something not as good as both.

    You’d have thought that a few years down the line they’d have come up with an agreed means to tackle the opposition. Culchies (with nothing else better to do) and Nordies (who cling to Gaelic games desperately in order to imagine the border doesn’t exist) are the withering future of these games.

  • Mick Fealty

    Soccer? Hmmm… Item: the World Cup. Item: the Premiership, which as a Man City fan I have to say is becoming a pastiche of itself. Martin O’Neill tried it the legitimate way: ie without a sovereign wealth fund at his back, and got little for his trouble…

  • Rory Carr

    The last six minutes were absolutely heart-stopping. Herself was rummaging through the resuscitation kit and testing the shock paddles in case of need. Yet, elated as I was at Down’s victory it was impossible not to feel Kildare’s loss – that oh-so-nearly-goal in the final seconds deflected by the flying-fickle-finger-of-fate (anyone remember Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In ) attached to Kalum King.

    I think I shall go to the Irish Club in St Albans (the best Irish Club in England by far) to watch the final. Although the Cork men will far outnumber the Down men, all the non-aligned will surely be cheering for Down (even the Kerry men).

  • ulstergeordie

    Oracle says that he dislikesthis code and gets slated by Kevin Barry? Now that really is pathetic…i don’t particularily like tennis so by saying this i am opening myself to critism on this board??? PATHETIC!

  • Rory Carr

    I don’t think that you quite get it, Ulster Geordie. Oracle has invited himself into a celebration and used his presence there to piss on the reason for the party.

    It’s called bad manners. Is this a concept with which you are familiar?

  • I think all of us up north will wish Down all the best in the final.Without wanting to appear too cynical do I detect the early signs of Shinners climbing on a popular bandwagon.Will Gerry and Martin have to buy Down shirts or will Caitriona become a born again Down supporter?It will in any case be good to welcome them all back from their convenient holidays in far flung places!

  • Oracle

    Mick,

    That pot of glue I sent you was for sticking stuff…. not sniffing.

    hurling is a wonderful/great/fantastic/brilliant/fast/exciting/entertaining/courageous game

    those others are… are… err… um.. legitimate targets

  • Mick Fealty

    NO he didn’t. Who called this party, and who says who is not allowed a spake?

  • Mick Fealty

    Down Team of 1991...

    Lest we forget, with all this talk of the heroes of 1960/1

  • Alan Maskey

    “I don’t think that you quite get it, Ulster Geordie. Oracle has invited himself into a celebration and used his presence there to piss on the reason for the party.”

    Maybe it’s going to be a wake:) That is the beauty of sport, all the human emotions writ raw. Growing up listening to the great Micheal O’Heihir, I often wondered how come all these guys died of heart attacks in Croker on all Ireland day. No need to wonder now.

    A great season for the GAA and a pity about the Dubs, and a pity about Kildare and a pity about…..

  • Paul

    “I think all of us up north….” a bit presumptious;)

  • Alan N/ARDS

    I watched a good bit of the match yesterday. It seemed very exciting, especially at the end. Well done to Co Down.

    I’m not really a follower of the game and to be honest I don’t know the rules. What are the rules on tackling? It seemed to me that there were none. Are there any unionists in Co Down who play the game?

  • ArdMhacha

    Absolute nonsense spouted from turnpike.

  • ulstergeordie

    @Rory Carr, what gives you the right to doubt my own manners? I am perfectly aware of what good manners are, its called a good up-bringing and subsequent appreciation of etiquette. What bad manners are is insulting someone you have never met nor indeed know, take a look at yourself before insulting others.

  • ulstergeordie

    @ Alan, this debate is going to open up into a debate about whether Unionists would be welcome at games etc. Rather this is a thread about County Downs great win. For the record, i quite enjoy watching the code, but fear should i ever go to Casement Park etc and if someone asked me where i was from i would not be made to feel very welcome. I now await the same old dissenting voices to tell me that i am wrong etc etc blah blah…

  • ArdMhacha

    Have to say well done to the lads from Down, They are one of the better liked county’s in ulster football, hope they go on and wind the big shiny soup bowl now.

