Thursday 22 August 2019

Tyrone rebel song controversy blown out of proportion, says former Armagh star

Members of the Tyrone team singing on the bus
Members of the Tyrone team singing on the bus

Harry Clarke

GAA star and former Armagh All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville says reaction to Tyrone players signing a Rebel song on the bus has been blown out of proportion.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has apologised after some of his players were filmed singing a rebel song as a band parade passed their bus.

The incident happened in Aughnacloy as the team in were returning from a game in Clones, Co Monaghan on Saturday.

In the video, players can be heard singing along to "Come Out Ye Black And Tans" as members of Lisgenny Flute Band went by.

The parade in Aughnacloy is an annual event and takes place after 8.30pm to avoid disruption to parishioners attending mass.

McConville attributed the incident to "high spirits" following Tyrone's victory over Cavan. "One aspect of an incident such as this is that it can get blown out of proportion," said Mr McConville.

"To be honest, sometimes young lads don't even know what they're singing about.

"I'm not making any excuses for singing songs that might have connotations for certain sections of the community because it's not meant in the manner that some people might perceive it to be."

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He added: "I think what occurred had more to do with high spirits after a great win rather than giving offence to anyone.

"In society nowadays people can make it their business to take offence at stuff.

"The whole social media thing means that people cannot do anything any more. Everything is videoed nowadays and this sort of thing has reared its head in other situations. This is just another example of it."

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she hopes Tyrone GAA "deal with this in a sensible way and we all move on".

"The bands were unaware of the singing or the comments until this video appeared," she said.

"It was their annual parade. There are many children in the bands. The parade is about the music and performance in front of their neighbours. It is not about offending anyone.

"The singing and the particular offensive remark does not represent many people who support GAA.  I hope Tyrone GAA deal with this in a sensible way and we all move on.

"The Aughnacloy parade is an example of sharing where they don’t start the parade until the Saturday evening mass is over. There must be respect on all sides if we are to build a shared future.”

In a statement to the BBC, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte said the behaviour of some of his players was "unacceptable".

He apologised to "anyone who has been offended by the unacceptable behaviour of some of the panel on Saturday evening".

"The matter is being dealt with in-house and we won't be making any further comment," he added.

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