McGuinness wants to support Northern Irish football team?

Erm, don’t tell Squinter [aye, like he didn’t know already – ed], but Martin McGuinness is contemplating a reciprocation the First Minister’s visit to watch the McKenna Cup final last weekend…

Martin McGuinness has revealed he would cheer on the Northern Ireland football team and hopes to get the chance on a visit to Windsor Park.

With many nationalists hostile to the international team, viewing its home stadium in south Belfast as a cold house for Catholics, the remarks from the Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister potentially represent another landmark in improving cross-community relations.

  • I get the impression that theres a certain amount of Spoofing going on all round.
    Peter Robinson attends GAA matches. Tom Elliott doesnt and Martin McGuinness is a Norn Iron supporter.

    Somehow I doubt it. Martin means it.
    Id rather listen to Barry McElduff spoofing than Martin.
    Personally Id not support the “team in green” at Windsor Park if our wee country was drawn against the Satanic Host.

    And Squinter, Barry, Caral, Marty and mainstream nationalists feel the same way.
    The notion that the Extremists are the new Moderates is a bit of a stretch.

  • “another landmark in improving cross-community relations”

    Rev Ray Davey, one of the founders of the Corrymeela Community, was a CCR pathfinder around fifty years ago when he invited Catholic students at QUB, Belfast, to avail of the Presbyterian student facilities. Bishop Tony Farquhar later became a close associate of Ray’s in their global travels.

    ‘Outreach’ comes dropping slow for the more extreme forms of pan-Unionism and pan-Nationalism – better late than never. It may not even be possible for some of the families and friends of those who perished and others who were traumatised.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The stadium isn’t really a cold house for Catholics, fair enough its in the Village and like many segregated areas there would be a small minority of thugs trying to make a name for themselves, but the university students in the Balmoral walk by it without incident.

    They care more about bringing in employment to this part of the world, rather than Martin McGuinness’s apartitionist favouritism towards both of the teams of the Irish nation he identifies with … and fair play to him.

    But to highlight the point FJP was making, I don’t think that being moderate is measured simply by ones own acceptance and tolerance but rather your ability to tackle and challenge, your ability to moderate the fears and insecurities of others.

    Whether this gesture resonates in either community will be a greater measure than any opinion posted on this thread. Frankly, I doubt it will have much.

  • dodrade

    The debates over flags and emblems at Windsor Park are red herrings. The question is can you genuinely support a team when the logical outcome of the fulfillment of your political aspirations means the team would no longer exist?

  • PaulT

    Fitz, it ain’t spoofing, its understanding that the union is not weakened by by Peter going to a GAA game neither is the goal (no pun) of a united lost by going to Windsor Park.

    Or by supporting the Police and Fireman Games (eh Mick!)

    Ye all whine that they don’t do anything about a shared future but as soon as they show leadership in it ye whine even more,

    Bit like Micks never ending demands for transparancy on SF salaries which than disappeared in a puff of smoke in Donegal a week ago and not a mention on Slugger about it!

  • PaulT

    whoops “united Ireland”

  • FuturePhysicist

    dodrade (profile) 1 February 2012 at 6:32 pm
    The debates over flags and emblems at Windsor Park are red herrings. The question is can you genuinely support a team when the logical outcome of the fulfillment of your political aspirations means the team would no longer exist?
    ———————————————————————————–
    Rather foolish, basically before 1990, a West German could either want German unity or support West Germany but not both? What really would have been wrong if a West German supported East Germany on the odd occasion?

  • FuturePhysicist

    and vice versa of course.

  • Mick Fealty

    PT:

    Contributions are welcome; trolling is not.

  • DT123

    So it is comparable for Maritin McGuinness to go and watch a mixed team of Catholics and Protestants(representing the country of which he is DFM) , playing a sport played by both communities ,where there are already a notable number of Catholic supporters.To Robbo going to watch two exclusively RC teams ,with exclusively RC support,playing an ostensibly RC sport?

    Yet the IFA are deemed sectarian and the GAA a shining beacon of tolerance.Reciprocation? I think not.

  • Mick Fealty

    Touché!!

  • Jimmy Sands

    The question is can you genuinely support a team when the logical outcome of the fulfillment of your political aspirations means the team would no longer exist?

