WHEN the first President of Ireland Douglas Hyde attended a soccer match in November 1938, the GAA was so furious that he had broken Rule 27 that he was removed as patron of the organisation and shunned.
Now, almost 74 years after the event, the GAA is trying to make up for the insult.
Hyde's attendance at the Ireland/ Poland match at Dalymount Park sparked a furore around the country, with stormy local meetings and angry letters to the papers.
Tomorrow, a book on the episode, 'The GAA v Douglas Hyde', will be launched in Croke Park.
At the time, the insult to the President was seen as badly misplaced since Hyde, although a Protestant, was a founding member of the Gaelic League and had done much to promote the revival of the Irish language.
But for the GAA it was a point of principle. Rule 27 (The Ban) said that: "Any member of the Association who plays or encourages in any way rugby, football, hockey or any imported game which is calculated to injuriously affect our National Pastimes, is suspended from the Association."
A picture in the book taken at the soccer game shows Mr Hyde with Taoiseach Eamon de Valera on one side of him and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs Oscar Traynor on the other. Neither of these was a GAA patron or member and so the GAA was unable to act against them.
Indeed, De Valera had played rugby for Blackrock College and Traynor had played soccer for Belfast Celtic.
Eventually in 1945, the GAA accepted that the President of Ireland should be able to attend all sporting events here. Rule 27 was repealed in 1971.
The new book will be published by Collins Press at €14.99. The author, Cormac Moore, is currently doing a PhD on the history of soccer in Ireland.
Editorial comment - p27