Some thoughts on my first trip to Croker.

“Fancy coming to Croke Park with me this Sunday?” This was the question my Dad posed to me last week. After looking around to see if he was talking to someone else it dawned on me that he was actually asking me. Me! The youngest of his children who has shown no interest in sports, I mean, no interest at all. When I was holidaying in the United States in September 2012, the only event I took my brother to watch in a bar was the first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. This gives you some insight into my skewed and nerdish interests.

Anyway back to my last weekend. After trying to get over the complete shock of being asked and the terror that I would be forced to sit on 2 hour train journey packed with GAA fans and then required to sit through an entire match; my idea of heaven, it isn’t. Regardless of these concerns, I managed to muster a yes to my Dads very kind offer, at least it would give me a well needed break from book writing and dealing with other pieces of work. Not thinking for a moment I would enjoy it, I began practicing fake smiles and looking up some basic phrases that some fans say when watching a game (sad I know, but it’s in my nature to research and plan things).

Then came D-Day! Sunday morning and the knock on the door, “come Dave, let’s go.” Never has such a basic phrase give me that level anxiety as the phrase “ah feck” raced through my mind. Sitting on the train, my Dad, sensing how out of place I felt, began chatting to the man beside us, who was taking his 8 year old son to Croke Park for the first time. Instead of asking about who would be more likely to win and was Mayo screwed over in the last match, they talked about politics, cinema and other topics at which I could contribute. The lively conversation and the help of a few beers began to make me feel more relaxed and by Dundalk, I looked forward to getting to Croke Park to watch my first ever Gaelic match.

When the train pulled into Connolly station, Croke Park in all its glory dominated inner city Dublin. We decided to walk to the stadium, as my Dad like when I was child told me odd history stories about streets we were talking through. As I walked through the gates, this awe inspiring stadium opened up before me as a sea of blue and yellow filled the stadium to cheer on Donegal and Dublin. By the time of the kick-off I was more excited than the 8 year old I sat beside on the train. It was hard not to be, 81,500 thousand people in such an impressive stadium is something to experience.

As my Dad walked me through just what was going on, I finally got the chance to do something I know and that was sing the national anthem before the match started. As we completed the last few lines, he put his hand on my shoulder, which for me was truly an awesome moment. I cheered on Donegal, as I thought, they are an Ulster team and sure I may as well back a county from my own province. Naturally when they won, I had a beaming smile as I had supported a winning team on my first outing.

When the game finished and we walked out one of the bar tenders who was friendly with my Dad said to me “yer old man, looks much less lonely this time, you were a good addition to the crowd, hope you can come down again.” Phew, I had done it! Made it through an entire game and didn’t make a fool of myself. Overall, I had a great time, not only did I get to fall in love with a new aspect of my country, but I had a brilliant time with the auld fella and a few pints to boot. I look forward to the next game and more great memories of one of the greatest games in the world.

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  • I enjoyed that David, much less than I enjoyed the result I must admit. I’m a dad myself and the connection you and and your dad obviously had- I got it completely. Much as it pains me to say, Donegal deserved the win and I now hope they go to win the all Ireland.

  • Son of Sam

    Good luck with getting a ticket for the final,David!You may be nice to all your politician friends in the North.One thing is for sure.Martin and Gerry will be angling to ensure their photo opportunities in the Hogan stand!

  • Ernekid

    Something that Northern Prods miss out on is the thrill of being at a match at packed Croke Park. I was at the Hurling Final last year and the atomosphere was amazing. The GAA is one of my favourite parts of Irish culture

  • peepoday

    No thanks.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I’m sure it’s fun but I prefer Ravenhill on a Friday night.

  • Ernekid

    Ravenhill is mighty craic too. I like chanting SUFTUM with thre crowd but for me nothing beats the feeling of hearing 80,000 roar at the end of Amhrain na bhFiann in Croker at a big match

  • Michael Henry

    Good read- well told- all the talk was of Dublin walking it but Donegal Ran the ball into the Dubs net three times to ensure victory-what do bookies know-

    Son of Sam-” Martin and Gerry will be angling to ensure their photo opportunities “-

    The camera sure loves that pair who will be enjoying their National sport at the big final- it was only a few years ago that the GAA tried to ban Martin from the games because of a Republican march at Casement-the ban never worked –

  • Alan, you said you prefer Ravenhill on a Friday night, but how do you know you would if you haven’t personally experienced being at a big match at Croke Park? I think you have just admitted to being close minded, something I suspect many of a unionist persuasion to be guilty of. Wouldn’t you even allow yourself the possibility of trying something out before dismissing it out of hand? You might be very (pleasantly) surprised by the results…

