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The little-known story of the first sporting victim of Croke Park's Bloody Sunday tragedies


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Gunned down: Colonel Hugh Ferguson Montgomery

Gunned down: Colonel Hugh Ferguson Montgomery

Gunned down: Colonel Hugh Ferguson Montgomery

Just after three o'clock on Sunday, November 21, 1920, groups of RIC policemen, Auxiliaries and members of the notorious 'Black and Tans' arrived at a Gaelic football match at Croke Park in Dublin and began firing at spectators and players. Within 90 seconds, 14 men, women and children lay dead or dying.

The killings were roundly condemned by the British military and civil authorities, but the hurt that was caused that day helped shape the GAA, and it took almost 90 years more before players of other sports were permitted to play on what some in the association saw as holy ground.

The attack on Croke Park did not come out of the blue but was a reprisal for the killing of 16 men earlier that day. The Anglo-Irish War, or War of Independence, was under way, and IRA leader Michael Collins organised a series of attacks on British intelligence officers in various homes around the city. The dawn raids claimed 16 lives - 10 Army officers, one RIC sergeant, two cadets in the RIC Auxiliary Division and three civilians.


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