    Yesterday was like classic armagh, never able to kill a game off, nail biting to the end, remember the year we won it when maurice fitzgerald hit the top end of the post right at the end…….few prayers where said to the almighty that day!

    So come the final I will be cheering on down and will get to shout the comical line of ‘Up Down’, never sounds right.

  • ArdMhacha

    You would probably be fine, most people are interested in watching the game but as with all sports there are the clowns who use the match as an excuse to drink themselves stupid.

    Guess it would simply be a toss up between who was asking you the questions, decent fan or pissed up sunshiner who only go’s to the BIG games and is too busy looking for attention to see the game.

    Had to have a few… kind words with a few armagh fans at casement when one of the idiots being pissed, dropped a cider bottle on the steps, lots of young children in that area so the smile was soon wiped of his face when i rared up on him.

    I guess its a case of keeping your eyes and ears open, you can spot the idiots a mile off, but generally if you keep to yourself no one is really going to ask you where your from unless you go to the match wearing a rangers top and keep shouting hand ball everytime one of the players catch’s the ball.

  • John East Belfast

    It brought a smile to my face driving down the Ormeau Road on Sat night and there was a Down flag this side of the bridge “taunting” – the Antrim lads in the Lower Ormeau.
    There is just no respite for the Lower Ormeau !

    Anyhow I am sure all of East Belfast is delighted for their County – I am

  • Alan N/ARDS

    ulstergeordie

    This is the first game I’ve watched since Channel Four screened it in the mid 80’s and I have to say that I enjoyed it. I would also like to say that I would have probably enjoyed playing it as well. But unfortunately it was always seen as a republican game and probably still is seen by unionists as a republican game. I do know that the GAA are trying to reach out to unionists and who knows maybe someday unionists will feel comfortable playing and watching GAA .

    Once again well done CO Down.

  • Alan Maskey

    Just as an aside to our Unionist friends. The GAA, trying to keep sweet with ona and all, give tickets to TDs and what nots from the counties participating. If any elected Co Down Unionist is reading this and they have tickets thy don’t want, I am whatver you want me to be.
    Actually, I have young relatives playing for a prominent Co Down club and they would love the tickets. so if anyone has or gets any of these hen’s teeth……….

  • I’ve been to a few games with people who would be from, eh, outside the typical Casement Park demographic – the only problem any of them had was the sinking realisation that live soccer and rugby are extraordinarily pedestrian by comparison (even more so after hurling) or getting fleeced for a pint at Croke Park.

    Alan – the rules on tackling are purely devised on an ad hoc basis by the referee (I suppose it is all very Catholic). When he has made a bad decision in your favour, you cannot breath the same air as an opponent or he will give them a free, whereas they can perform facial reconstruction surgery on you safe in the knowledge that the refs eyesight has left the building. Once he has made an error against your team, all is reversed and you can happy slap everyone on the opposing team knowing that it is more likely that they will be penalised for impeding the passage of your fist with their face.

    Fair play to Down who may now pass Cavan out as the most successful Ulster county in football.

  • McCarthy Óg

    We have Protestant Unionists who come over from Belfast to the University I’m at in England and many decide to give Gaelic a go, since they don’t get the opportunity in their community normally. As can be easily predicted, none of them feel intimidated/get turned away/are made to say rosaries/denounce British rule in Ireland before every game. All love the game and are essential members of the team. It’s great to see boys from West Belfast playing alongside boys from Bangor in their country’s oldest sport.

  • Rory Carr

    My apologies to Oracle and to Ulster Geordie. It was the post by Turnpike which I found bad-mannered and had wrongly assumed that it was that one to which Ulster Geordie was referring when he cited Oracle’s blog.

