Tyrone chairman Pat Darcy has added his voice to those calling for a rethink on plans to fence off Croke Park to limit pitch invasions on big match days.
Stadium manager Peter McKenna believes that health and safety dictates new safety precautions must come into play, but he’s now facing mounting opposition from several different quarters.
“It didn’t impact on us in Tyrone this year as we didn’t make the All Ireland final.
“My own personal opinion though is that supporters should be allowed onto the pitch. What might be done is to allow it but in a more controlled way, possibly allowing one section out at a time.
“I appreciate there is a health and safety issue involved, but providing it was all done in an orderly fashion, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work to everyone’s satisfaction. Problems only arise when people run on to the pitch clambering over everything,” said Darcy.
Two former GAA Presidents, Dr Mick Loftus and Sean Kelly, have already come out strongly against plans to keep spectators off the hallowed turf.
Some GAA fans claim that the Croke Park surface suffered more damage in the course of the U2 concerts last month than in any of the pitch invasions after the football and hurling finals.
All this at a time when the Kilkenny County Board is deciding whether to formally lodge a complaint with Croke Park after claims that some of their supporters were assaulted by stewards immediately after their latest All Ireland hurling success.
The influx of supporters onto the field after that game prompted the GAA to abandon the podium plan for the football equivalent last Sunday although the victorious Armagh minor team were presented with their trophy from the pitch.
“My understanding is that stewards opened the gates and there were no problems,” said Kerry County Chairman Jerome Conway.
“The difficulty appears to arise when there is aggravation between supporters and stewards at the gates and people start jumping fences. I was interested to see how the minor presentation would work out, but it seemed that only those in the Hogan Stand could actually see what was happening. Those in the Cusack Stand might as well have been sitting at home.”