Owen Paterson: “It was a huge pleasure to be part of this great sporting occasion”

Worth noting that yesterday Conservative MP, Owen Paterson, became the first Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to attend the All-Ireland Senior Football Final at Croke Park.

After the match between Down and Cork, Mr Paterson said:

“It was a huge pleasure to be part of this great sporting occasion.

“I really appreciated the warm welcome extended to me and Julian King, the British Ambassador to Ireland, from GAA officials and fans.

“It shows, once again, how relations between the UK and Ireland have been transformed over the years.”

Adds  From the NI Sports Minister, the DUP’s Nelson McCausland

Sports Minister Nelson McCausland today congratulated County Tyrone on winning the minor GAA All-Ireland final, held yesterday at Croke Park.

Speaking after Tyrone’s 1-13 to 1-12 win against Cork in the minors final, the Minister said: “It always pleases me when teams from Northern Ireland are successful in any sport and yesterday’s win is an addition to the great record teams from Northern Ireland have had in the competition in recent years.

“The Tyrone minors have continued their success in the competition, winning their fourth All-Ireland Minor title in ten years.”

, , , , , , ,

  • Cynic

    ….and isn’t it a great pity that Tom Elliott couldn’t show the same magnanimity towards his neighbours or show some ‘interest’ or ‘support’

  • snowstorm

    I am not sure he is the first SOS to be there. Certainly NIO Ministers have attended, if not the SOS.

  • Greenflag

    Ex Taoiseach Bertie Ahern used to go to Old Trafford nearly every other weekend to support Manchester United -what matter ?

    Sorry to see Down lose to the Cork shower 😉 Better luck next time .

  • Glencoppagagh

    Is it not a bit partitionist of the GAA to invite a member of HM Government who exercises responsibility for a substantial part of the island? Or maybe just realist

  • Seymour Major

    Owen Paterson has always been consistent in his view that that the various strands of culture, to which different communities identify in Northern Ireland, should be embraced and celebrated. I remember his expression of dismay that in the unionist community, they were not taking more of an interest in the success of Tyrone. I also believe that if Down had won, the corks would be popping (pun for fun). I think he would have gone down to the dressing room and congratulated the players.

    Owen is a Conservative and a Unionist down to the end of his big toe but he also is not a “them and us” kind of unionist. That kind of unionist politician has not yet properly evolved in Northern Ireland. However, there have been mutations are leading in that direction. Baza is probably the most advanced of those sub-species so far.

  • Alan Maskey

    Owen Patterson and the British ambassador are undoubtedly two of the finest people that walk God’s Earth. But plenty of Down people would have killed (!) for their tickets.

  • Alan Maskey

    In what connection was the British Ambassador there?

  • Freya

    I take it the Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure had another commitment on Sunday?

  • William Markfelt

    HM’s representative of the UK team playing in it?

  • Alan Maskey

    To be fair to Nelson McC, he said he did not go to games on Sunday but that he hoped the UK team would beat the Eire team.
    The Brit Ambassador could only be there as a rep of the UK team. If not, why not invite the Chinese Ambassador or the Russian as well. And I ma sure the Canadian would not say no to a few good tickets.
    The presence of the Brit ambassador could get interesting. Imagine if they insisted on GSTQ or the Union Flag flying at Croker (rename as it might offend them).
    But I guess the GAA, like the Holy RC Church, are playing a bigger game than PSF.

  • Granni Trixie

    Patterson’s act is in stark contrast to the FM and DFM who pettily did not NI at ceremony with Pope/Queen.

    BTW, neither of these dignitaries would be on my Christmas card list (and I did not watch Popes visit on telly!) but I still think it was part of their job to be there.

    Reminds me – didnt Sammy Wilson as Belfast Lord mayor refuse to meet Dali Lama and one of the Clintons on one of their subsequent visits?

  • toker

    A welcome jesture. Pity the unionist representation was so low .Elliot should have been there ,is he trying to out dup the dup .

    What advice is Mike Nesbitt giving him ?? I see he has the wife Linda interviewing elliott on the youtube promotional video.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I would have expected no less of the Secretary of State, Conservatives support all teams from Northern Ireland regardless of what sport they play.

    My problems are he didn’t get me a ticket and Down lost!