    No excuses – profound and abject apologies all round.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    McCarthy Og

    I have no problem with that. I personaly believe that sport of any kind should be above politics and religion. As I said before I watched the All Ireland final once on Channel Four in the 80’s. The only thing that stuck in my mind about the game was the GAA President making a political speech. I decided then that the GAA wasn’t for me. Barry McElduf further politicised the GAA last year during the row about a republican rally at a ground in Tyrone. He said it was the only place that the catholic, republican and gaelic community could hold it in the area. Not good. But I do believe that times have changed or at least changing and hopefully those kind of speeches are a thing of the past.

    I would really like to see unionists embracing the actual game itself. It is fast moving and very skiful ( to my untrained eye). I’m not saying that they should embrace the GAA itself, just the game. Didn’t a recent GAA president talk about the possibility of unionist only clubs being set up to accommodate people who were not comfortable with the natioalist/republican ethos of the GAA. I would be all for it and hope that people with vision in the unionist community would be up for it.

    A former work colleague and friend who has followed Down for over 50 years told me of a conversation he had with a football fan from Cork. They were talking about their respective counties. He told the Cork fan that they were lucky that they could pick their team from the whole county because Down only had half a county to pick from.

  • Should be noted of course that the original Kevin Barry was a handy rugby player and in the most used photo he is wearing his Belevedere College jersey.

  • Well I’m from the north (Armagh to be precise) and I hope they get stuffed in the final. My only regret is our minors won’t be there, as theirs were in ’77, when they happily cheered for Dublin in the seniors.

  • Alan Maskey

    Alan

    Dublin and Antrim have a lot of Catholics, much more than Kerry.
    And as regards Cork, they have a big problem, whose name is Frank Murphy. I hope Roy Keane attends and has a “tunnel incident” word with him.
    The GAA is woven into Irish society to a degree you cannot imagine. KIldare were without Earley one of their top stars. He is a Free State officer.
    His father, Dermot Earley, is one of the greatest footballers never to win an all Ireland. He ended up as Cheif of Staff of the Free State defence forces. He died recently.

    GAA clubs are full of gardai, Branch men and the like, who are encouraged to keep fit and to be socially involved. Several inter county players have been stiffed/murdered/killed by PIRA.
    Clubs, the back bone, are organised at parish level, something the soccer mob have tried to copy. Unlike soccer, thanks to the Christian Brothers and the feeder schools they set up (Yes, I know about Dungannon etc), they have lots of accountants and whatever at grass root level. Professionally run by amateurs.

    Obviously the Provos want to stick their beaks in. All politicians do. Maurice Hayes, the big Crown Catholic, played for Down; Seamas Mallon played for Armagh when it was neither popular nor profitable.

    Though the GAA would be happy to have Unionists playing, they have bigger and more immediate concerns, the most important of which to me is the lop sided nature of hurling.

    Politically, and I hope I am in the overwhelming majority here, a more immediate issue than Unioinists is guys like Frank Murphy. Kildare, for example, were held back for years by a similar yokel.

    Turnpike makes the point that Northerners are big into it as it is a badge of identity. There is a lot of truth in that. The problem for all codes is getitng people to play, not just watch.

    The GAA, love it or hate it, is becoming the code of choice for Ireland’s soccer mums. They are on a roll.

    Is republicanism, Bloody Sunday at Croke Park, Crossmaglen Rangers and the rest important. Yes it is but it is increasongly exclipsed by the here and now.
    PSF and now RSF regularly staged meetings at the GPO on all Ireland eve. Though they would attract a crowd, most people up for the day were up for the crack.

    It is a good weekend to be in Dublin. If you do get a ticket, do go to Dublin but don’t bother going to the game. Give your ticket to me:)

  • Alan N/ARDS

    ArdMhacha

    Speaking of Rangers tops. I noticed a Down fan wearing a Celtic top on Sunday. Would there be many of his sort who would go to the games? Qenuine question!

    I was up in Portstewart over the summer two years ago. I noticed a woman i her 30’s with three children. All boys. the oldest approx. 9 years old was wearing a ROI top. Another boy age approx. 7 was wearing a Celtic top and the youngest age 5? was wearing gaelic top. My wife thought they were a very sporty family.