  • Alan N/Ards

    I’m not sure hearing 80,000 people singing Amhrain na bhFiann is something that many Northern Prods would get much enjoyment from.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I prefer Ravenhill because I’m a rugby fan. I don’t have any real interest in Hurling as such. I have watched it on tv and it seems a great game but I have no desire to go and see a game. There are many sports that I like to watch on tv but I would have no interest in going to see. Golf, Cricket, Horse racing and boxing are sports that I would never go to see but I enjoy watching them on tv. My first sporting love was football but I don’t even watch it on tv anymore, never mind at a ground. The only sport that I watch is rugger. It doesn’t mean that I have a closed mind about Hurling, it just means that I enjoy going to watch Ulster at Ravenhill.

  • Ernekid

    How do you feel about Gaelic Football?

  • Alan, It isn’t just hurling that’s played at Croke Park, the match which David McCann went to see with his father was the gaelic football semi final between Dublin and Donegal. David by his own admission had no previous interest in gaelic sport or any sport for that matter and was not expecting to enjoy the experience. However, the whole point of David’s article (or most of it at least) was that he had an unexpectedly fantastic experience attending the match. How do you know you wouldn’t similarly enjoy that expereice too if you attended a big Croke Park match with one or two friends who also happened to be gaelic fans and who made sure you enjoed it. Why would it be any less enjoyable than a good night out with friends at an Ulster rugby match at Ravenhill?

  • There’s that closed mindeset I was referring to just there. Imagine playing the national anthem at a national sporting event.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I have watched it on numerous occasions and enjoyed the speed of the game. I have no issues with watching it. In fact, the last time Down played in the final, my family and I were cheering them on from the comfort of our living room.
    I’m not sure why you believe Northern Prods are missing out by not attending these games?

  • Ernekid

    Well theres a general cultural reluctance by many Northern Prods to get involved with the GAA. They miss out on the fun and the spectacle of a match or the sense of community that comes from getting involved in their local club. Its a reluctance that doesn’t really exist amongst in Protestants in the rest of Ireland. I think theres a few members of the Donegal team that are from a Protestant background, I do think that Hurling and Gaelic Football is like Rugby, Cricket and Soccer and is much more enjoyable attending a match live that watching on TV.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Both David and Ernekid have commented on their experience of singing the Irish anthem at the games they attended. They spoke of how they felt when doing this. Their attendance at these games was about more that the sport. It was about belonging to a tradition. It also seems like a kind of spiritual experience with the singing of the anthem. I don’t have a problem with that as they are from a nationalist background. Fair play to them. I not sure I should be expected to feel the same about it.
    I have tried to encourage a few friends who are big football fans to attend Ravenhill with me. They refuse because they have no interest in rugby. It’s nothing to do with having a closed mind.

  • Nonsense! You are blatantly mixing politics and sport into something that it isn’t. A big match at Croker is no different to a big rugby match at Murrayfield or Twickenham or Stade de France or Lansdowne. It’s expected that the anthem will be played and a big roar goes up from the crowd afterwards, it’s just part of the spectacle and part of the atmosphere, it’s a crowd pleaser. No one avoids going to a big rugby international because they don’t want to hear the someone else’s national anthem. The Olympicsor the the Commonwelath Games wouldn’t have too many spectators if they were all as easily offended by other people’s national anthems as some Ulster Unionists seem to be by the GAA playing the Irish national anthem at its national stadium situated in the Irish capitol. Get over yourself and stop making up excuses to not like amazing sports like gaelic football and hurling. Over 80,000 people having an amazing day out at a Croke Park big match and people like you looking for excuses to sulk and feel sorry for yourself that you think you are somehow excluded from the fun. You are not, you are as entitled to go and enjoy it as anyone else on the island, you are excluding yourself and you are missing out! Here’s a suggestion, stop mopping about anthems and you and a few of your rugby friends make a deal with yourselves to try it out and go a watch a match a Croke. It won’t kill you to try it and I bet you end up loving it! doesn’t matter whose playing, doesn’t matter if it’s hurling or football, just go and see it. Trouble is, you might have missed the boat for this season as it will be nearly impossible to get tickets for this year’s football or hurling finals. You might have to wait until next year’s season, but it’s easy and cheap to get quarter final and semi final tickets. There are also other matches at Croke worth going to see such as the compromise rules games between Ireland and Australia or the Scotland v Ireland annual shinty/hurling combined rules match. Think about it, I know you’re interested. 😉

  • Roy Walsh

    Son of Sam, I doubt David, or his Dad will have any bother getting final tickets.
    David, sorry I missed you.
    What a game, Tír conniall abú which is directed at Mick.

