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GAA set to hold firm on stance on pitch invasions by fans in Croke Park

Health and safety issues will continue to prevent celebrating fans from going on to the Croke Park pitch despite recent invasions in Limerick and Monaghan.

Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

THE GAA ARE not set to relax their policy on pitch invasions in Croke Park despite the recent celebrations on pitches by Limerick and Monaghan fans after their counties provincial final victories.

Limerick ended a 17-year wait for the Munster senior hurling title with success against Cork last Sunday week and their victory sparked a mass pitch invasion at the Gaelic Grounds.

Those scenes were replicated in Clones last Sunday when Monaghan overturned Donegal to win their first Ulster senior football crown since 1988.

But the GAA are not set to change with the established recent practice of keeping fans off the pitch in Croke Park after matches due to health and safety reasons.

“I understand that it’s something very special,” admits GAA Director-General Paraic Duffy.

“I enjoyed the experience last Sunday, it was fantastic for Monaghan supporters, but it is dangerous.

“It is great when everything goes off well but there is no change on our position on that. The reason for us saying no to pitch invasions is the fact that it’s a health and safety issue.

“Last Sunday in Clones you’d 30,000 people and the week before in Limerick you’d 40,000 people. But in Croke Park you potentially have 80,000 people coming on to the pitch.

“So it does create huge problems in Croke Park. This is not a GAA crusade and it was a case of us acting on Garda advice.

“The other huge problem with Croke Park is when people come onto the pitch. They all go out onto Jones’ Road and that’s what brought this to a head, when crowds are facing in different directions, there is a problem outside of the stadium as well as inside.”

Monaghan fans in Clones last Sunday.
Pic: INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

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Fintan O'Toole

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