  • Alan Maskey

    Maybe he thought Shamrock Rovers were playing.

    As regards Portstewart, you would have to feel sorry for the paerent, lobbing out for three jerseys. I personally only wear my club jersey (personal affiliations) and would not be seen dead in any othr British or Irish jersey. Colombia or an African country would be ok though – as long as there was no big anti Colombian continent around.

  • McCarthy Óg

    By “his sort”, do you mean the sort of stereotipical Celtic supporter who boos minutes silences and sings “up the ra”, or do you mean soccer fans? If you mean the former, then yes, there’ll inevitably be people like that there, but they won’t act like they do at Celtic games. The crowds you get at GAA games are more like rugby crowds than soccer crowds in that it’s not segragated, you get more shouting than co ordinated songs and you very rarely get any sort of violence whatsoever.

    Don’t often see soccer tops at games, similar to not seeing GAA tops at soccer games! You see a few though. You see the occasional English Premiership shirt about, and I’ve seen the occasional Ireland/British Lions rugby jersey too.

  • Imelda

    Alan, it was actually a Kildare fan wearing the Celtic top, the tv showed him 2 or 3 times, and in response to the general gist of this thread, I am 100% certain that as a protestant you would have no bother at a GAA match at all. In fact, I would imagine that most people if they knew you were a protestant would go out of their way to be courteous and welcoming to you.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    McCarthy Og

    I have a healthy fear of people who strut about with Celtic or Rangers tops on. Most have never seen “their team” play. They wear them to make a statement like the lady in Portstewart.

    There were people who used to come along to watch Northern Ireland play wearing Rangers tops. Thankfully they have stopped wearing them. I am not a fan of Scottish football and I usually give Rangers and Celtic fans a wide berth.

    In fairness to the fella on Sunday, maybe his Down shirt wasn’t dry.

  • slug

    Isn’t Belfast in Antrim?

  • Mick Fealty

    The imaginary county boundary is the Lagan…

  • McCarthy Óg

    Aye that’s fair enough. I’ve never seen anyone wear a top like that at a GAA game before though, so it’s not the norm by any stretch of the imagination.

    In terms of people being unwelcome at GAA games, in personal experience as a Protestant with an English accent (more obvious to people around than what politics/faith someone has!), I have never had any problems whatsoever, whether at Croke Park or as a part of a team.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    Imelda

    I hadn’t seen your post. I’ll take your word that it was a kildare fan. It’s inmaterial which county he is from. I’m sure that you are right about most fans being welcoming. Saying that most unionists would probably stand out like a sore thumb when the singing of the republics anthem is taking place. It’s not the game which is the problem for unionists like me. It’s the republican/nationalists and indeed catholic ethos to the GAA that I struggle with. The naming of grounds after dead terrorists doesn’t endear unionists to the GAA. As I said before I would like unionists to embrace the game as it would be a game many of young people wpould be good at. Of that I have no doubt.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    I would like to clarify what I mean by catholic ethos. I am lead to believe ( but I could be wrong) that the GAA is based
    around the catholic parish system on the island. I also read Mickey Hartes auto biography “Presence is The Only Thing” were he writes about before one final he took his team to a mass. If there had have been a protestant lad brave enough to play on that team, would he have been sitting on the bus on his own.

    Anyway it’s nearly time for bed. Yes I am a sad git. Just like to say well done the boys in red and black. You did your county proud. You changed this unionists mind about the game and I will be cheering them on next month.

  • RepublicanStones

    Congrats to Down, and if ever a man deserved to appear at the business end of the championship and have his big day at Croker, tis the ‘boul Benny.

    But lets be realistic here folks, the big game you should all be salivating over is the minor final….or do my red hand genes get the better of me?

  • Watcher

    I was at the quarter finals and was surprised at the number of Down supporters cheering for the Dubs against Tyrone – I thought this was a poor show.

    As a Derry man I will always support an Ulster county.

  • Watcher

    Agreed.

