Armagh subjected to ‘racist’ and ‘partitionist’ abuse claims county board

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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
The Armagh county board have this week issued a statement claiming their players were subjected to “partitionist” abuse during Armagh’s defeat to Laois on Sunday. The statement follows the game in which Ciaran McKeever saw read for allegedly kicking an opponent in the tunnel during half time, an incident which could see the current Armagh captain banned for the remaining two games of the NFL campaign. The statement read, “The chanting of ‘God Save the Queen’ and malign taunting of ‘British B*****d’ has no place either on or off the field of play. This is provocation in the extreme and at variance with Rule 1.2 that ‘the association is a national organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the national identity in a 32-county Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic games and pastimes. This partitionist mindset is contrary to the preamble in the Treori (Rules).” It continued, “The Association is anti-sectarian and anti-racist. Any conduct by deed, word or gesture of a sectarian or racist nature against any player, officials, spectator or anyone else, in the course of activities organised by the Association, shall be deemed to have discredited the Association. We endeavour to promote respect and fair play both on and off the field and do not condone any action which is a contravention of such fair play. However, we also expect to be treated fairly and the rules of the game to be applied in a fair and equitable manner.” In today’s Irish News, assistant manager Paul Grimley claims the sensitive nature of the alleged abuse goes over the head of some players from the south, “I know it is used as a tactic to enrage people, and I know it might be called gamesmanship, but there is a serious side to it. When you do that to a northern team, there could be members of that team who have lost relatives during the conflict up here. You can understand the sensitivities of all that. But that goes over the head of some southern players. They don’t seem to grasp just how sensitive an issue it can be.” The Laois county board have carried out an independent investigation and county chairman Brian Allen said, “We have looked into and we have no evidence to say whether it happened or not.”
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