Belfast Telegraph

Fury after hurlers celebrate All-Ireland win with IRA song

All-Ireland winners in rendition of Sean South

Limerick’s Declan Hannon lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup at Croke Park
Limerick’s Declan Hannon lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup at Croke Park
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The widow of an RUC reservist murdered by the IRA in 1991 has said seeing a video of Limerick’s All-Ireland winning hurling team singing a song which glorifies an IRA man was hurtful.

The video show the players singing the rebel song ‘Sean South of Garryowen’, written about one of two IRA men killed during an attack on Brookborough RUC station on New Year’s Day 1957.

Now living outside Northern Ireland, Brookborough-born Phyllis Carrothers (62), whose husband Douglas (Dougie) died when a bomb exploded under his car as he left work at a timber yard in Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh on May 17, 1991, criticised the singing of the song.

“I have seen the video online,” she said.

“I have nothing against hurling, I don’t follow the sport, but I would congratulate them on their success. They have every right to celebrate their achievement, but this is a song that should not be sung in celebration. It’s hurtful.

“It’s a rebel song and totally out of context for a team who are supposed to be celebrating. A man going to kill people trying to work for a living and support their families is not something to sing about in celebration.

“This past two weeks we have watched Omagh and Ballygawley come together to remember those murdered at the hands of similar men.

“Sean South was setting out to do something similar. He was a terrorist on a mission and this song needs to be seen for what it is, a glorification of what he wanted to do — murder RUC members.”

South, from the Garryowen area of Limerick city, was killed in the 1957 attack on Brookeborough RUC station. Fellow IRA man Fergal O’Hanlon, from Co Monaghan, also died.

The South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), which provides support to victims and survivors of terrorism across Fermanagh and beyond, said the hurlers should not be engaged in glorifying terrorism.

Its director of services Kenny Donaldson said: “Sunday’s victory will be celebrated across Limerick city and beyond and we too offer them congratulations.

“However, what we cannot allow to go unchecked is the singing of an IRA rebel song in the aftermath of that victory by the very players who had just achieved such a sporting achievement.

“Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, along with the others within that IRA column that attacked Brookeborough, were terrorists.

“They most certainly were not freedom fighters, and what are they martyrs of?”

Mr Donaldson called on the GAA to act over the singing.

The GAA said it had received no complaints.

It added: “The song was not played over the PA system here and we have not had any other contact on this matter.”

Belfast Telegraph


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