GAA to consider Ahern's request -- next spring

THE Government's request to the GAA for the use of Croke Park for the 2008 European Soccer championships will not be debated at this weekend's GAA Special Congress.

This was confirmed last evening by GAA PRO Danny Lynch after he issued a short statement outlining a brief discussion on the matter at an earlier meeting of the Central Council.

The statement pointed out the Government's formal request for use of the stadium "was brought to the Central Council, where it was discussed". It added the request was a matter that "could only be considered" at annual Congress" in the spring.

No reference was made to the midweek meeting between the GAA leadership and the Government with a view to promised funding of Croke Park. At the meeting it emerged the Association will have to submit a fresh application for the balance of the money promised 18 months ago.

In his formal opening address to Congress, Mr McCague did not discuss either issue. However, in a reference to "external challenges" there was an implicit rejection of suggestions the Association should lift its ban on the use of Croke Park to justify public funding.

"Part of our legacy is that we also have to face external challenges to our existence, very often from those who benefit most from our contribution to society. We have never been deflected from our vision by those external forces and we will not be deflected now.

"We do not need to be told, nor do we want to be told, how we should go about achieving our aims.

"For over a quarter of a century we have mapped an independent route and I think it is fairly accurate to say we have reached our destination with considerable style and panache. That approach has served us well. Why should we change it now?"

At a general level Mr. McCague said while the Association remained ambitious, it faced new challenges every day. One priority should be to ensure that every boy and girl had the opportunity to play their native games. "We want them to dream, as we all have done, of one day playing for their native county or indeed country in Croke Park and we want to help them to realise those dreams.

"It is important from the position of strength that we enjoy today, that we continue to expand, that we broaden our horizons even more and become even stronger.''

Mr. McCague said the demographic shift from a rural to urban-based population had presented them with a need to re-structure and to re-focus. But this had not altered their role in society.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.