25/11/2011

PSNI's Croke Park Game Makes History

The police are set to take to the historic turf of Croke Park in Dublin.

The PSNI Gaelic football team and their Gardaí counterparts are set to take their place in history with their first match at the Irish venue.

The Northern Ireland police team has played the Gardaí team every year since 2002 but Friday's match will be the first at GAA headquarters.

Indeed, the teams are to play for the McCarthy Cup, itself named after 19th century policeman Thomas St George McCarthy, who was a Royal Irish Constabulary officer, who helped found the GAA in 1884.

The match could never have taken place in the past as the GAA's Rule 21 that banned British security forces from playing Gaelic games, was only lifted a decade ago, in 2001.
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Alliance Justice Spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has today said that the visit of the PSNI Gaelic Football team to Croke Park to play a match with An Garda Síochána Gaelic Football team is very symbolic.

He said that this is a positive indication of Northern Ireland's progress towards a shared future and added that the Alliance Leader and Justice Minister David Ford will even attend at Croke Park for the game.

Stewart Dickson added: "This is a very welcome and extremely symbolic event.

"This match is a strong and very positive indication of Northern Ireland's progress towards a shared future.

"This initiative sends out a message of hope and co-operation. I want to praise both the PSNI and An Garda Síochána on this event and on the close relations that they have."

(BMcC/GK)

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