Peace has broken out between Armagh and Laois !
As we reported earlier this week, the Armagh County Board alleged that their players were ‘subjected to racism’ and ‘partitionist provocation’ during their Allianz League game against Laois at the weekend, something disputed by
Laois ,who ,following their own enquiries , could find no evidence to support the Armagh claims.
In a hard hitting statement, the Armagh Board had also said “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”.
So it came to pass that representatives of the two County Boards met on Thursday to try and find a way forward that was acceptable to both sides and would avoid any further damage to the good name of the GAA.
A joint statement from Laois and Armagh , issued by GAA Communications Director, Alan Milton, read:
“A meeting of representatives of Armagh and Laois County Boards took place today to discuss last Sunday’s Allianz League Football game in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
It was agreed that allegations made by Armagh County Board in their statement do not accurately reflect what occurred in O’Moore Park.
It is acknowledged by both Boards that inappropriate verbal exchanges took place between players during the game and this will be addressed with our respective panels.
Both Laois and Armagh are committed to the playing of our games in the best possible spirit and look forward to the continuation of a keen, sporting rivalry”.
And how do the Armagh supporters about the latest development? A pretty mixed reaction, judging by comments on the Orange County’s GAA forum – many professed to be very embarrassed that the County Board had ever issued their original statement
and then not followed it up at the meeting. Should they ever have gone public in the first place ,some surmised, if they were not going to fully back up their allegations.? A small number were calling for the resignation of the Board.
Others felt that the County Board were right to have protested and still feel strongly that this is another example where the GAA HQ have not done enough to eradicate such abuse as was alleged to have been addressed to
Ciaran McKeever last Sunday. Prior to the “racism” and “partitionist provocation’ statement from the County Board the main concerns expressed following the match had been against against Sligo referee Martin Duffy and the perceived indiscipline of McKeever
in likely missing the rest of the campaign at a time when the team was fighting a relegation battle and needing their Captain to lead from the front.