    This doesn’t follow. States may have more than one team, the UK being the obvious example, but assuming you’re right why would the IFA rather than the FAI be dissolved? Not only is the IFA the senior body but it enjoys, as the FAI does not founder member staus on the IFAB, the footballing equivalent of a permanent seat on the Security Council..Why give that up?

  • galloglaigh

    DT123

    To Robbo going to watch two exclusively RC teams ,with exclusively RC support,playing an ostensibly RC sport?

    I wonder when County ‘The Vatican’ will win the All Ireland football final? Such a sectarian viewpoint!

    Can you quantify your claims with figures. In other words, do you have the figures that show both Derry and Tyrone’s football players are exclusively Catholic (as opposed to perhaps Protestant, secular, or otherwise).

    Maybe you could shed some light as to how the GAA has exclusive ‘RC’ support (as opposed to perhaps Protestant, secular, or otherwise). Have you conducted a survey?

    Indeed you could shed some light as to how Gaelic football is an ostensibly ‘RC’ sport (as opposed to perhaps Protestant, secular, or otherwise)? Can you give examples please?

  • FuturePhysicist

    DT123 (profile) 1 February 2012 at 6:52 pm
    So it is comparable for Maritin McGuinness to go and watch a mixed team of Catholics and Protestants(representing the country of which he is DFM) , playing a sport played by both communities ,where there are already a notable number of Catholic supporters.To Robbo going to watch two exclusively RC teams ,with exclusively RC support,playing an ostensibly RC sport?

    Yet the IFA are deemed sectarian and the GAA a shining beacon of tolerance.Reciprocation? I think not.
    ——————————————————————————-

    Well you yourself are drawing a comparison, if I were to go watch a lacross game supporting the Lakota nation and they were to watch a “soccer game” here, would the fact that not more Lakota people play soccer than Irish and British play Lacross really be an issue?

    Also for reference GAA is not exclusive to Catholics, Republicans or Irish people.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The question is can you genuinely support a team when the logical outcome of the fulfillment of your political aspirations means the team would no longer exist?

    This doesn’t follow. States may have more than one team, the UK being the obvious example, but assuming you’re right why would the IFA rather than the FAI be dissolved? Not only is the IFA the senior body but it enjoys, as the FAI does not founder member staus on the IFAB, the footballing equivalent of a permanent seat on the Security Council..Why give that up?

    By senior I assume you mean older. I wouldn’t have any qualms about the FAI being dissolved if their was a unified administration for a unified team but of course you would have the Belfast vs. Dublin problems resurfacing again. As for the IFAB seat, while it is shocking that little NI has more clout on deciding the rules than 50 non-permanent IRAB nations, take your pick from the top 53 ranked sides without NI, Wales,Scotland and England or UEFA without NI, Wales, Scotland and England … the fact that three of these nations struggle to make the top 50 and one is 87th at the moment, that they are European and confined to a small proportion of the globe, it perhaps may not be seen to be fair that the rules of global game of over 210 nations is controlled or vetoed by so few nations

  • This GAA/Norn Iron stuff is a bit like a localised version of “Ping Pong Diplomacy”

  • Red Rob

    “Personally Id not support the “team in green” at Windsor Park if our wee country was drawn against the Satanic Host. ”

    Why is this FJH?

    Why do people like yourself try to politicise sport in this country?

    I enjoy watching our international soccer team but, as a passionate sportsman, I have also enjoyed watching Ireland play rugby at Croke Park and attended an All Ireland Hurling semi-final at Croke Park.

    In recent times Windsor Park on an international night has been a throbbing cauldron of sporting passion with nothing to offend anyone who does not go out of their way to be offended.

    Windsor park is not “in the Village.” One exit leads onto Boucher Road, another onto Donegall Avenue and a rail bridge links the stadium with the Lisburn Road.

    Time for people to enjoy our rich sporting traditions for what they are and stop criticising to score cheap political points. If Martin wants to pay a visit I am sure he would be made very welcome as the DCAL Minister was at a recent game.

  • Mark

    Maybe Robbo might start supporting Ulster in the European Cup and maybe just maybe a trip to the Aviva for an Ireland match ? . McGuinness and Robinson certainly seem to be making an effort and that’s to be commended . Sports has the ability to unite ……

  • FuturePhysicist

    Why do people like yourself try to politicise sport in this country?