  • wild turkey

    “Owen is a Conservative and Unionist down to the end of his big toe but he also is not a “them and us” kind of unionist.”

    if that is the case, and i’ve no reason to question your analysis, that is a refreshing and reassuring step. for what it is worth, i’ve always fancied the idea that at some point in time, the 12th will mutate into a 3 day ( including 14 july bastille day) mid -summer barbeque/clambake featuring spring lamb, moy park chicken, strangford oysters and norn ironland bee. and everybody can relax and enjoy. relax and enjoy.

    a fanatasy? no doubt. i will not live to see it. but my 10 and 11 year old children just might….. and i am sure they would be willing be to defer their 4th of july celebrations for a week or so.

    it is moments like yesterdays down-cork match that remind me how brilliant this little sliver of the planet could be.

    seymour, if you are unionist in your politics, i don’t know, but if you are, kick ass before yours gets kicked by the “them and us” brigade and…ah, good luck

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The boul Owen seems a reasonable egg and although somewhat unacqunaited with matters relating to Ireland as illustrated by the UCUNF fiasco it is good to see him attending and being wamly welcomed and of course it is always a good idea to go at least a bit native when you take up a new job overseas – get to know the blighters and all that.

  • bemused

    >Imagine if they insisted on GSTQ

    I’m sure John Lydon would be happy to get the, um, royalties

  • HeinzGuderian

    Best of luck to him if he could understand what the Hell was going on ??

    The REAL Football was being played at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge…………and will live long in the memory !!! 🙂

  • William Markfelt

    I understand the political implications of attendance/non-attendance, but for the northern media, would the presence of a UUP or DUP leader in a game featuring a northern county be a danger of becoming ‘the main event’, thus overshadowing the team’s achievements in reaching the final?

  • Alan Maskey

    bemused says:20 September 2010 at 10:24 pm>Imagine if they insisted on GSTQ I’m sure John Lydon would be happy to get the, um, royalties

    Now that would get them talking.

    Heinz: The all Ireland, being once a year and even less for Coirk and Down, will be remembered wherever green is worn.

    (or red and white, or red and black for that matter).

  • An Ceide

    Real football?, you mean the sport that is fast becoming a joke, full of over paid prima donna’s who’s main priority is to cheat rather than use their skill to win a match!

    GAA ia an amateur sport in which the best players at county level have normal jobs, most of these guys are probably as fit if not fitter than most premiership footballers.

    Its refreshing to see big strong athletes playing with pride and not rolling around cheating or trying to con the referee for their own gain.

    I’m sure it did not take Owen Paterson too long to understand the basic rules, its easy if you can set your ignorance to one side, I don’t understand all the rules to rugby but enjoy watching it and don’t try to compare it to other similiar sports.

  • Pete Baker

    Adds From the NI Sports Minister, the DUP’s Nelson McCausland

    Sports Minister Nelson McCausland today congratulated County Tyrone on winning the minor GAA All-Ireland final, held yesterday at Croke Park.

    Speaking after Tyrone’s 1-13 to 1-12 win against Cork in the minors final, the Minister said: “It always pleases me when teams from Northern Ireland are successful in any sport and yesterday’s win is an addition to the great record teams from Northern Ireland have had in the competition in recent years.

    “The Tyrone minors have continued their success in the competition, winning their fourth All-Ireland Minor title in ten years.”

  • JR

    Its not rocket science, Over the bar 1 point under the bar 3.

  • CW

    It’s also worth noting that the editorial in today’s Guardian contains a short piece in praise of the GAA:

    On Sunday about 80,000 football fans gathered in Dublin’s Croke Park to watch Cork defeat Down. There was no segregation of supporters, no need for stewards in high-visibility jackets or even police officers. It’s a sport without agents or stars driving Ferraris. Moreover, 85 cents out of every euro that the devotees put into the game is reinvested in grassroots clubs. Football is supposed to be the people’s game in the UK. But the real “people’s sports” are those across the Irish Sea. The Gaelic sports of hurling and Gaelic football represent a real link between people, players and the governing association. Although Gaelic football attracts tens of thousands to its national championship, the players who turn out for Down, Cork and the other 30 counties of Ireland do so on a voluntary basis. A few have formed the Gaelic Players Association in an effort to extract more payments. But the GPA has generally been unsuccessful in creating a professional wage structure. Some stars earn money advertising everything from milk to fertiliser, but the overwhelming majority will turn up for training after a day at the factory or working on the farm. The Gaelic Athletic Association has had many proud achievements of late: the construction of Croke Park stadium, the end of its ban on members of the security forces playing its sports in Northern Ireland, and the generous decision to allow Ireland’s national rugby and soccer teams to use its HQ as a temporary home. But the most notable is the survival of its amateur status. Long may it continue.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/21/in-praise-of-gaelic-sports?CMP=twt_gu

  • nobodno

    I think it is refreshing that a SoS goes to support these type of events. It makes a big difference and helps with community relations.

    Well done Mr. Paterson!

  • Glencoppagagh

    “the end of its ban on members of the security forces playing its sports in Northern Ireland”
    A proud achievement?

    “…and the generous decision to allow Ireland’s national rugby and soccer teams to use its HQ as a temporary home”
    Surely lucrative decision?

  • Alan Maskey

    “Some stars earn money advertising everything from milk to fertiliser, but the overwhelming majority will turn up for training after a day at the factory or working on the farm.”

    Shurely shum mistake. That was the case over 20 years ago, particulalry with hurling. A large percentage now would be accountants, solicitors and other professionals.

  • CW

    True Alan, but then being from the Guardian he obviously sees Ireland as some kind of agro-industrial socialist worker’s utopia!

  • turnpike

    “no segregation of supporters, no need for stewards in high visibility jackets or event police officers”.

    I’ve been to two all-Ireland football finals – no singing/chanting, very subdued atmosphere for 80,000, more atmosphere at your average lower divisions football matches in the UK.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/championship/2010/0923/ringland_elliott_gaa.html

    Interesting words from Trevor Ringland, both frm the point of view of Unionism but also from his ability to get GAA tickets. I wonder how significant are cross sport relations. Obviously Ringland is well in with the IRFU but how well in are IRFU/ex internationals with big GAA names? This could be interesting.

    Of course, Mr Elliot and his mates could insist PSF go to NI internationals on a quid pro quo basis.
    Whilst Trevor Ringland could appreciate any ball game as could a good GAA player, it would be a pity if going to the games of the other side just got institutionalised.

  • CW

    Alan
    I think Tommy’s just bitter because Fermanagh never win anything!
    Unionism (and society in general) could do with more people like Ringland.
    A far as I’m aware the GAA has longstanding links with IRFU in Ulster particularly since Croker opened its doors to rugby. As both ball games are going strong on the island neither organisation poses a threat to the other. So long may the links continue.

  • richiep

    ” no segregation of supporters, no need for stewards in high visibility jackets or event police officers”.

    I’ve been to two all-Ireland football finals – no singing/chanting, very subdued atmosphere for 80,000, more atmosphere at your average lower divisions football matches in the UK. ”

    Reply And there are no Mexican waves either , thank heavens. The reason is that those attending are passionately interested in what’s happening on the pitch.
    I’ve attended thousands of soccer matches at all levels ( just 2 rugby games ) and there have been times when singing or chanting was about the only alternative to falling asleep. Much of the chanting at Premiership games however is not alone obscene but designed to display hate towards the opposition players and fans and is aped bigtime by those attending Airtricity and IFA games.
    I thoroughly enjoyed Croke Park last Sunday ( ok , I admit , the second half ) and had great crack with the Down supporters around me before the game , at half time and afterwards , but there simply isn’t time to talk while the action is taking place. Alan Quirke , the Cork keeper , complimented the Down players for their graciousness on RTE Sunday night.

  • CW

    “And there are no Mexican waves either ”

    You obviously weren’t at the 2003 Tyrone v Armagh final then!

  • CW

    And the irony of that is that this was the first ever All-Ireland final not to feature a “Mexican” team!

  • turnpike

    So a lack of atmosphere is a good thing….ahh, that’s where I was going wrong. People transfixed with the action on the pitch…. what a crock. If only the Tyrone fans were a little less ‘atmospheric’ when they were loudly booing the minutes silence for the victims of the London bombings…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Turnpike

    “If only the Tyrone fans were a little less ‘atmospheric’ when they were loudly booing the minutes silence for the victims of the London bombings…”

    This is a flat-out lie. Pure fiction.

  • richiep

    Turnpike, I detect a little bitterness there. Atmosphere can be defined in many ways , getting caught up in the on the field action rather than venting bile is a helluva lot more “atmosphere ” in my opinion. I simply don’t believe what you said about the London bombings , it would have been flagged all over the place within minutes by people like yourself.

    Anyway, I’m against gaelic games becoming too attractive to foreigners , it’s hard enough to get tickets as it is.