GAA Angry Fans

Fallout from the All Ireland senior hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary

Fans everywhere welcome Clare's first-time-ever triumph in Sunday's All Ireland

Under 21 hurling final, but some Clare fans question if their famed Bainisteoir,

Mike McNamara, is the best man to nurture this new talent to senior success.


cost of getting into games is a continuing source of irritation since the recession

began, except now it has spread from Croke Park to Cork club games! And, having

paid your good money to get in, wouldn't you be angry too if someone beside you

puffed away on cigarettes throughout the game?

Get in touch: Give your views

and comments to An Fear Rua himself at GAA Angry Fans in 'The Irish Examiner'

Just drop an email to and get AFR's reaction to what you have

to say.

If you make the 'Comment of the Week', we have a fabulous prize of

exclusive 'his or hers' GAA t-shirts, supplied by our old pals at,

where you can design your own club or county leisure wear.


to watch the Under 21 All Ireland hurling final on Sunday and to see two superb

teams give their all in pursuit of an All Ireland title for their county. These

players were not interested in the GAA's pending recognition of the GPA, government

grants to players or in what they could gain financially from the game. They were

all proud to wear the county jersey and all that mattered in the end was that

they had played their hearts out in their endeavours to win an All Ireland medal.

Thank goodness the 'powers that be' were not successful last year in their efforts

to abolish the Under 21 grade. We all saw what it meant to Clare when the final

whistle sounded. It is wonderful to see Clare, who were ably led by those six

great warriors from county champions Collar, return to the All Ireland winners

enclosure for the first time in twelve years by winning their first ever Under

21 title. Well done to two fine sporting teams.

- Seamus Walsh


TO CLARE on a courageous and well deserved victory in the Under 21 All Ireland

final. I thought their full back line, in particular, were outstanding. Those

young lads are a credit to their county, not an ounce of cynicism in them. And

fair play also to their fans, I hadn't seen such a large crowd up for an Under

21 final since it was moved to Croker in 2006. Their celebrations at the end had

to be seen in person, such a roar out of them and no keeping them from the field.

Great for hurling, and to have Clare back on the big stage.

- Clonliffe


AFR'S SHOUT: The hunger is in the Banner again. The 'shout'

will reverberate across Munster and the rest of Ireland again soon. I presume

that some the 'offeeeshals' who wanted to abolish the Under 21 grade were at the

game and hung their heads in shame afterwards. It is the logical stepping stone

from minor to adult and we would lose a whole generation of hurlers and footballers

if it were abolished.

WE LAUGHED OUR heads off on Sunday when the 'Plan

B' sign inevitably came up and we made our way on to the pitch. It was great to

stand in the middle of Croke Park and watch a Clare man pick up the 'cup' yoke

in the Hogan Stand. To stand on the same ground as the men who had played a massive

contest and take in the enormity of the stadium with friend, family and fellow

Clare people of all ages make the day something I will never forget. Even the

Special Olympics anthem has new meaning when you are there as a winner on final

day. Make Plan B the new Plan A and manage it properly. Sunday's experience shows

only special and unique the GAA is.

- Hit em hard


It may have been a good idea in the long term to outlaw pitch invasions in Croke

Park but GAA officialdom made a right hames of convincing the rest of us that

it is. They are quite happy to let people on to the field for concerts and to

re-lay the pitch virtually on the eve of the All Irelands. They are silent on

the issue of other leading venues where there are greater - and more pressing

- health and safety issues, nothing to do with pitch invasions. In other venues,

the provincial councils seem to almost encourage after-match invasions in order

to create atmosphere. By announcing their anti-invasion stance only a week before

the hurling finals, the top brass left themselves with no time to convince fans.

At least they've seen sense and Jones's Road remains Páirc an Chrócaigh

not Páirc an Cheacescu!

I HAVE NEVER wanted to respond to anything

I've read in any paper before but I just can't help it. The comments made by Terry

O'Brien in Tuesday's 'GAA Angry Fans' section in relation to Kilkenny's All-Ireland

win were in bad form. It seems to me that his comment '...winning a game of 16

v 14, well done, you must be very proud' is totally belittling to a team that

has managed to stay at the pinnacle of the game for the last four years, at a

time when the dedication shown by ALL players is essentially professional. And

then to begrudge the Kilkenny players the admiration of some in the media that

their performances over the years deserve is, well, ridiculous. When Kilkenny

do eventually get beaten it will be by a better team and there will be no disputing

that. And when that day comes, you can be guaranteed the hurling will be played

at a level that Kilkenny and Brian Cody helped reach. This attitude is bitter,

and to be honest, makes the winning all the sweeter.

