Croke Park..Ireland vs England…BIG DEAL!?

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As the proud nation SMASHES England in the 6 Nations Rugby Match in Croke Park tonight, many of us were left to wonder…(especially if you were not Irish, or didnt do your bit in Irish history…)

“WHATS THE BIG DEAL WITH CROKE PARK?!!!”

Let me englighten you. Croke Park was NEVER a soccer or rugby stadium. Since it was built and opened in 1884, It was meant only for Gaelic Football and Hurling. Since the GAA was the founders of Croke Park, it didnt seem like the proper venue for international games…it was meant to be the venue for purely IRISH events…

In the year 2000, Landsdowne road, the normal stadium used for rugby and soccer had to go through refurbishment in order to lower the noise pollution for the neighbors around then during the matches.

So where do the international matches of soccer and rugby go?

Croke Park? …although it seemed to be the smart idea, many were opposed.

Fast forward 5 years in April, after much debate, (If you agreed to opening up Croke Park, you were “sabotaging Irish Culture”, and if you didnt agree to opening up Croke Park, you were “being a narrow minded shi*t.”) the GAA decided to open its doors for international matches.

Let it be known, Croke Park is regarded as one of the biggest stadium in europe…. WOW!!

Two weeks ago the first rugby match was held..Ireland vs France, as part of the Six Nations Matches. (Ireland was shamed in defeat..lets us not talk about that… :( )

Tonight was Ireland VS ENGLAND

More debate because Croke Park was the grounds for Bloody Sunday, a sad day in 1920 Irish history when British Soldiers opened fire against a crowd watching a match.

There were even talks of whether or not to play “God Save the Queen” for fear of controversy and perhaps fights erupting. (Big props to the fans who were there tonight, the anthem was played, and the spectators didnt explode into conflict. Way to be diplomatic and represent Ireland!!! Im really glad it went without a hitch!)

After all this talk and hoohah, the match began tonight..and ended proudly :

Ireland – 43 England – 13

Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!!

1 Comment so far

  1. Andy (unregistered) on March 1st, 2007 @ 10:16 am

    Excellent post. Accurate info.

    Just to add some more – the GAA was set up with one of it’s aims being to promote Irish culture at a time when the Irish language and culture were dying out (remember that Irish language had been historically outlawed by English). Now, the truth is that the demise of the culture was not something that could be entirely blamed on the English (far from it in reality!). Anyhow, this historic fact also played a major part in the reluctance of the GAA to allow soccer and rugby to be played.

    Also note: American football was played there in the 80s (I was at a west point versus boston match myself), and when the special olympics were there surely every manner of sport was played, along with a lot of different national anthems.

    Bit of a storm in a teacup if you ask me, and it would have to be Irish tea – none of this foreign stuff! lol



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