  • Roy Walsh

    Ernekid the problem for many of us is the cheer commences before the anthem ends, once at matches in Casement before the game the tannoy would convey the message, if cheering begins before the end of Amhráin na bhFiann, the game will be cancelled, unfortunately this is no longer the case it seems and did not extend to matches outside of Casement.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I have attended rugger internationals in Dublin and have stood respectfully for the Republic’s anthem. It’s not my national anthem but I respect it when attending these games. If I was as closed minded as you say I wouldn’t be anywhere near these games.
    “Imagine playing the national anthem at a national sporting event”
    I have no problem with that. It obviously make the people involved feel patriotic. I just can’t relate to it. Please allow me that freedom.

  • Alan, sorry to say it, but there’s that closed mind again. It’s not just ‘Northern Prods’ who are missing out, it’s anyone who for whatever reason (such as David McCann until 2 days ago) who hasn’t yet realised what an amazing national sporting culture we have in Ireland with gaelic sport. Yes, watching on TV is good, obviously it’s better than not watching it at all, but nothing beats the real thing live when you are actually there cheering your team on. I don’t need to tell you that as I know you are already a sports fan and you enjoy live rugby at Ravenhill. However, your reasons for not watching live GAA and not wanting to attend a big match at Croke Park seems to be based on you attitude to people singing the Irish national anthem before the match. With respect, that’s a poor reason for not wanting to attend!

  • Alan N/Ards

    I’m not really sure what you mean by Northern prods? Do you mean Unionists?
    The fact that people from a protestant background in Donegal play the game is great. Maybe someday things will change in NI. Who knows.
    You commented on how you loved the singing of the anthem and of the buzz you had. Can you imagine how somebody from my side of the divide would feel during it? The protestants from the southern side of the border obviously accept this anthem as their own and feel comfortable with it. Is the playing of it really necessary? Genuine question.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I have attended numerous Irish rugger games in Dublin and have stood respectfully for it, so I’m afraid you are mistaken.

  • Ernekid

    Is the playing of God Save the Queen at the FA Cup Final at Wembley necessary? Is Flower of Scotland necessary at Murrayfield? Not really. But its traditional at big sporting events.The buzz you get is the same as you get when you are involved in a huge event I had the same buzz singing along in Unison with thousands of other fans at a festival seeing my favourite bands or cheering at Old Trafford when United score.I suppose when I said Northern Prods I meant Unionists but then I’ve a mate who is a coach in his local GAA club and a huge Armagh GAA supporter but is also a UUP supporter.

    The GAA is something that millions of Irish people across the globe enjoy I think its a shame that a small section of Irish people in Ulster want nothing to do with it.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Have I said that I feel excluded? I was responding to Ernekid comments about Northern Prods missing out. How does he know that we are missing out? Why does every one have to like Gaelic sports?
    I’m sure that you are aware that both David and Ernekid commented on the singing of the anthem and I responded to their comments.
    I have already stated that I have attended rugby games in Dublin when the Republic’s anthem was played. I didn’t sing but stood in a respectful manner. Should I stop going to these games because of it? No is the answer. Why is that? Because I’m a rugby fan.

  • Roy Walsh

    Alan, I’ve been to Ravenhill myself, many many times since I first played at University however, while there is a lot of hype in the immediate run into games there with SUFTUM playing loudly, the place just does not have the atmosphere of Croke Park, it’s this which makes the game for people like David or, if your own sad County ever get back, the likes of yourself.
    I’ve taken children from Protestant tradition to games at Croke, Casement and the Atheletic Grounds and the atmosphere they ewxperience s has stayed with them, genuinely sorry but, Ravenhill just does not have this feeling, try it sometime, the GAA make every effort to reach out to Unionists through provision of tickets for big games.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Roy, I prefer Ravenhill because I happen to really love watching Ulster Rugby and the game of rugby. I first watched them in the early 70’s and played the game at school. This is not about me as a Protestant hating the GAA, it’s about me preferring to watch rugby at Ravenhill on a Friday night. I have no doubt the atmosphere at Croke is fantastic and fair play to the fans for doing it. The problem I have is, being told that I’m missing something, when in reality I’m not. This has got nothing to do with me being a Protestant or the Irish anthem being played. It’s to do with my lack of interest. But, I will consider it for next year. If Down get to Croke Park I will make the effort to go with my wife. If not Down then hopefully any game.. If I enjoy it (which I probably will) I’ll be up front about it.