- Niamh Kennedy


SHOUT: If we had an award for 'Angriest Fan of the Year' Terry O'Brien in

last week's forum would be short odds to win it, no doubt. However, Niamh, you've

delivered a dignified and comprehensive retort in the great spirit of Kilkenny

hurling. We particularly agree with your comment that the 'Cody/Kilkenny' bar

will never be lowered, will go getting higher and other counties will just have

to gear themselves to respond.


proud and a very sad Tipperary man this week. Proud in the knowledge that Tipperary

are back on track and are wearing the jersey with pride and honour once again.

Sad that these guys did not get their due reward. I am a gracious loser and I

cannot but commend this Kilkenny team for their achievements.

How sad,

then, that after an absolutely pulsating game that the after match discussion

should be on the decision which eventually broke Tipp hearts. The game deserved

an uncontroversial ending, irrespective of which team went on to win. I also want

to see the rules being applied - frontal head on challenges and hurley throwing

must be stamped out. We cannot continue to introduce rules and then not apply


Two changes I would like to see introduced for the future: a) video replays

- The GAA is professional now in all but name, and players deserve fair and just

outcomes after the huge sacrifices they put in! b) referees should be from the

provinces not involved in the finals, and definitely not from bordering counties!!!!


Gerard O'Rourke

AFR'S SHOUT: The problems with hurling refereeing in

the modern game have nothing to do with the referee's county or province of origin

and the change you suggest will improve nothing. No matter where they're from,

a referee will always do their best and try to be fair. The problems are more

to do with the sheer speed of the game, the multi-tasking the referee has to contend

with, the limited responsibility given to umpires and line officials to assist

the referee and the aversion to introducing electronic means of tracking the games.


IT IS time for the GAA to learn from the rugby people? A great hurling All Ireland

spectacle was ruined due to the lack of a video adjudication. The gallant Tipperary

players were entitled to better for all their year's near-professional efforts.

This is the least we should all expect when being charged € 70 per ticket.

Croke Park, get with it!

- Don Crowley

I STILL FEEL that feel

Tipp were hard done by in the senior hurling final. It was a terrible decision

by the ref to give a penalty. This was one of the real turning points in the game,

as was the sending off, although the latter was a correct decision. We need to

ensure that grave errors, like the penalty do not happen again. It's time to see

technology introduced for high profile games. The sooner the better. I think Tipp

were probably the slightly better team but the Cats go the rub of the green.



AFR'S SHOUT: The controversy among fans over the referee's decisions

hasn't abated in the week since the final. There is plenty of scope for increased

use of technology to make the refereeing and umpiring of our games more accurate,

and therefore, fairer - whether it's a countdown clock, electronic tracking of

the ball between the posts or selected use of video re-runs of controversial incidents.


I BE crazy in stating that Mike Mac has to go in Clare? He's supposed to be building

a team for the future yet Conlon and Honan have to win an all before he'll pick

them - that's assuming, of course, that he will pick them next year. I don't think

he should be clinging to players at the end of their career but should be introducing

new young players. Remember we had an outstanding Under 21 team last year also.

We have some good senior players and we have the chance of a lifetime to make

another great team if we could just get a manager to nurture the new blood. Let's

not do a Limerick on it and waste a good generation of players.

- The antidenis


SHOUT: Clare's record under Mike Mac has not been great and I can empathise

with your frustration in that regard. However, it's always a major challenge to

keep winning while phasing out older players and bringing on new ones and maybe

he hasn't got that right. Whoever manages Clare in 2010, I agree with you that

Limerick's frittering away of Under 21 winners - in both hurling and football

- is a salutary lesson to learn from.


are going the GAA soon won't need to worry about putting up fences around Croke

Park. In recession time, people are just not able to afford the €70 admission

money. The local pub trade will boom again on All Ireland Day.

- Pogmohon


SHOUT: So, Diageo end up as winners, one way or the other!


CARD I AM DELIGHTED THAT the ridiculous scenes of security people trying to

keep fans off the pitch will not be repeated at the football finals. It's very

easy to get disillusioned with our little island, especially these days, but a

'people power' victory like this makes me proud. I believe it was the sponsors

who were pushing this change, not the insurance company. I also don't buy the

argument about damage to the pitch. How could this year's invasions be any more

damaging than all the ones for the past hundred years?