    Alan, most people would be delighted to see you attending. Times have changed, the GAA has changed and is changing further.

    You regularly see children of Asian and African heritage now playing – (i’m sure some are Muslims, by which I mean the tradition of 99% Catholic children taking up the game is changing).

    The influx of immigrants has meant that the GAA by its grassroots is evolving and in 5/10 years you will be seeing a much more diverse bunch of players playing.

  • JH

    The steward in front of us at the Ulster final last year was English. Seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the match too! No one cared funnily enough, we were all too focused on the game.

    I agree with the sentiment above that if by some strange turn of events people at the game did work out that you were Protestant, they’d go further to actually make you more welcome. My brother-in-law has been to a few including an all-Ireland final and loves the atmosphere.

    It’s definitely more of a family crowd than the soccer matches, though I experienced my first only a couple of weeks ago in Aviva.

    I honestly wish a few of my Protestant mates from home would bury their prejudice and come enjoy a game with us. I’m positive they’d enjoy it, but sadly they’re not quite there yet. When you blindly look down on a game you’ve never actually watched there’s not a lot to work with.

  • iluvni

    I suspect there’s few who would ‘look down’ on the game itself. No doubt the players are strong and fit, with no shortage of skill.
    Its just a pity GAA isnt simply about the sport though.

    It needs to strip out the politics.

  • Mick Fealty

    One thing I don’t understand, is why does the county badge now need to be emblazoned with the GAA cross? It used to be, well, just the county badge.

  • Ulick

    Imaginary? The Post Office has me in Co Down (Upper Ormeau).

  • Ulick

    It doesn’t, County Boards are free to have whatever county crest they want on one side. The GAA corporate logo (cross went years ago) goes on the other.

  • Ulick

    Oh right, get your meaning now. Presumably for merchandising. People didn’t used to wear replica tops.

  • Alan Maskey

    I wonder how much will this replica thing catch on in (Catholic) Ireland. I have, for example, thimbles, very many of them, of HM the Queen and all her family right back to Henry V111. (Buying and selling them online so lots of free time) Our own dear RIR/UDR etc have lots of souvenir knick knacks. Every British armed forces regiment has them in spades. Yet they seem to be sadly lacking in The Emerald Isle. You would imagine they would be good sellers.

    Alan: The parish system has worked and is now engrained into the system. That is why the soccer crowd have tried to copy it. But there are at least two disconnects with soccer: they do not have professional people running their amateur ranks and the dream is to go to England, not to play for the (local) county.
    The county is, of course, an English invention but it is part and parcel of the GAA. Let’s say the guys travelling from West Cork to Dublin for the ALL Ireland. When they leave Co Cork, they will already be half way to Dublin. Leitrim, on the other hand, has only about 30,000 people, many of whom are blow ins. As for Fermanagh and Derry…..

    As regards the replica jerseys you saw in Portstewart, that Catholic family are a lot out of pocket but no more so than any Protestant family. Celtic, Rangers, Co Down, it makes no difference as long as the kids have good heroes to look up to.
    On hths, I cannot help but think of the two Soham kids who were murdered by that nut case. They each had David Beckham replica jerseys on them. If Beckham or anyone else can bring such joy to kids, I say fair play to him and what he gets paid.
    Paying and the GAA is, of course, another matter.

  • bigchiefally

    Well done to Down.

    Given how many people in Belfast though who either dont care or dont know what County they are in I think we need a new county, Belfast.

    Here is the logic. Few in Belfast identify with their county. Many dont even know their county. Lets be honest when most Belfast people think of Antrim they think of Ballymena, the North coast and Antrim town. When they think of Down they think of Newcastle and the Mourne Mountains.