  • Zeno1

    “The GAA is something that millions of Irish people across the globe enjoy I think its a shame that a small section of Irish people in Ulster want nothing to do with it.”

    Why? Does everyone have to have the same taste as you? I’ve been to GAA, Football and Rugby matches and none of them do anything at all for me. Just because you want to roar in a crowd of 80,000 doesn’t mean its great for everyone. There are people who regard the fanatical support of teams as a bit silly and needy.

  • PeterBrown


    Interesting that you state that the anthem is traditional at big sporting events and that “(t)he GAA is something that millions of Irish people across the globe enjoy I think its a shame that a small section of Irish people in Ulster want nothing to do with it.”
    Contrast with the Northern ireland football team….

    I enjoy watching GAA on the TV but have never attended a game because it is unashamedly culturally nationalist rather than shared as evidenced by its rules and the national anthem which is I have no difficulty with provided it doesn’t pretend to be something its not and it doesn;t expect me to close my eyes to that fact and actually turn up at its games and support it.

    Why then is a different and arguably inconsistent approach taken to the NI football team which is culturally neutral with the exception of the “traditional” national anthem? Both sides in this debate need to be consistent….

  • Alan, thanks for your reply. Maybe you will be able to see the contradictions in your comments though, I certainly can. You said you wouldn’t want to attend a Croke Park match as they play the national anthem, but you admit attending Rugby internations in Dublin where they play the national anthem. You say you prefer rugby in Ravenhill over gaelic at Croke but you haven’t actually expereinced gaelic at Croke so cannot fairly judge which you would actually prefer. David McCann in this article go to some lengths to explain how happily surprised he was to unexpectedly enjoy his day out at Croke.
    I am glad to see you have conditionally taken up my challenge to you to give it a go and you say you would like to take the family to watch Down play next year if they get through (which is a big if). That’s fantastic and as a fellow Down supporter (I also live in Ards) I hope to be there too. My challenge to you went a little beyond watching Down. David McCann is not as far as I know from Donegal or Dublin but he went to the match on Sunday and supported Donegal as they are a fellow Ulster county team. So my suggestion and challenge to you, and all sports fans and others who have never been to a GAA match before, is go and watch one – unconditionally! If you aren’t put off by the anthem at a rugby internation, then don’t be put off by one at Croke Park either, it’s only a song and every country has one, it’s no big deal!!! It’s the sport and the atmosphere and the occasion and the day out and the craic with your friends and meeting new friends and being part of something, something healthy and good and positive and inspiring. So please, don’t be close minded, open up, live a little and enjoy… 🙂

  • Alan N/Ards

    Did I actually say that I wouldn’t go to a game because of the anthem? I don’t believe I did. What I did say was that the playing of it seems to be a big deal to both David and Ernekid. It’s like a spiritual/religious moment for them.. I simply expressed that I and many people like me, can’t relate to that. They were the ones who brought the anthem into the debate. The question should be “why is it important to them” when it is only a game. I actually have an issue with anthems being played anywhere on this island as they are divisive. The same goes for flags. I wouldn’t have one about me. If it’s not inclusive, it’s not for me.
    Do you sing the Irish anthem when attending these games at Croke Park? Genuine question. Personally speaking, I haven’t sang the words of the British anthem in over twenty years. The Church I attend, use it on Remembrance day and I usually get a few strange looks each year. My wife and children don’t sing it either.
    I will try to attend a game and might even try to get down to Ballygalget to watch a game someday. But, as I said I really just want to watch rugby. Apologies for that.

  • Jonny

    First time posting (so be gentle!)

    I’ve been interested in this subject for quite some time. I’d describe myself as a fan of sport in general – I can watch anything on TV or live. Having coming from a Protestant background I was brought up playing rugby and football in particular so it is no surprise that I am a regular attender at Ravenhill and Windsor Park.

    Sport is full of contradiction – I love when the NI football team or Irish rugby team beat the English and yet I support an English football team from which the national team draws their players. The point I’m making is that we give and withdraw our allegiance as it suits.