    You can’t kick the politics out of the football in some regard, there’s always a minority that ruin things for the majority, whether its GAA pitch invaders or drinking GAWA fans of rival teams getting into an argument. Often politics really has nothing to do with it.

    A bit of competitiveness, rivalry and even Schadenfreude isn’t a bad thing. When Ian McCrea talked about how he hoped that Tyrone and Londonderry would lose to Donegal, I was happy enough he took an interest. As to Tom Elliot shunning Trevor Ringland’s offer of GAA tickets, as foolish as he was throwing himself into the spotlight over both issues “GAA and GAY”.

    I think had Ringland offered me free cricket tickets to watch Ireland play a match against England I would probably squirm my way out of it, even if somehow Ireland pulled it off again. Since I don’t really understand the rules I probably would be bored. I think no one in the Nationalist community cared whether or not he’d go to be honest.

    To be honest here it’s not my place to judge people, I haven’t seen a GAA or local football game in a long time, both IFA and GAA clubs are struggling to make ends meet and perhaps having a few politicians politicising or rather depoliticising the issue could bring in a few extra curious supporters for each.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Maybe Robbo might start supporting Ulster in the European Cup and maybe just maybe a trip to the Aviva for an Ireland match ? . McGuinness and Robinson certainly seem to be making an effort and that’s to be commended . Sports has the ability to unite ……

    Yeah I’ve heard rumours that open Eurosceptic, Peter Robinson supports Europe in the Ryder Cup, and that Irish Nationalist Martin McGuinness supports the British and Irish Lions. Don’t speak them too loudly though.

  • Chris Donnelly

    A sensible move by the DFM at this stage.

    There’s little to lose and plenty to gain by making such gestures at this stage.

    With the football eligibility row now belonging to the past (though there’s still some from the OWC who think otherwise), McGuinness knows his move- like that of the DCAL Minister- can’t be effectively ‘used against them’ and, besides, it is but another step consistent with the outreach strategy based on the concept of equality and mutual respect.

    One Machiavellian interpretation would be that both Martin and Peter know that these grand gestures further entrench their parties in the middle ground of nationalism and unionism respectively, at a time when their political opponents appear to be frantically digging to reach rock bottom…..

  • Mark

    McGuinness is on record saying how he supported the English cricket team during a recent Ashes series . He seems a genuine sportsfan and is probably is little more at ease than Robbo .

    With the London Olympics coming up in the summer , there will be plenty of opportunites for politicans to ” shine ” .

  • stewart1

    No big deal in Robinson attending a GAA game or McGuinness attending a game at Windsor park in the bigger scheme of things.

    Perhaps it’s a small step in acknowledging our differences.

    Peter as a Unionist will never be a big follower of Gaelic games (as is the case for the majority of Unionists) and Martin will never be a big fan of the IFA team (as is the case for the majority of Nationalists).

    Acceptance of difference is perhaps the way forward.

    Surely any eegit can see that both communities will always continue to differ over their allegiances, and thus sport will always be a common divider.

  • BluesJazz

    I asked before
    Has Martin McGuinness actually been to a Test Match?
    Presumably not or we would have heard. Good to know he can afford the full Sky package on the average industrial wage.
    The big challenge now, in sporting terms, is for Peter to go to a Glasgow Celtic game and Martin to go to Glasgow Rangers.
    Because that’s where the hearts of their opposite constituents really lie. On the mainland.

  • “little to lose and plenty to gain by making such gestures at this stage”

    Not exactly bold ‘gestures’ by either Peter or Martin, Chris. Is Martin even less bold than Peter? Do the DUP get to make the first tentative moves? Edwin Poots led the way in 2008 followed in 2011 by Carál Ní Chuilín in their roles as DCAL ministers.

  • jonno99

    Martin McGuinness attending a NI game at Windsor park is not the beginning of a new rapprochement. The nationalist community will continue to support/favour a team that more represents All Ireland and not a hived off part of it.

    Attending the NI game is a gesture. Similarly Peter Robinson attending a GAA game is unlikely to see the unionist community en mass follow or take up Gaelic football or hurling.

