6 19 mins 14 yrs

Here is a fascinating and thoughtful article by London-based writer Ciaran Ward on the issues that confront the GAA – I thoroughly recommend that you give it a read. 

A Different Ball Game – The Future of the GAA in Northern Ireland

Political Football?
The GAA in Northern Ireland now enjoys an unprecedented level of media coverage and lucrative sponsorship. Despite its high profile however, it is still viewed with suspicion and distrust if not downright hostility by many within the unionist community and continues to court controversy for various reasons. Two recent news stories concerning players Darren Graham and Gerard Cavlan have demonstrated just how significant the impact of the organisation for better or for worse has become.

When Darren Graham threatened to quit playing for his Lisnaskea club in Fermanagh after enduring sustained sectarian abuse, what was originally a low key local issue quickly became front page news on both sides of the border. However, the very fact that Graham, a Protestant (having had family members in the UDR who were murdered by the IRA) was playing Gaelic games is surprising in itself. Ironically, Graham was playing for Lisnaskea Emmets, a club named after an 18th century nationalist martyr who also happened to be a Protestant.