Sport GAA

Wednesday 16 October 2019

GAA bracing itself for hard Brexit backlash

Ulster Council CEO Brian McAvoy. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ulster Council CEO Brian McAvoy. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Fears are growing in the GAA that Brexit will have serious implications for the Association across a wide range of areas.

Director-general Tom Ryan and Ulster Council CEO Brian McAvoy have already expressed concerns over the upheaval that seems inevitable, while the view from the club scene in the north is also pessimistic.

"Not knowing how exactly it's going to work out is the worry for people in every walk of life. And since the GAA is such a large part of cross-border life, we will feel it more than most, especially if there are any hold-ups at the border," said Joe Kernan.

The All-Ireland-winning manager with club (Crossmaglen) and county (Armagh) said that any interference with how people move between north and south would cause serious problems.

"It would be bad for people in every walk of life and would definitely be bad for the GAA. There's so much going on between clubs and counties north and south that anything that disrupted it would be very damaging.

"Your time isn't your own if you don't know how long you have to allow to go from A to B. We remember it well enough from the bad old days and we don't want a return to that in any form. If crossing the border became hard work, it might discourage some people from travelling to games. Now that would be serious," he said.

McAvoy acknowledged that Brexit has already cost the Ulster Council financially, with the drop in the value of sterling effectively leading to ticket price increase. That's because euro is the official GAA currency so patrons from the Six Counties have seen costs rise for games south of the border.

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