  • Mick Fealty

    Don’t underestimate the power of gesture. These moments are not about personal epiphany, they are about granting social permissions to others. I remember a conversation with a taxi driver from Atown qwho had lived in London for 17 years where he developed a real passion for cricket. Since hed come home, he felt like iit was a dirty secret he could not share with friends and neighbours.

    Reciprocation or no, these gestures can have a powerful liberating effect for individuals. One Small Step personified: http://www.onesmallstepcampaign.org/

  • DT123

    galloglaigh….

    I’ll do you a deal, I’ll name you RC players who have turned out for NI and you name me ANY Protestants who played for ANY of the NI county GAA teams in the McKenna Cup.

    The spoofing that goes on amongst GAA people with regard to it’s supposed inclusivity is laughable ,to anyone living in this country.I live in south Tyrone,I play golf with a lot of GAA supporters ,there is “not a prod about the place”.I don’t really care about that,just don’t try to make it out ,as something that it isn’t.

    Granted in the Republic,there are a number of non RC’s who play the sports but the numbers in the North ,are obviously pitiful,to non existent.

  • Dec

    ‘Since hed come home, he felt like iit was a dirty secret he could not share with friends and neighbours.’

    Sure because nobody on the falls has heard of Shane Warne. I’ve had arguments about cricket in the Rock Bar in my time and a few of my muckers played cricket in the City cemetary in their youth (carryouts for wickets etc). The notion that any mention of ‘garrison sport’ in Nationalist areas is verboten is just crap imo.

    Sorry id my tone is a bit bolshy but this perception is plain wrong.

  • Mick Fealty

    I hear what you’re saying Dec, but ‘perception is truth’ is a golden mantra in marketing. I suspect in this case (it was ten years ago and much closer to the end of the Troubles than now) it was borne of fear.

    Perhaps it arises from misunderstanding of what is and what is not socially acceptable, but I suspect it comes from a much time when saying the wrong thing in the wrong place to the wrong people could in fact end with dire consequences.

    The point is that it is these fearful perceptions that shift when leaders like Robinson and McGuinness tell people very publicly it is okay for nationalists to support Northern Ireland and Unionists to follow (if not actually join) the GAA.

    None of us come with identikit sets of values, even and almost particularly colleagues within the same political parties. The proper condition of peace time should enable citizens to individuate (as Carl Jung might have put it).

    I think I said before that the if the first Catholic public representative were to emerge from the DUP any time soon, he might be well advised to keep his/her caman handy to deal with some of the attitudes still preveilent amongst party colleagues.

    That has to change, if there’s to be anyway out of this prisoners dilemma, and on both sides.

  • Barnshee

    “galloglaigh….

    I’ll do you a deal, I’ll name you RC players who have turned out for NI and you name me ANY Protestants who played for ANY of the NI county GAA teams in the McKenna Cup.”

    Its gone very quite as happens here when unanswerable comments are posted

  • Neil

    “Personally Id not support the “team in green” at Windsor Park if our wee country was drawn against the Satanic Host. ”

    Why is this FJH?

    Why do people like yourself try to politicise sport in this country?

    Of course it seems to some like the cursed Nationalists have politicised football here, but a quick google and a scan through wiki suggest that ten years ago Neil Lennon quit international football due to death threats emanating from NI’s Loyalist fans.

    And that goes on back through the eighties apparantly, Neil was not the only one. The stadium is generally recognised to be a fairly intimidating place for Nationalists, the suggestion that ‘it’s not in the village’ is laughable. That’s exactly where it is. Not far from where a young fella from the markets was viciously beaten and left for dead a few weeks back.

    Any Loyalist who fails to accept the fact that trotting out to the strains of the English national anthem, with Union Jacks fluttering and the occasional chant of no surrender is not intimidating for a young Nationalist player needs their head looked at.

    But the primary point, it’s not FJH who politicises football, nor me (and I wouldn’t support the NI football team either, being 32 county Irish, I’ll stick to the 32 county Ireland team), it was the Loyalist dickheads who up until ten years ago were threatening to kill their own players because they were brought up in a slightly different branch of Christianity.

