Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Sense prevails in Croke Park dispute

Ireland's greatest stadium I was delighted to hear yesterday's news that Irish rugby and soccer international matches will be played for the first time at Croke Park, home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, in 2007.

Lansdowne Road, the home of soccer and rugby, will be closed in 2007 for redevelopment and the English and French rugby teams will be among the first international sides to take to the field in front of around 80,000 fans as part of next year's Six Nations Championship.

The GAA, the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Football Association of Ireland announced the agreement in a joint statement this afternoon.

The agreement marks the end of years of national debate about the future of Ireland's largest stadium and the fourth biggest in Europe.

The GAA's ruling body set aside the organisation`s controversial Rule 42, which banned the use of its headquarters for foreign sports, last April following years of sometimes bitter internal and external debate.

GAA President Sean Kelly said he was pleased that agreement had been reached between the respective sporting organisations.

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney described the agreement as an historic day for soccer and sport in Ireland.

IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said the plan represented a significant milestone in Irish sporting history.

All three men are correct. This is great news for Ireland and it is an absolute joke that it took so long for this decision to be reached.

Those who aren't from Ireland might not understand but you see, to some GAA enthusiasts, Croke Park is like an Irish cultural shrine of sorts whose 'hallowed turf' can only be graced by Irish games.

However this bullshit theory kind of runs into difficulty when you take into account the fact that International Rules games have taken place against the Aussies there, American football has taken place there and as as well as all that, the 'hallowed turf' has been graced by the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Elton John and Robbie Williams. If you ask me letting those three play there was a disgrace to music as well as 'Irish culture'.

Of course one of the most significant reasons for the opposition towards allowing the GAA be opened to soccer and rugby was the fact that, as looks set to happen now, an English flag would have to be flown at the stadium when England play there. Oh no! Not a St George's flag! Sadly for alot of these people, their sense of Irishness is so pathetically fragile that the mere sight of a British flag sends their nationality into a nervous breakdown. Why was the Australian flag seen as acceptable to these people when it bears a union jack on it you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. I have long given up trying to logically figure out the mindset of people who think the way some of these Croke Park die-hards do.

Avert your gaze if you value your nationality
If you stare too long you'll become a monarchist

What really ticks me off about all this though and what I find most disgraceful is the fact that the people who were willing to deny Croke Park from witnessing soccer and rugby matches, presumably to safeguard Irish culture in their eyes, were quite willing to send Irish citizens over to a foreign country, more than likely England or Scotland, to watch Irish soccer and rugby matches while Lansdowne Road was being repaired!

Can you imagine that?

Irish fans forking over large amounts of cash and taking the time to make a journey to a FOREIGN COUNTRY in order to watch THEIR COUNTRY play. Now what kind of successful first world country do you know which would have to put up with that?

What a laughing stock we would have been and it has happened before when in the nineties Irish football fans had to watch their team play at Anfield in Liverpool.

That kind of nonsense cannot be allowed to happen again and I don't believe Irish people would have been made fools of a second time by these narrow-minded little Irelanders.

Irish culture is more than able to stand up for itself. I say let the English and everyone else come to Croke Park and see this magnificent stadium which can hold over 80,000 spectators. Let all flags fly proudly and if on the day the English rugby team gets the better of the Irish team then we ought to give them a round of applause as they leave the pitch.

I tell you right now that doing that would do more for this county's pride and culture than locking up that stadium ever would.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.