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MINZY Cat Look Ahead Look Right Beside You Poster
HOW THE IRISH TIMES REPORTED THE LIFTING OF THE BAN MINZY Cat Look Ahead Look Right Beside You Poster
“It didn’t go to a vote,” says Tommy Kilcoyne. “Pat Fanning handled it well and just said, ‘it’s time for it to go’. There was no acrimony but a few words of dissent. I remember a delegate from Wexford, saying there should be more debate about it.”
Fanning has been praised for the manner in which he accepted a decision that ran deeply against his own conservative views and those of a significant minority but the overwhelming verdict of 30 counties couldn’t be gainsaid.
“In a short while now,” he said to delegates, “you will acknowledge the expressed will of the association and delete a rule, which for many of us was a rule of life and reflected and epitomised the very spirit of the association. The rule deleted – what then? Do we the reject the past and with deletion, proclaim ourselves a mere sports organisation?”
He then went as far as to say that had he known of such a development before taking office, he would have found it very difficult to accept the presidency.
“Are our clubs, their roots deep in parish, town and city to cease to be GAA units as our fathers moulded them? Is it possible our Gaelic fields, purchased and developed with GAA money so that Irish boys should play Irish games, may be used for other purposes to weaken and perhaps ultimately destroy the association?”
He did ask that congress approve the appointment of a committee to restate and reaffirm the association’s national attitudes and policies – and undertook that this would not be used to re-introduce the deleted rule by a back door.
That committee came up with the provision that would be used to keep other sports out of GAA venues until Croke Park opened to international rugby and soccer in the mid-2000s.
It was never an ancient item in some 19th-century suite of prohibitions but a palliative for conservatives after the deletion of the Ban.
Ireland’s most famous rugby player of the time, Mike Gibson greeted the news pragmatically, expressing the hope that it “would encourage any player who previously has been precluded from playing the game – hoping that some big Kerry men turn up”.
Three years later Moss Keane turned up and made his debut for Ireland. At the end of the 1977 Lions tour of New Zealand, in which he played for the test team, he was asked by the BBC’s Nigel Starmer-Smith what had been his outstanding memory.
“Hearing that Kerry had beaten Cork in the Munster final.”