    And additional kudos to the IFA who, being more or less as wilfully misuderstanding of NI Nationalists as their average fan, decided to try to force kids who wanted nothing to do with them to play for them. That should help a few more kids coming through make their minds up about which side to turn out for. The Village, Union Jacks, chants. and potential death threats or Dublin, your national flag, anthem and fans who support you for your football as opposed to hate you for your faith.

  • Neil

    Its gone very quite as happens here when unanswerable comments are posted

    I know little of GAA, though it would be helpful if GAA fans were to issue death threats to their players of the wrong faith, a la NI Fan style, then when they’re plastered all over the front pages I might remember their names.

  • PaulT

    ‘perception is truth’ is a golden mantra in marketing

    Indeed Mick, yet perception is borne from sensory information, for which I’m not aware of any such sensory information of any note or quantity been available that would induce this state of fear in the poor man.

    But for once you are been coy with the details, was this mans fear borne out of the fact that he was the No1 fan of the England and Wales Cricket team or that he loved the sport that back then saw England regularily trashed (when they won the Ashes in 2005 it was 16 years since their last victory)

    Cos, the thing is, I find it hard to believe that republicans showed no interest in Ireland spanking the West Indies in Sion Mills in 1969, a team featuring Gerry Duffy from Leinster, O’Riordan who learned his Cricket at Belvedere College (Jesuits), not to forget the great Podge Huges another Jackeen

    Nay, sorry Mick, I’m reading your post again scratching my chin and I think I’ll file it under your similar attempt at doing this with Rugby and Kyran Bracken,

  • PaulT

    “The point is that it is these fearful perceptions that shift when leaders like Robinson and McGuinness tell people very publicly it is okay for nationalists to support Northern Ireland and Unionists to follow (if not actually join) the GAA.”

    Which to avoid your standard “Trolling” reply, the point is the above only works when the naysayers like you are exposed

  • Chris Donnelly

    Barnshee
    That’d be a case of comparing apples with oranges.

    Soccer is a global sport, whereas Gaelic Games are more common to other sports restricted in appeal to specific countries (though if Ireland had an Empire that may not have been the case….)

    You’re also making the mistake of failing to recognise that many people of a catholic background have played for Northern Ireland ‘in spite of’ the prejudices they faced- something which reflects will on those individuals, not the people seeking to make it a less favourable option for them.

    With regards to Mick and Dec’s spat, I think to suggest people feared voicing opinions on specific sports is something of a stretch, though obviously not for said taxi driver.

    I attended school in west Belfast in the 80s/ early 90s and would’ve participated in many discussions about cricket, rugby and hockey with pupils and staff- a group of us even managed to get tickets and attend the famously heartbreaking loss to Australia in the ’93 Rugby World Cup in Lansdowne.

    That was a period of time when I was regularly getting a multiple tickets for Republic matches for fellow pupils in the shed of a stadium that was the old Lansdowne…..those were the days!

    This is a good news story which, like Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Dublin’s Croke Park and the Garden of Remembrance and McGuinness’ work in Derry with the much maligned Rev Latimer, send out positive messages which strike the right chord with people for a variety of reasons.

    That it is something which McGuinness and Robinson will be remembered for- and not a coalition of the ‘middle-ground’ which many others longed for- indicates how comfortable the OFMDFM partnership are in the current political climate.

  • Roy Walsh

    Mick, ‘yellow card’, you’re making a point with no substance, unless you can advise which of the two finalists the First Minister was supporting last weekend, londonDerry perhaps?
    the Deputy First Minister will in all probability attend a game at Linfields grounds but whether he supports the six county team is entirely another matter.

  • The simple answer to the question (its not a statement)”Martin McGuinness wants to support a Northern Ireland football team?” is No of course he doesnt.

    If he actually did or if Peter Robinson actually wanted to go to a GAA match, the criticism from within DUP and SF would be deafening. As there is no criticism, we can assume that its all ………tactics.

    Rather like Richard Nixon went to China……Robinson and McGuinness have more ease at attending such fixtures as a UUP or SDLP rival.
    Its just a pecualiar game of “I am more moderate than he is…..and we are both moderate” and we can outflank our tribal rivals.
    The short term aspiration is to neutralise their tribal rivals.
    And the long term aspiration……to kill off unionism with a charm offensive…..and to kill off nationalism with a charm offensve is too risible to consider.

