Ulster Council to probe alleged racist abuse
GAA: The GAA’S Ulster Council is to investigate allegations of racist abuse in yesterday’s provincial club final, which saw Crossmaglen Rangers win a 10th title with a hard-fought victory over Kilcoo from Down.
Crossmaglen player Aaron Cunningham, whose father Joey was a well-known footballer with Armagh in the 1980s and one of the first black inter-county players, alleged he had been targeted during yesterday’s match.
Last night the Ulster Council released a statement, undertaking to investigate the matter and emphasising that: “The GAA is an anti racist organisation by rule and will not tolerate in the strongest and most emphatic terms racist abuse of any type.”
Cunningham spoke afterwards, saying the abuse had started in the first half, and he expressed his anger at what had happened.
“You go out to play football in a good sporting manner, hard-hitting and that, but when race comes into it, I think it’s disgusting, to be honest. I don’t want to let it overshadow what has been a good game and a 10th title for us, three-in-a-row and number five for myself. But I feel it has to be said, because what was said has no place on a football pitch.
“I don’t actually want to repeat it but the N-word was used and the word Paki was used too. Looking at me, it’s a bit ignorant on his behalf for calling me a Paki. I addressed the linesman, who was standing no more than 10 yards away. I can’t say if he heard it or not. He said he didn’t. I told him what was said. I just felt it was absolutely disgusting.
“There is no place for it whatsoever. You have the likes of my father, he played football as well. I think he was the first black player to play in Croke Park.
“I’m sure you could talk to a handful of boys and they’ve all had some sort of racist abuse. And as I say, it happened out there today and it’s absolutely disgusting. But I don’t want to let it dampen what has been a great day.”
Crossmaglen manager Tony McEntee said his player had been very upset by the incidents but that the club would not take the matter any farther.
This was before the Ulster Council issued their statement
Kilcoo manager Jim McCorry said that he was not aware of the allegation.
“No, I am not aware of it. If that is the case then the club will deal with any matters that need to be deal with after the game.”