Assistant manager Paul Grimley appeals to referee Michael Duffy after sending off Ciaran McKeever before the start of the second half. ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Sectarian storm: Armagh complain of 'racist' abuse towards players

‘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,’ said Armagh statement.

Updated 11:20

THE GAA WAS embroiled in a new ugly row last night after Armagh released a statement complaining of ‘racist and personal’ taunts towards their players.

On Sunday, the Orchard County’s captain, Ciaran McKeever was sent off at half time for allegedly kicking a Laois player.

McKeever did not accept the decision handed down by referee, Michael Duffy, and had returned to the field after the half time interval. He still denies the charge.

The timing of this statement would suggest that the player believes he was provoked.

Armagh’s statement opened by expressing concern, “at the alleged racist and personal abuse, directed at our players, apparently going unpunished. Racist abuse is in direct contravention of Rule 1.12 : The Association is Anti-Sectarian and Anti-Racist.”

The statement continues with a hint at what may have been said to McKeever and what many GAA players from Northern Ireland – including Armagh’s All-Ireland winning manager, Joe Kiernan - have complained of in the past.

“The chanting of “God Save the Queen” and malign taunting of “British Bastard” has no place either on or off the field of play.”

“This is provocation in the extreme and at variance with Rule 1.2 : 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.”

The strongly-worded statement concludes:

“We endeavor to promote respect and fair play both on and of 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.”

This morning, a spokeperson for Laois told The Score: “We have no proof of that. We hadn’t heard anything about it until we read it in the paper.”

He added that the county would conduct their own internal inquiry into the matter saying, “We’ll look into it. We certainly wouldn’t condone any such chants.”

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