Lifetime ban proposed for Kilcoo supporter for racial abuse of player


A lifetime ban has been proposed for a supporter of the Kilcoo club in a further fallout to the alleged racial abuse that marred last month’s Ulster club football final.

It follows the continuing investigation into incidents involving Crossmaglen’s Aaron Cunningham, who alleged he was the subject of racist abuse by both players and supporters from the Kilcoo club.

Kilcoo player Aidan Branagan has already been banned for four months arising from the controversy, although it’s likely this might still go to further appeal, while another player, Daryl Branagan, had his proposed six-month suspension lifted following an appeal.

Cunningham first reported the alleged abuse to the match referee during the game and afterwards detailed the events to the media in a series of interviews.

Elsewhere, GAA president Liam O’Neill has defended the now substantial promotion of hurling overseas.

With details confirmed for a new International Hurling Festival, to be held in Galway next September as part of the association’s activity plan for the 2013 The Gathering, O’Neill declared his intention to make hurling “a truly international” game.

Hurling teams

The International Hurling Festival, sponsored by Aer Lingus, is scheduled for September 18th-21st, at Pearse Stadium, with 16 teams invited from the current international strongholds in New York, San Francisco, Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia, and also from developing regions such as Buenos Aires, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and a Europe team made up of non-Irish nationals.

But O’Neill stressed it doesn’t mean there will be any neglecting of the domestic game either, especially in the so-called weaker counties.

“Not promoting the game abroad is not going to help places like Cavan. So that really is not an issue.

“What is going on overseas is a separate movement completely. Of course we have a vision for hurling here.

“We are looking at the prospects now of hurling being a truly international sport.

“It looks like we’re going to Shanghai later this year, with the GAA All Stars. China was the place where stick and ball games first originated, and hurling is now catching on there, too.

Seven people

“We have seven people working full-time in Britain now, including a full-time administrator in London, and a secretary for the British board. We’re really putting down roots there, we’ve between five and seven people working full-time in America as well.

“We’ve also huge juveniles sections abroad, 2,000-plus that attended the international youth games, 700 children playing in New York, and other clubs there.

“In fact part of the challenge abroad is that these juvenile players are within 10 years of becoming adult players, and we can’t be just putting out our own, say, internally-bred player at that level, too . . .”

O’Neill confirmed that an Ulster venue was being considered for the first International Rules home game with Australia in October.

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