    I cant answer any question for “anyone like me”. All I know is that I hate loathe and despise the Norn Iron football team and Norn Iron itself.
    The object of nationalism is to destroy the union ……not accomadate it……..and thats the object of unionism…to destroy nationalism.

    So anything that gives comfort to the enemy (unionism and lets get alongerism) is not in my gift.
    Whisper it………but Martin McGuinness feels exactly the same way. So does every nationalist………deep down.

  • Just for the record…..cricket was played in West Belfast streets in the 1960s. And our little team of schoolkids ….from a mixed street in the area (yes there was mixed streets) played in the street. One of the parents made a “wicket”. We also played in Falls Park, (and Botanic Park) and nobody bothered us.
    A friend from Divis Street played for the Norn Iron Civil Service cricket team.
    And another….again from Divis Street played for their second or third team in the early 1970s.

    Its stereotypical Englishness possibly turns a lot of people off but certainly Id happily sit up all night to watch the Ashes. No big deal.

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    Spat with Dec? I would not dare!!

    Nothing I’ve said contradicts what Dec said (though I would like to hear more about those arguments re cricket he mentioned). And I’m genuinely sorry if my response I gave that impression.

    On the details (as best I can remember them), it was early March 2003 when I was still doing the fieldwork for The Long Peace project.

    The guy in question, I think, it was a long time ago, said he’d been in England for 17 years and had got himself involved with the local village cricket team. HIs passion arose from playing it there, he’d never engaged in it before leaving home.

    There’s not much else to say other than he thought it best to keep love for the sport quiet. I imagine if he’d lived in the area throughout the troubles and had never left he’d have known that everyone knew he had been a cricket head from school on, and would also know nothing more would come of other than a stupid argument down the pub.

    Now, he may be an outlier. But I don’t think that’s critical for the limited purpose of my argument here. I suspect there were multiple reasons people’s choices over sport over the period of the Troubles. But change they did.

    What’s sound about McGuinness and Robinson doing this stuff is that its coming from the top table that it’s okay to be different.

  • JR

    The Queen speaking Irish, Robo going to a GAA match, MMG going to a NI match, it is all positive. I see from the comments above that there are still people who believe the Northern Ireland football is not for Catholics and the GAA is not for Protestants.

  • Dec

    ‘Spat with Dec? I would not dare!!’

    Too right, pal! :]

    As for the tone of the arguments, nothing too detailed, who’d you rather have in your team, ‘Lara vs Warne’ and so on. But I do recall watching the epic 1999 CWC semi with Australia v SA on the Fort Bar on the Springfield Road. Great sport will engage any audience.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The big challenge now, in sporting terms, is for Peter to go to a Glasgow Celtic game and Martin to go to Glasgow Rangers

    They could simply go to the Old Firm where Celtic supporters meet Rangers supporters all the time, assuming even if DUP Leader and the People’s President have that much of an interest in going to SPL games or have any feelings towards the Glasgow teams at all. I’m sure Derry City vs. Glentoran would be much more up their street, a modest Setanta game or freindly involving those who really need the money … erm not that Rangers or Celtic don’t need money, Rangers in particular.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Though of course bringing the Old Firm here and having it go off peacefully would be a major statement to outside investors.

  • galloglaigh

    DT123

    That’s a very good attempt at avoiding the question. You claim that the GAA is made up of “exclusively RC teams ,with exclusively RC support,playing an ostensibly RC sport.

    Then you shift the goal posts by asking me to name players from “ANY of the NI county GAA teams“.

    I’ll do you a deal: Before you post a comment next time, read it thoroughly and ask yourself the question “How will others see my post, and how will others opposed to my opinion reply to it”? After that, we can do all the deals you want. Now back to the original post, which you have still failed to address!

    Barnshee

    I’ve just gone over my previous comments, and had a look at the debates you and I have both had. Believe it or not, all of them end in me asking a question of you, or returning a comment to you – and as usual you seem to be unable to answer or return a reply. Here’s one for you to chew on in the interim: and the silence – I shall enjoy!

  • Mick Fealty

    Well the GAA are involved in initiatives like A Game of Three Halves with the IFA and the IRFU. And there have been some attempts in Belfast to ensure outreach.

