Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox
Kildare GAA, who decisively won the argument with Croke Park, also won the game with Mayo last Saturday evening.
That was the only negative around the success of Kildare.
Tough on Mayo.
Kildare won the hearts of every GAA person in Ireland.
How many counties would have had the courageous attitude of Kildare, I wonder?
The whole affair leaves Croke Park looking foolish, because they handled the sequence of events in a shoddy manner.
Whereas, Cian O’Neill was superb on the RTÉ news.
In the GAA we have an organisation that talks with extreme gravity about concern for clubs, and caring for counties, yet the issues raised were lame and ironic, since the question of health and safety of patrons was raised.
For Croke Park to engage such corporate speak, was really silly.
What was wrong with advertising the capacity as sold out, in advance? Do Croke Park seriously think that a huge crowd would turn up on spec? It’s time Croke Park gave the Irish people some credit and recognised that the public aren’t devoid of intelligence.
Citing the health & safety aspect wasn’t altogether the wisest move, because before Kildare told Croke Park they weren’t going to play at GAA headquarters, they (Kildare) had the assurance of the local Gardaí that there was no issue with the game being held in St Conleth’s Park, and that the Gardai were happy and satisfied with the issue of health and safety.
After all, the Guards should know, one would expect, since they ultimately decide all crowd control situations, and hardly needed Croke Park’s input.
Of course the GAA had to be seen to be concerned, so they took themselves off to Newbridge to “discuss” the impending situation.
Subsequent to that meeting they reported what the Gardaí had said at the outset.
The match went ahead in St Conleth’s Park.
Maybe the GAA have learned a lesson, not to be so arbitrary.
The outcome of all this of course, will potentially affect several counties who will suddenly find their voices and protest.
Then again, maybe not. The meek are supposed to own the GAA.
However, never again will the GAA be able to use health and safety as a ruse to switch a game to headquarters, when another setting has been indicated prior to the game being drawn.
Maybe this is a small step towards bringing the GAA back to its roots, back to being forced to care for counties, back to putting local social earnings and excitement, with all the benefits that accrue, before the money.