- Knight Set


SHOUT: I don't know if the sponsors were pushing for a change. But, if they

were, they are at least entitled to put a proposition to the GAA on a change in

the presentation ceremony. That's not unreasonable, given the value of sponsorship

to the All Ireland championships, especially in the past decade. The problems

arose from GAA officialdom's clumsy approach to implementing the change.


WHEN I attend GAA matches, I hear announcements over the PA about spectators not

being allowed to smoke in the stands. That is only right and proper. However,

I have observed people smoking in the stands at provincial venues during games

in the All Ireland qualifiers this year. Surely, the time has come for the Association

to put up 'No Smoking' signs in the stands at all major GAA grounds. Also, no

marks to selfish supporters who don't think of others while puffing away.


Seamus O'Farrell

AFR'S SHOUT: It's amazinghow some people can

go to a healthy, outdoor pursuit like watching Gaelic games and then undo most

of the good - for themselves and others nearby - by puffing away at an oul fag.

'No Smoking' signs, backed up by a few 'No Smoking Maoir' might stub out this

appalling practice.

RED CARD IS THERE ANYONE out there like me who

is severely worried at the lack of height in the Cork full back line for Sunday's

final? I can't see them being able to compete with Tommy Walsh and Ciaran Donaghy,

if fit, in the air. Both of them have half a foot of height advantage and also

a strength advantage.

- Crazy Diamond


thing the Cork full back line will do on Sunday is compete. Don't worry about

that. Have a bit more faith and confidence in your team. If memory serves me correctly,

they have been well able to mark Colm Cooper as well as Tommy Walsh last year.

TICK IN THE BOOK THE BACK DOOR has ruined hurling. After Offaly's

win in '98 every single All Ireland since has been won by one of 'The Big Three'.

After the Revolution Years of the mid-nineties the back door, supposedly introduced

to help ''weaker' counties has merely cemented 'The Big Three' in place. The chances

of beating any of them twice in one season is virtually nil and championship should

be all about 'on the day' performances.

- Dubliner 2


SHOUT: In fairness to Kilkenny, all of their seven All Irelands in this decade

have been won straight through the 'front' door so you can't exactly claim they

have been beneficiaries of the Qualifiers system. At the same time, I agree that

while some people may see merit in the 'back door' system, it can hardly be based

on helping the 'weaker' counties! The facts prove otherwise.


THE COST OF getting into championship matches in the lower grades in Cork is outrageous.

I was at a Junior A hurling match first round game earlier in the season and it

cost me €8. I was at a senior county quarter final a few weeks back and it

cost €10. I expect to get in for next to nothing especially to a Junior A

match where you have about 100 people watching and the standard is poor. It costs

very little to host such games and the GAA is not a business that needs to turn

a profit.

- Cop on Boys

AFR'S SHOUT: Most club membership fees

do not cover the cost of running the club and, even if they have a weekly lottery,

most of that cash goes towards investment in facilities. So, how do you think

they pay for playing gear, insurance, hot showers, physio for the players and

all the other myriad expenses? At €8 to €10 gate money, any GAA club

game still represents good value.


to say Goodbye' would Croke Park please stop ever having to play this song after

matches and get with the times? It was composed for the Special Olympics in 2003

and it has been played after every game in Croker since. It's time for a new song.


Stick man

AFR'S SHOUT: It's amazing how sharply opinion is divided

on this. Some people say you'll never understand how the words tugs at the emotional

strings until you've heard the song played after your own county has won the All

Ireland. Maybe all those Kilkenny, Kerry, Tyrone and Cork fans are getting a bit

fed up of it but fans from success starved counties like Waterford, Clare, Tipperary

and Dublin might still like to hear the familiar bars ringing out - at least once

before it's scrapped.

No contest this week! Niamh Kennedy wins 'Comment

of the Week' for her honest and forthright tribute to the Kilkenny senior

hurlers. Her every word was imbued with passion for a great county.


hope Larry and some of the other Tipp lads at can find it in

their hearts to design Niamh her choice of a His or Hers GAA T-shirt. Maybe something

with the words 'Kilkenny Four in a row' or even 'FIVE in a row'? is

the web site where you can design your own leisure wear online.


with more great conversation, controversy and craic on 'An Fear Rua - The GAA

Unplugged!' at

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