Belfast Telegraph

Antrim GAA apologises to Stephen McCoy after he is turned away from match

Stephen was forced to watch the match on his phone
Stephen was forced to watch the match on his phone

Antrim GAA has apologised to Kegworth air disaster survivor Stephen McCoy after he was turned away from a big Gaelic football game in Belfast on Saturday.

Relatives of the 45 year old  Toomebridge man who was left a quadriplegic after the 1989 crash say he had a ticket for the Antrim Senior Football Championship final replay between Cargin and Lamh Dhearg at Corrigan Park.

But his furious sister Yvonne says:"When Stephen arrived in his wheelchair at the match with his brother Vincent he was told there was no more room for disabled spectators.

"Stephen was heartbroken. He was at the first game and he was so looking forward to the replay.

"But he had to come home. There was nothing else for it. He was in tears. But at least Cargin won. 

"However we will be protesting to Antrim  GAA."

Antrim GAA has since issued an apology to Stephen saying he was refused entry as he had arrived after 2pm.

His niece Michaela Mc Gorrey said it's too little, too late. "They may have issued an apology, however this is too little too late as Stephen had already missed the match and the atomosphere that goes along with it."

The Cargin team later called in to Mr McCoy after his match, which Ms Mc Gorrey said "made his night".

The statement from County Chairman Ciaran McCavana said: "Stephen a chara.

"On behalf of Antrim GAA I would like to apologise. It was brought to my attention that you did not gain access to the ground due to arriving after 2pm. I walked to the entrance to ensure your access but you had driven on. I then spoke to your chairman to contact you to return and I would ensure entry.

"St John’s had a memorial event on today and new volunteers were manning the gate and were told to adhere to Belfast city council rule of no car access after 2pm. Once again I apologise for this."

Forty seven people were killed when the Belfast bound  British Midland plane from London  crashed just short of a runway at East Midlands airport and 74 people were seriously injured

Stephen who was in a coma for months wasn't discharged from hospital until three years after the crash with life-changing injuries.

He was brain-damaged and paralysed down one side of his body but he has fought back against adversity and has learnt to walk with the aid of Yvonne who cares for him on a full time basis.

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