    I agree that the singing of anthem brings out the patriot in all of us, no matter if it be Flower of Scotland, the Soldiers Song or God Save the Queen. This is fine when it is not as politically sensitive as it is here on this side of the Irish Sea. We should not be seeking to make a particular section of the community uncomfortable by having to hear a ‘foreign’ anthem used as their own at a sporting event. Let me be clear that I equally advocate this for GSTQ at Windsor as I do for the Soldier’s Song to be used within counties that are part of Northern Ireland.

    Ulster rugby supporters (of unionist persuasion – yes there are those who are not!) whilst having difficulty with the Irish anthem being played at rugby matches are largely pacified by the introduction of Ireland’s Call.

    Sport should just be about the sport and not politics but unfortunately the reality is that it hasn’t been the case. One comment said that efforts have been to open GAA up to unionist/protestants (whichever label), however I would probably be one of the first to respond to that effort if it was genuinely felt.

    Until the GAA takes steps like Irish rugby to accommodate protestants by not glorifying in divisive politics e.g. naming of playgrounds after prominent republicans, use of a neutral anthem I have to admit I will continue to have a problem with it. I would also stress again that I would expect NI football to take steps to be more inclusive (although from by biased point of view I would argue they have over the last 10 years).

    Finally, my cousin went over to America a few years back with a few Irish friends who played Gaelic football and he started playing and thoroughly enjoyed it in its pure form. I have no doubt that the its a great game like many of the others I enjoy however I remain of the view that it is unnecessarily politicised by both sides which is unfortunate for all.

    Bit long for a 1st post – sorry!

  • Alan, thanks again for that reply, and no, you didn’t actually say that you wouldn’t go to a game becuase of the anthem but you did imply it, or at least you gave me that impression. I’m really glad I’ve got you thinking about it more and made you more interested in attending a match. Nothing wrong with rugby, by the way, nothing at. Rugby is also a wonderful sport in exactly the same was as gaelic sports are. In my opinion they are both equally good and both do so much for young people getting involved in teams sports and being physically active. On your anthem question to me, I don’t speak Irish and only know (to my shame) the first 2 lines of Amhráin na bhFiann and then I kind of mime the rest (as many others do also). But the game really isn’t anything to do with the anthem anyway, it is just about the sport and whichever two teams are competing on the day.
    You could certainly begin your interest in gaelic sport by going to watch hurling match at Ballygalget (or Ballycran or Portaferry), but you may be surprised to learn that your closest club is St Paul’s GAC in Holywood – which takes its membership from Holywood, Bangor and Newtownards. You could also try Bredagh GAC who play at Cherryvale playingfields on the Ravenhill Rd in East Belfast.
    Anyway, sport is sport and all sport is to be encouraged (in my opinion). It is for enjoyment and pleasure not for politics. Gaelic sport is not about politics and I have never heard a political conversation being spoken at any gaelic match, it just isn’t done. I just wish more people from a Protestant and Unionist background would allow themselves to find out for themselves what the sport is really like and not allow political prejudices or religion to cloud their judgement. I hope to see you at a game sometime soon.

  • PeterBrown

    “It is for enjoyment and pleasure not for politics. Gaelic sport is not about politics and I have never heard a political conversation being spoken at any gaelic match, it just isn’t done”
    Does Rule 21 and the Ulster counties opposition to its repeal ring any bells Scotty?

  • Yes, it rings some bells, so what’s your point? Doesn’t change what I said, does it? Gaelic sport is still for enjoyment and please, not politics, and I have still never heard a political conversation ever at a match, that’s not why people go there! Do you know something different?

  • PeterBrown

    I’ve never been so I can’t contradict what you say but it seems somewhat at odds with an organisation which has the following as the preface to its Rules Book

    “The Gaelic Athletic Association today is an organisation which reaches into every corner of the land and has its roots in every Irish parish. Throughout the Country, legions of voluntary workers willingly make sacrifices to promote its ideals and carry its daily burdens. Why does the Association receive this unselfish support?

    Those who play its games, those who organise its activities
    and those who control its destinies see in the G.A.A. a means of consolidating our Irish identity. The games to them are more than games – they have a national significance – and the promotion of native pastimes becomes a part of the full national ideal, which envisages the speaking of our own language, music and dances. The primary purpose of the G.A.A. is the organisation of native pastimes and the promotion of athletic fitness as a means to create a disciplined, self- reliant, national minded manhood. The overall result is the expression of a people’s preference for native ways as opposed to imported ones.

