Belfast Telegraph

GAA star's warning to players in wake of rebel song video clip

Enda McGinley
Enda McGinley

By Annamay McNally

Tyrone GAA players must be more aware of their "responsibility to their county" when using social media, a three-time All-Ireland winner with the Red Hands has said.

Enda McGinley's comments about a video showing some Tyrone players singing an Irish rebel song as a Protestant band parade passed their team bus in the village of Aughnacloy, were echoed by Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, who said the incident offered a "lesson" for everyone.

In an interview with OffTheBall.com, Enda McGinley said while many in GAA circles saw public reaction to the video as "a mountain being made out of a molehill", those who opposed the GAA as a sporting organisation would say the incident "proves many of the prejudice things that they view the GAA on".

"Being a county player you are representing that jersey", the Errigal Ciaran clubman said.

"I think in the modern age, we need to realise [...] any person with any sort of public profile - what you put on your social media represents [the county].

"For those Tyrone players anything on social media represents, not just them, but Tyrone GAA.

"It's a messy situation that does not reflect the GAA well. Unfortunately it's been played up by the opponents of the GAA, of which there are many, to all the stereotypical things that we're trying to show that we're not.

"That one video clip, they'll bring that up for years. They'll say it proves many of the prejudice things that they view the GAA on."

The Red Hands' manager, Mickey Harte, meanwhile, said that an apology he had made about the incident last Monday was "adequate" and "well received by those who needed to hear it".

Harte spoke briefly to BBC SportNI after his county players claimed victory against Roscommon on Saturday and echoed Enda McGinley's warning about social media.

"Social media - I always describe it like a box of matches", Harte said.

"It can be very useful if you use it in the right place, but if you use it beside a petrol tank then it's quite explosive.

"So maybe there's a lesson there to learn for everybody."

Harte said he had no further comment to make about the matter, which police have said they are investigating as an alleged hate incident.

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