Monday 5 December 2016

Croker to intervene in debate over British Army team's participation in London championship

Published 12/01/2016 | 02:30

British security forces were banned from playing Gaelic games until 2001 under Rule 21 of the Official Guide Photo: Sportsfile
British security forces were banned from playing Gaelic games until 2001 under Rule 21 of the Official Guide Photo: Sportsfile

The GAA's top brass has intervened to prevent any vote on the proposed removal of a British Army team from the London championships going ahead at the Exiles' next county board meeting.

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Croke Park chiefs made the move after a proposal was brought forward by the Harrow-based hurling club Granuaile to rescind last year's historic move to allow a team from the Irish Guards compete in the junior football championship.

The Irish Guards are the first British army regiment to become affiliated with the GAA but only after then chairman Noel O'Sullivan cast the decisive ballot after a tied vote.

Previously, British security forces were banned from playing Gaelic games until 2001 under Rule 21 of the Official Guide.

And GAA president Aogán ó Fearghail revealed that director-general Páraic Duffy has written to London chiefs to ask them not to take a vote on the issue.

"I'm aware of that, it's been brought to my attention," ó Fearghail said. "Páraic and I have had discussions on it and Páraic, in discussion with myself, we've written to the London GAA board and we've asked them not to make a decision on that until we, as a management, have a look at that.

"Because it's nothing to do with one club, it's all clubs. We've close to 2,000 clubs, if we accept a club into our association, having done that, then it shouldn't be so simple to just remove them," said ó Fearghail, who indicated that the issue will be discussed a Friday night's management committee meeting.

"That's part of the normal cut and thrust when you have a family as big as ours, that there will be issues like that which have arisen," he continued.

"Once the ard-stiúrthóir advises a county board to do something, yes they will comply absolutely so that won't be discussed, as I would see it. It's obviously an issue for a club and a county board but we as a management will certainly take a view on it."

The GAA's Central Council meet on Saturday and ó Fearghail expects to see some developments surrounding the proposals to revamp the football championship. "We have been discussing this since we introduced it at the first Central Council meeting that I chaired, which was back in May. We've had sufficient time as an association to look at it, we've given them plenty of time. If there is going to be a motion, then it must come on Saturday because it will be too late other than that."

ó Fearghail also indicated his desire for north Leinster to be serviced by a modern stadium but refused to be drawn on whether it would require a new development or the revamp of an existing facility.

Irish Independent

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