GAA President John Horan says the recent controversy surrounding a tribute match for Liam Miller showed the ‘strength’ of the GAA.
A game between a Manchester United Legends XI and a Celtic/Republic of Ireland XI will go ahead at the 45,000-capacity Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork on September 25 after the GAA’s Central Council passed a proposal.
After initially insisting that it was prohibited by the rules of the Association from staging the game – originally planned for the 7,300-seater Turner’s Cross – officials put the matter to GAA management after days of public outcry and attempted political intervention.
“I think we took an unfair bashing as an organisation,” Horan said on a visit to Donegal to help turn the sod at the development of a new clubhouse at the Donegal GAA Training Centre in Convoy.
“In a funny kind of a way, it highlighted how strong of an organisation we are. We were the ones who had the facility to be provided.
“It’s in everyone’s best interests that there was a resolution. A lot of charities in Cork will benefit form this.
“We did allow it to happen. I took opinion from the grassroots of the organisation.
“I’m not going to be influenced by social media – and I wasn’t. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter. I try to avoid those things and that means I can look at things in a clearer manner. When I rang around the country to ask the grassroots feeling, an awful lot of people felt that we should let it go ahead.”
Horan insisted, however, that the decision doesn’t open the door for other games to be played at GAA stadia.
He said: “I don’t see it being a regular on the agenda. The circumstances around this one were special.”
Miller was 36 when he died in February from oesophageal cancer.
Meanwhile, Horan has hailed the Super 8s as a success, following the completion of the first year of the new quarter-final group phase.
He said: “We’ve had a good few competitive games. People had a concern about dead rubbers at the end and we didn’t really have many. Out of the last four games, three of them had an impact on the outcome of the competition.
“I think it has been a huge positive. It has brought All-Ireland quarter-finals out to the provinces. I was in Omagh and the whole town was buzzing. The GAA community was delighted to see business coming into the town. Ballybofey was a success and there have been great crowds at the likes of Newbridge and Salthill. It’s great to bring games out.
I think it has been a success.”
The GAA’s top official expects a motion to be tabled to the 2019 Congress to allow for a round of the games be played at a ‘neutral’ venue as opposed to specifically in Croke Park after concerns were raised about Dublin effectively having two ‘home’ games in this year’s series.
Horan said: “It was written down for everyone to see and I would be surprised if there was anyone out there who would have predicted that Dublin wouldn’t be getting into the last eight, but we’ll be looking at it to see if there are tweaks that can make it better.
“That’s in rule and will only be dealt with at Congress. People will make recommendations, but it’s written into the rules now that we have one round at Croke Park. A change can only happen on the floor of Congress.”Tags: