When the first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, attended a soccer match in November 1938 the GAA was so furious that he had broken Rule 27 that he was removed as patron of the organisation and shunned.
Rule 27 stated: “Any member of the association who plays or encourages in any way... any imported game which is calculated to injuriously affect our national pastimes, is suspended from the association.”
Now, almost 74 years after Hyde’s attendance at an Ireland v Poland match, the GAA is trying to make up for the insult to the Protestant leader.
Tomorrow a book on the episode, entitled The GAA v Douglas Hyde and published by Collins Press, will be launched in Croke Park.
Author Cormac Moore is currently doing a PhD on the history of soccer in Ireland.
Eventually, in 1945, the GAA accepted that the President of Ireland should be able to attend all sporting events here. Rule 27 was repealed in 1971.