    Since she has not control over all the national territory, Ireland’s claim to nationhood is impaired. It would be still more impaired if she were to lose her language, if she failed to provide a decent livelihood for her people at home, or if she were to forsake her own games and customs in favour of the games and customs of another nation. If pride in the attributes of nationhood dies, something good and distinctive in our race dies with it. Each national quality that is lost makes us so much poorer as a Nation. Today, the native games take on a new significance when it is realised that they have been a part, and still are a part, of the Nation’s desire to live her own life, to govern her own affairs.”
    Only someone with a closed mindset could expect unionists to embrace a game which this as its stated aim – if the IFA produced something like this there would an outcry. If players and supporters don’t subscribe to this then drop it, if they do they accept that it will remain an anathema to unionists…

  • An anathema to Unionists, really? Well, if that’s how you feel, then fair enough, boycott them and just ignore them. Keep playing whatever sports you do agree with and I hope you get as much pleasure from them as you can. I am never going to open your mind to gaelic sport, so I’m not going to try. As for the cut and paste job above, I haven’t checked it but I assume it must be correct but I have never read any of that before anywhere and I haven’t heard anyone talking about it either. You see, when people get involved with their local GAA club, they do just that, they don’t get into the politics of it or the history of it or the ancient rules or constitution or anything else, they just get involved for the sport. This thread started off about going to watching big matches at Croke Park, nothing to do with politics, constitutions rules or anything else like that, it’s just going to watch two sporting teams try to play their best and win the game in an electric atmosphere in front of tens of thousands of excited fans cheering on their side. But it’s a free country, if you have decided you would be too offended by some ancient constitution which probably most people there are completely unaware of or care less about, then fine. But you will be missing out on an incredible experience, and that’s a pity.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Jonny, I’m someone who feels uncomfortable with the Soldiers Song being played at rugby matches in Dublin. I would prefer it if it wasn’t played. The IRFU have helped the situation by introducing Irelands Call as well, and by only using it at away games. I’m also uncomfortable with The queen being played at Windsor for NI games and would prefer something that is more inclusive. I seldom go to Windsor as I have fallen out of love with football but hope that the IFA and the fans could move on this.

  • PeterBrown

    “This thread started off about going to watching big matches at Croke Park, nothing to do with politics, constitutions rules or anything else like that, it’s just going to watch two sporting teams try to play their best and win the game in an electric atmosphere in front of tens of thousands of excited fans cheering on their side”

    Insert Windsor Park for Croke Park and leave out the political ethos and this is the IFA in reverse – yet the NI football team keeps getting caned / boycotted by nationalists? Is this not double standards Scotty? I suspect Croke Park on All Ireland Final day is comparable to Windsor on 7th September 2005 for atmosphere and without the political undercurrent but I still don’t see any acceptance if it?

  • Peter, I’m not ever going to win you over, so I’m not going to try. The thread is about GAA matches at Croke Park, if you want to talk about Windsor Park or the IFA, then I suggest you start a new thread about that. I’ve been to Windsor Park at big matches on a number of occasions and stood for GSTQ, and it didn’t bother me, it was no big deal. I have nothing against football (soccer), or rugby or cricket or hockey or any other sport, they are all great and they all serve a purpose. Many many people who play gaelic sport also play association football or rugby or golf or tenis or whatever and they all enjoy each of them. my point was that people who have closed their minds to the possibility of either playing gaelic sport or going to watch gaelic sports on the basis that the will somehow compromise their political beliefs, are missing out on something great. That is a great shame both for those people who otherwise would have greatly enjoyed playing or watching the sport, and also for gaelic sport which is no doubt poorer for not having those same people participate in it or there to support it. It would be great if people like yourself would get over their political inhibitions and give it a go – watch or play, or both!

  • PeterBrown

    Maybe we’ll get over our political inhibitions when the GAA gets over theirs…..

  • Peter, read my response to you again. Many, many people who play and watch gaelic sport are already playing and watching other sports as well, they are not put off by anthems or politics. They enjoy all sports and send their children to participate in a range of sports. It is not about the GAA or the IFA or the FAI or the IRFU, it is about individuals and about their individual choices. Individual GAA members are happy to play and spectate in all manner of other sports, whether or not anthems of whatever colour are played at particular games. I am saying that individuals, such as yourself, are missing out on wonderful sporting experiences because of their unwillingness to to see sport as sport for sport’s sake, as they are forcing their own political inhibitions and prejudices into their individual sporting choices. That means that you and your children miss out on the full range of positive sporting experiences open to you. Which is a pity for you and especially a pity for your children.