    Creating a new county means everyone in Belfast doesnt need to know anything about counties and the city might start caring about the sport a bit. Belfast is the only city in Ireland that isnt a county too. It is also the city with the least interest in Gaelic sports in Ireland by a mile, even amongst nationalists it isnt anywhere near as popular as it is in the other cities. I’ve yet to meet a protestant who played a GAA game regularly and only a handful who have been to watch it, but you put a Belfast team on the pitch and a lot more would be willing to cheer them on. I am sure counties and provinces arent the same as they were the first day anyone ever dreamed up the concept, so why not change? Plus it would allow someone to come up with a brand new set of colours and join the rare group of teams that have a decent kit, which would be a great rarity in a sport with such hideous offerings from Antrim, Kerry, Donegal etc

    You know it makes sense.

  • JR

    Was on the hill for the match. Unbelievable atmosphere and a great win.

    Incidentally, I introduced two protestant friends of mine from Kilkeel to Down football about two years ago. The first match we went to was Down V Armagh in Newry. They had a great time and continue to come to matches on and off. They feel totally at ease in the crowd and have never had anything but positive experiences.

    A cousin of mine also married a guy from Nottingham. I bumped into him at croke park on Sunday with his two brothers all decked out in Down gear. (No previous connection to Ireland) they flew over for the match and are busy trying to get tickets for the final.

    If you ever want someone to go to a match with let me know Alan. A good day out guaranteed

  • JR

    I was told at the time that all counties had to adopt a new crest so they could copyright the jersey. I am not sure if this is right or not.

  • Gingray

    Nothing wrong with the Saffron kit! Its awesome in its awfulness.

    I would keep things the way they are, there is something special in Belfast crossing two counties, and its handy for Antrim to build on a mix of city and country.

  • Alan Maskey

    Kolkenny and Waterford have a not dissimilar isdue. There are some very strong club teams in Antrim and they have done well on the national stage.

  • Comrade_Trotsky

    The pride in the county is unbelievable at the minute and it’s great to see the flags going up (although not staying up for long in some cases), but i wonder how many Down fans who braved the cold to travel to the League matches etc will get tickets for the final? The bandwagon is fairly filling up.

    And on a side note – Danny Hughes rather than Marty Clarke deserved MOTM for Sunday’s game.

    Anyways, to end on a happy note – DDLF – Down Don’t Lose Finals. An Dún Abú

  • CW

    With Cork, Down and Tyrone competing in the senior and minor finals, one thing for sure is that there’ll be a hell of a lot of red on display at Croker in a few weeks time.
    Then there’s the old joke about the Russian cosmonaut orbiting the earth in 1968 when Down won. He reported to his superiors that there was a revolution going on in Ireland when he passed over it, as it was full of people waving red flags shouting “Come on Down!”
    Let’s hope that the Rebels are caught red-handed in the minors and they’ll be in mourne-ning after the seniors!

  • ArdMhacha

    DDLF?……lol I remember Armagh giving Down a good pasting at clones in the ulster final, it was a non contest by half time. Hope you win next month though!

  • iCarryduff

    You’re completely right. The mixing of theology and athletics is irrational and unnerving. It’ll be interesting to see how the association’s practises change in the coming decades with, as Watcher says, ‘a much more diverse bunch of players playing’. Members of the CoI, prebyterian, methodist and baptist as well as agnostics and atheists and muslim, hindu, jewish people are all a modern reality in the GAA. The one (RC) size fits all approach should never have been and is probably the main deterant for more pro-integrationalist aware catholic people as well as non-catholics to the associations. Times are changing though. There is a small but increasing number of non-catholics actively involved in the organisation in Northern Ireland nowadays which wouldn’t have been even 15 years ago. It is however ultimately the association’s responsibility to accomadate for all, which I strongly feel they have hitherto neglected. With all due respect, I think it’s simply not a good enough excuse to simply say that they have bigger fish to fry. Thankfully, change is unavoidable. Best of luck for both teams, but particulary those of the kingdom! (I’d support any team from here against any team from elsewhere. Illogical, yes, but it’s Ulster against the world!)

  • JR

    There is also the famous headline from the morning of the 62 final which took place during the cuban missile crisis.

    “Khrushchev backs down”

  • JR

    spoke to a few fans at the match on sunday who said that was their last day out in a down jersey.

