Casement Park has become accustomed to missing out on Ulster football finals.
And now it has been snubbed again following the GAA’s decision to stage the first International Rules Test against Australia in October to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
GAA President Nickey Brennan (pictured) had hinted last year that Casement was in line for this plum fixture.
But Central Council approved Limerick as the venue at its meeting over the weekend, prompting Antrim chairman Dr John McSparran to describe the decision as a “missed opportunity for the GAA in Ireland’s second city.”
The GAA’s management committee had decided at its December meeting to invite submissions from the four provincial councils.
In the end they received five applications, with Limerick’s submission coming through the Munster Council.
Casement park and Kingspan Breffni Park both submitted applications individually that didn’t come from the Ulster Council, though McSparran insists that their proposal did have backing from the provincial council.
McSparran made no attempt to disguise his bitter disappointment.
“If it was a business plan they wanted then we weren’t aware of the need for such detail,
“People forget that Belfast is Ireland’s second city, not Cork or Limerick and that the staging of an International Rules Test would have given the GAA up here a massive boost.
“It’s isn’t Gaelic football as we know it and perhaps it’s at odds with some views up here, but people don’t realise just how much the GAA is struggling Belfast.
“Staging such a game in Belfast would have helped raise the game’s profile and would have laid down a marker.” said McSparran.
Meanwhile Tyrone man Chris Curran has been appointed as the new national handball manager for the GAA.