    Historically in Holywood we did have Protestant players, but mostly as last minute subs when we were a man down. I remember talking to the manager in the early nineties, I think, and him being very doubtful that corporately the GAA was ready to make the changes necessary to help bring Protestants into the game as active participants.

    Well it is changing, slowly but surely. Yet, with the exception of the Down association, the Ulster counties seem to be amongst the most reluctant to understand the need for some form of rapprochement.

  • DT123

    Neil;

    Do you have evidence of these “loyalists” who threatened Neil Lennon?To the best of my knowledge ,it was an anonymous phone call,it could never have been republicans seeking to discredit the IFA and it’s fans could it?

    I don’t know who threatened Lennon,but nor do you ,but feel free to imply that you do anyway.

    Galloglaigh;

    Do the GAA keep records of the religion of their members? If not ,we’ll just have to make assumptions.However,no GAA fan when challenged can ever provide any evidence to the contrary.It’s a bit like telling me to prove God exists.

    There are however no shortage of RC footballers playing for Northern Ireland and indeed I’m sure half of all the amateur footballers in NI are RC.

    If the only defence that the GAA has that it is non sectarian is to say “prove it”,then I think that says it all.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick and Dec

    I used the term ‘Spat’ in the most benign sense of the word…..;>

  • Dixie Elliott

    And meanwhile the PSNI have snuck the RUC in the back door after millions were paid to leave them in the ‘bad old days’. Then there’s the peace loving British spending more millions on wars…

    I think Marty and Pete’s crusade is more about pulling the wool over those affected by the cuts they are pushing through on behalf of the Torys than showing each others houses off.

    They could have done this back in the 1970s ffs….

  • galloglaigh

    DT123

    That’s a very good attempt at avoiding the question again. You claim that the GAA is made up of “exclusively RC teams ,with exclusively RC support,playing an ostensibly RC sport“.

    Then you shift the goal posts by asking me to name players from “ANY of the NI county GAA teams“.

    What you are trying to say, is that N.Ireland is the only region of Ireland, where the GAA is mistrusted by some Protestants (maybe more than some in fairness)? The GAA is working hard to change that. After all many of its founding members were Protestants! Maybe you could do what ‘Robbo’ did, and at least go to a match and see it for yourself?

  • Mick Fealty

    Maybe you could offer to host him/her?

  • Mick Fealty

    Roy,

    It’s not a perfect match, I’ve conceded that already. On your other point, the DFM clarifies that here: http://www.derryjournal.com/news/local/county-derry/martin_mcguinness_would_cheer_northern_ireland_at_windsor_1_3475252

  • DT123

    galloglaigh..

    I have been to two All Ireland semi finals.My accountant is in with the “great ans the good” of the Tyrone set up and freebeed a few of his golfing/business associates to the games.

    A similar drinking session to a NI match or Ireland rugby match,however it was very much as an outsider at a family wedding.

    I have no problem ,with the GAA and it’s players and supporters.I just don’t like people trying to bluff those that know no better into thinking it is not an Irish/Gaelic/Nationalist/Republican/RC organisation.

  • Mick Fealty

    Gallo?

  • Chris Donnelly

    I just don’t like people trying to bluff those that know no better into thinking it is not an Irish/Gaelic/Nationalist/Republican/RC organisation.

    DT12….

    There’s no doubt that the GAA is proudly rooted in Irish culture, though the RC label is quite a stretch.

    But there’s also no doubt that the Northern Ireland international side- and troubled history of the IFA post-partition – reflects the fact that both were reflective of a unionist mindset- heck, even protestant if you want to examine the history of opposition to Sunday soccer.

    Sporting allegiance – in many parts of the world- is intertwined with political and cultural identities.

    But for many supporters and players involved with the GAA and Northern Ireland soccer, it’s the game they love and nothing more.

    What the political elites of the DUP and Sinn Fein are showing at present is that both acknowledge the need to respect ‘the other’ as they are, an important step in cultivating a more tolerant society.

  • “though the RC label is quite a stretch”

    Not too much of a stretch when you look at the role of Archbishop Croke and the use of the Catholic parish as a building block. Patrick McDevitt looks at the roots in “Muscular Catholicism: Nationalism, Masculinity and Gaelic Team Sports, 1884–1916 [Wiley Online Library]

  • Mark

    One need only look to the events in Eygpt in the past 48 hours to realise how politics and sport not only go hand in hand but also has the potential for deadly consequences . Allegations that former Mubarack’s supporters being behind the violence won’t go away .