  • And isn’t there some (no doubt completely apocryphal) story of Ginsberg or some other counter-culture figurehead visiting Belfast via Dublin in 1968. Passing through County Down with the red and black flags saying “Up Down” he was easily persuaded that NI was in the final stages of an anarchist/counter-culture/libertarian revolution.

  • Alan Maskey

    Here is some information to consider, .
    And from the same source

  • Alan Maskey

    cf my earlier post
    .

  • Alan Maskey

    Who will th great Eamonn McCann be cheering for?

    http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/anarchism/ireland/people/JohnMcGuffin.html

  • Sorry Alan – I hadn’t read that link. Thats the story alright – I’d read it in something else (the Little Book of Irish Anarchism or somewhere).

  • Lamh Dearg Abu

    Down will more than likely overtake Cavan completely as the greatest Gaelic Football team in Ulster. Nobody forget the Red Hands of Tyrone who are in their minor All-Ireland final too.
    Uladh Abú

  • Dave

    Once a guy from Derry made the Ulster schoolboys team and he did not partake in the singing of the sash. Sic transit gloria carota.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ALL-IRELAND-FOOTBALL-FINAL-2010-TICKETS-X2-CORK-V-DOWN-/220662198296?pt=UK_Sports_Memorabilia_ET

    Nelson McCausland says he hopes Down (our team) beats Cork (their team) which is fair enough. However, Nelson will not be going as he does not watch sports on Sundays, which is fair enough.
    Nelson: hit the GAA for some tickets. We love and need you.

    Meanwhile, from a London scalper, two tickets on ebay, buy it now is £500. Current price is £430. Over 19 hours to go so snap it up if you want it.
    The hurling tickets are not far behind. One of the sellers is an Ebay employee. Hopefully the GAA can nail him.

  • I don’t know if thats true – anybody that has played underage football or hurling knows what county they are in. The problem the GAA has in Belfast is that it has so much competition from other sports and that a lot of Belfast residents have parents from other counties (like Tyrone or Armagh or Down) that have been more successful recently in the football and the kids got dragged along to see them instead of Antrim.
    Organisationally the GAA is pretty much as was with some tweaking in hurling due to a disparity in standards. There have been some Belfast-based cross-community initiatives with the schools.

  • Kevin Barry

    How?

    Apologies for being tardy with my response, however, I have had the small matter of Hurricane Earl and no power for 4 days straight.

    What I have a problem with is not that this is a GAA related post, it’s the fact that on a team from the North doing well and getting to a final someone decides to state how they dislike a particular sport. I find it somewhat childish, unbecoming and shitty that someone would choose to do this when instead the focus should be on celebrating their success and asking whether or not they stand of chance of ultimate success.

    Of course, it being NI, it being a GAA related post and my name (not a pseudonym), a whole load of conotations and assumptions are probably made that I am some kind of whacko republican wishing to shout down anyone who does not like the GAA. I perfectly understand if you do not like the sport, I know of many who do not. What I dislike is that someone would take the pro-active step to show their dislike for something during what should be a chance to celebrate a positive achievement.

    My response is as a sports fan, no politics involved. If you happen to have a problem with tennis, that’s your business, I disagree, I don’t see what that has to do with this post.

  • Kevin Barry

    Rory,

    I get what you are trying to say. The point being is this, their is no invites as such to this party, it being the slugger all (for the most part) are welcome.

    What I dislike is someone deciding to act like another Kevin, from Kevin and Perry, and piss on what should be a celebration.

    I am not saying that he should not say what he said, but there is a time and a place and on what many would consider a celebratory thread if he is going to state what he stated he opens himself to criticism for his timing.

  • JimmyJimmy

    Cheer a belfast team? what with Sinn Fein Hijacking it at the first opportunity, you must be joking. Also, Belfast is a football city first and foremost with English and scottish leagues, and Northern Ireland and even Irish league football the talk of the town. Ive often heard it said that Derry is a soccer city too.