GAA chiefs last night expressed delight that fans remained off the field after Tipperary’s sensational victory over Kilkenny in yesterday’s All-Ireland SHC final.
The Association were adamant that the tradition of post-match pitch invasions would not be tolerated for the hurling decider and had undertaken a number of high-profile strategies – including the placing of a perspex wall at the front of Hill 16 – to achieve their ambition.
GAA communications chief Lisa Clancy last night thanked all involved in making the presentation a success and is hopeful for a repeat after the All-Ireland football decider between Cork and Down in a fortnight.
She said: “Yes we are delighted that everything went according to plan. It was due to a combination of factors – the support from the fans, the GPA, the players, management, gardaí and the stewards.
“We had done a huge communication campaign nationally and locally to achieve this. It was a massive effort and everyone was committed to it being a success. And thankfully it was.
“It all meant that the winning team got to enjoy a celebration that was unique while the losing team was able to leave the field without been swarmed by opposition fans.”
The construction of a barrier at the front of Hill 16 was heavily criticised but Clancy is convinced that the work was vindicated yesterday.
“At the time it was going up people were questioning the motives and what we were doing. But the Hill was a weak spot in relation to post-match incidents. But it worked out fine yesterday. Indeed the fans were able to look right through it to see their players celebrate.”
But Croke Park wouldn’t be celebrating the success of the new policy just yet.
“The key thing is that we will be looking to do the same for the All-Ireland football final and we would be hopeful that fans from Cork and Down will react in the same way that the Tipperary and Kilkenny fans did yesterday.
“We would like to see a day when this (fans remaining off the field after the final) becomes normal. We are confident that it can be achieved but we will be taking it one day at a time.
“Yesterday was a fantastic day, Kilkenny are a fantastic team and now Tipperary are fantastic champions.”
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