Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

All Ireland Football Championship: GAA President Cooney tells fans to stay off Croke Park pitch

Croke Park
Croke Park

GAA President Christy Cooney has thrown down a challenge to followers of Down and Cork in advance of Sunday’s All Ireland football final at Croke Park.

“I want the fans to show that they can follow in the footsteps of their Kilkenny and Tipperary counterparts who did not attempt to enter the playing arena after the All Ireland hurling final. I think those supporters set the tone for what we hope will become the normal post-match presentation ceremony in the Hogan Stand in the future rather than have people exposed to danger through a pitch invasion,” says Cooney.

Down officials have already appealed to fans to desist from booing when Cork are taking free-kicks while chairman Seamus Walsh has also expressed the hope that the post-match presentation ceremony and celebrations, irrespective of who wins, will go off without a hitch.

Yet although the All Ireland hurling trophy was presented to Tipperary against a backcloth of restrained celebrations with supporters remaining in their places, there has since been considerable debate on what is perceived in many quarters as having been a “coldly impersonal, sanitised” presentation that was devoid of any real passion, fervour or pageantry.

Now Cooney is calling on fans of the winning team not to enter the playing pitch.

“There are serious dangers associated with this,” he said. “I thought that the celebrations after the hurling final went wonderfully well. I would like to think that the same scenario will prevail this Sunday.”

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