The GAA are to issue a directive cutting the traditional minute’s silence to 20 seconds before matches, writes John Fogarty.
Such forms of respect are commonplace prior to Amhrán na bhFiann being played but are to be reduced now in a move, which has been described by one Central Council delegate as “common sense”.
In what is now to be known as “a moment’s silence”, the referee will time the shortened period of reflection and tribute after the announcement has been made. It is understood the GAA’s match presentation committee made the recommendation to Ard Chomhairle.
According to The Westmeath Examiner, the county’s Central Council delegate Tom Farrell made the “common sense” comment when explaining the decision at last Thursday’s board meeting.
However, it prompted an argument with Moate club delegate Seamus McLoughlin, who suggested advertising might be a reason behind the decision. McLoughlin put it to Farrell that was “the television companies or Croke Park who decided on the 20 seconds?”
As a means of compromise, county vice-chairman Billy Foley proposed that the minute’s silence be kept for games in Westmeath, which received approval from the floor. A satisfied Mr McLoughlin responded: “There’s no respect anymore for anyone who maybe went out and spent Sunday mornings wearing a pair of top-boots, getting a club pitch ready. It’s all about the top teams.”
In venues such as Croke Park, the minute’s silence has almost been replaced by periods of applause to commemorate the deceased. It is seen as not only a more appropriate gesture but a means of ensuring the minute’s silence wasn’t broken by an unruly fan or set of fans.
Meanwhile, Waterford full-back Barry Coughlan is believed to have suffered a broken jaw in Sunday’s Division 1A win over Clare. Coughlan bravely went to retrieve a ball in the dying stages and in the making managed to earn a free when his team were just one point up.
Coughlan could be out for as long as two months but should be fit in time for the Munster semi-final against Cork or Tipperary.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.