The hostile remarks on various social media recently when Terence McGinley, a former member of the Donegal GAA executive, raised the issue of his county team’s disrespect for Amhrán na bhFiann, reveals much about the terrible vulnerability and lack of self esteem of those who chose to criticise McGinley.
To suggest any of us who might actually notice how our county players stand to attention for the anthem “haven’t got a lot to be worried about” is missing the point. The point, surely, is that we in the GAA are diminished as a community when players, whom we revere so much, display such an explicit sign of lost cultural self-confidence by disrespecting Amhrán na bhFiann. All over the world today, you will see different groups of people giving expression to their vision of what it means to be Irish. Surely it is a fundamental element of that vision that one would stand to attention when one’s national anthem is played at public events such as Gaelic football matches? Surely it behoves our county footballers who represent a tradition and a heritage so cherished and so hard earned, to exercise all the faculties of a full-grown human being within that tradition by respecting the anthem? Surely that’s not too much to ask for... is it?
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