  • galloglaigh

    Mick

    Sorry, I’m only realising that your comment was for me. I’d be happy to accommodate anyone from Slugger’s unionist tradition wishing to attend a Gaelic match. Just ask, and your wish will be my command!

  • stewart1

    David Healy posing with UDA boss Jackie McDonald is hardly likely to change perceptions of the IFA and Windsor Park.

    http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4100851/Rangers-star-and-UDA-boss.html

  • Mark

    Stewart1 ,

    And thats makes McGuinness’s gesture all the remarkable because there have been some serious incidents down the years .

  • Mark

    Martin cant win ,

    It wasn’t too long ago if memory serves that David McNarry was giving out yards about the DFM’s interest or expressed interest in cricket ….

  • Mick Fealty

    Mark,

    “Martin cant win”

    Are you reading the same thread as me?

    Stewart,

    You’re forgetting this one

  • babyface finlayson

    Chris
    Not sure how you could consider the ‘RC label’ to be quite a stretch”, when it is a sport predominately played by those of the Catholic persuasion. Not much stretching required.

  • Mark

    An poor attempt at sarcasm with the McNarry thing . I think he’s playing a blinder and I also think it’s genuine . I don’t buy the points scoring angle at all .

  • giantstairs

    DT123

    So it is comparable for Maritin McGuinness to go and watch a mixed team of Catholics and Protestants(representing the country of which he is DFM) , playing a sport played by both communities ,where there are already a notable number of Catholic supporters.To Robbo going to watch two exclusively RC teams ,with exclusively RC support,playing an ostensibly RC sport?

    It’s very true that the analogy is faulty. The Northern Ireland football team is much less sectarian in principle than the GAA is. In principle the Northern Ireland football team is no more sectarian than the Northern Ireland Archery Society or the Northern Ireland Amateur Astronomy Society, whereas the GAA promotes a particular ethnic minority identity in principle and in practice has promoted the ethos of a particular minority religion.

    Martin McGuinness attending an Orange Order march would be more analogous to Peter Robinson attending GAA. It wouldn’t be a perfect analogy either but it would be a closer analogy to the one being made. One might say that Protestants are allowed to play GAA but Catholics are not allowed to join the Orange Order, but I might counter that by saying that a Catholic can still choose to join the Orange Order and even become a Grand Chaplain like William McDermott, just as a Protestant can, through making certain choices, eventually aspire to be the Pope, whereas there is absolutely no way that I can choose to make my ancestors Gaelic as opposed to Lowland Scots / English. I may be able to choose to be Irish but I cannot choose to be Gaelic.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Not sure how you could consider the ‘RC label’ to be quite a stretch”, when it is a sport predominately played by those of the Catholic persuasion. Not much stretching required.

    babyface
    The Northern Ireland soccer team is ‘predominantly’ supported by protestants. Sports like rugby and cricket are ‘predominantly’ played by protestants in ths same jurisdiction, and indeed a quick glance at any post-primary schools’ list of sports taught at a competitive level will reinforce the point.

    That does not make the sporting organisations ‘protestant.’

    On a similar vein, I note a DUP councillor in Belfast claiming that protestants are ‘under-represented’ in the boxing fraternity in the city.

    Quite apart from the MOPEish aspect of that assertion, by your logic, that makes boxing ‘catholic!’

  • galloglaigh

    Mick

    If it’s good enough for Mary McAleese, it’s good enough for David Healey!

  • babyface finlayson

    Chris
    I don’t know why you mention soccer and boxing at all. How do they have any bearing on whether or not the GAA is a Catholic organisation?
    As far as I know the historic links to the Catholic church are clear.
    One of the original patrons was Archbishop Croke. Many others since then came from the church.
    The parish rule still defines the boundaries for local clubs according to Catholic church boundaries.
    When you see kids playing gaelic football in the park do you suppose there are many prods amongst them?
    I am sure you know a great deal more about the GAA than I do, so if you explain to me how it is not seen as a Catholic organisation, I will be happy to accept it.
    Without reference to the nature or ethos of other sports!