GAA: Johnson ‘snub’ cannot be tolerated if Croker rented

A LEADING GAA official has warned there can be no repeat of the infamous “Martin Johnson snub”, if Croke Park is opened up to other sports.

Seamus Whelan, chairman of the Westmeath Board, has also raised a question mark about Ireland's Call and is adamant Amhrán na bhFiann must continue to be played before games in Croke Park.

When England played Ireland in Lansdowne Road this year, Johnson refused to move his English team to their allotted spot on the red carpet to meet President Mary McAleese.

Ireland then took up their spot further down the field, forcing President McAleese to walk off the red carpet to complete her job of meeting both teams.

It caused uproar, and Whelan has added to the debate in his address to the Westmeath GAA Convention.

“I would expect Central Council to have their conditions of leasing, including the obvious fact that Amhrán na bhFiann is our national anthem and that visiting teams be instructed to have appropriate respect for the head of our state, Uachtarán na hÉireann.”

Whelan says he has an open mind on the issue of Croke Park being opened up, but he indicated he wouldn’t have a problem with soccer and rugby going into the venue.

“Blanket bans don’t serve the GAA well. Central Council and the Management Committee should have the authority to make such decisions,” he said. “We would still be the masters of our own destiny and, obviously, we would give priority access to Gaelic games.

“Clearly the potential financial gains from the rental fee would be of great assistance to the potentially crippling Croke Park debt.”

Meanwhile, veteran Pat Heffernan has been recalled to the Limerick senior hurling squad after an eight-year absence.

New manager Padjoe Whelahan is looking to the Blackrock player to add experience to his young squad.

Heffernan figured on the team that lost to Offaly in the 1994 All-Ireland hurling final, and last played for the county in 1995.

He currently plays junior hurling with the Rockies and also turned his attention to coaching with Murroe Boher and Kilmallock.

Heffernan impressed in recent trial matches arranged by Whelahan and his selectors Declan Nash and Damien Quigley, both of whom also played with the county in their 1994 defeat by Offaly.

However, there are no places in the 49 strong squad for Adare’s Tim Houlihan, regular goalkeeper last season, and play-anywhere Eoin Foley.

Their exclusion does not rule them out for a future call up. A county board spokesman said the squad will be whittled down to about 30 at the end of January.

Veteran Stephen McDonogh has commited to continue for one more season at least, as has Ciaran Carey. Injuries ruled out Brian Geary, Brian Begley, Mark Keane, Conor Fitzgerald, Jack Foley and Clement Smith.

The full panel is: R. Murphy, P. Heffernan (Blackrock), S. McDonogh, J. O’Brien (Bruree), P. Lawlor, M. Cahill, J. Cahill, M.O’Riordan, S. Lucey (Croom), G. O¹Leary (Dromin Athlacca), T.J. Ryan, D. Ryan, M. O¹Brien, M. O’Donnell (Garryspillane), M. O¹Brien (Glenroe), D. Reale, P. Reale (Hospital Herbertstown), A. O¹Shaughnessy, B. Carroll (Kilmallock), P. Kirby, W. O¹Brien. E.Mulcahy (Knockainey), D. Lyons, P. Hartigan (Ballybrown), P. Russell (Monaleen), K. Breen, J. Fitzgerald (Na Piarsaigh), Paul and Peter O’Reilly, Paul and Declan O’Grady, C. Carey (Patrickswell), K. Holmes (Claughaun), O. Moran, N. Moran, S. O’Connor, J. Meskell, P. Conway (Ahane), M. McKenna (Doon), P. Tobin, J. Butler, W. Walsh (Murroe-Boher), A. Shanahan (South Liberties), M. Foley, D. Sheehan (Adare), N. Roche (Croagh-Kilfinny), JP Sheehan, P. Sheehan (Tournafulla), Raymond Hayes (Askeaton).

More in this section

CourtsGaaPlace: Croke ParkPlace: Lansdowne RoadPerson: JohnsonPerson: Martin JohnsonPerson: Seamus WhelanPerson: President Mary McAleesePerson: President McAleesePerson: WhelanPerson: Pat HeffernanPerson: Padjoe WhelahanPerson: HeffernanPerson: BoherPerson: WhelahanPerson: Declan NashPerson: Damien QuigleyPerson: Tim HoulihanPerson: Eoin FoleyPerson: Stephen McDonoghPerson: Ciaran CareyPerson: Brian GearyPerson: Brian BegleyPerson: Mark KeanePerson: Conor FitzgeraldPerson: Jack FoleyPerson: Clement SmithPerson: R. MurphyPerson: P. HeffernanPerson: BlackrockPerson: S. McDonoghPerson: J. O’BrienPerson: BrureePerson: P. LawlorPerson: M. CahillPerson: J. CahillPerson: M.O’RiordanPerson: S. LuceyPerson: CroomPerson: G. O¹LearyPerson: Dromin AthlaccaPerson: T.J. RyanPerson: D. RyanPerson: M. O¹BrienPerson: M. O’DonnellPerson: GarryspillanePerson: GlenroePerson: D. RealePerson: P. RealePerson: A. O¹ShaughnessyPerson: B. CarrollPerson: P. KirbyPerson: W. O¹BrienPerson: E.MulcahyPerson: KnockaineyPerson: D. LyonsPerson: P. HartiganPerson: BallybrownPerson: P. RussellPerson: MonaleenPerson: K. BreenPerson: J. FitzgeraldPerson: Na PiarsaighPerson: PaulPerson: Peter O’ReillyPerson: Declan O’GradyPerson: C. CareyPerson: PatrickswellPerson: K. HolmesPerson: ClaughaunPerson: O. MoranPerson: N. MoranPerson: S. O’ConnorPerson: J. MeskellPerson: P. ConwayPerson: AhanePerson: M. McKennaPerson: DoonPerson: P. TobinPerson: J. ButlerPerson: W. WalshPerson: Murroe-BoherPerson: A. ShanahanPerson: M. FoleyPerson: D. SheehanPerson: AdarePerson: N. RochePerson: Croagh-KilfinnyPerson: JP SheehanPerson: P. SheehanPerson: TournafullaPerson: Raymond HayesPerson: AskeatonEvent: Westmeath GAA ConventionEvent: 1994 All-Ireland hurling finalOrganisation: GAAOrganisation: CrokerOrganisation: Westmeath BoardOrganisation: EnglandOrganisation: IrelandOrganisation: Central CouncilOrganisation: CrokeOrganisation: LimerickOrganisation: BlackrockOrganisation: OffalyOrganisation: MurroeOrganisation: KilmallockOrganisation: AdareOrganisation: South Liberties
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