In early 2004, the latest motion to open up Croke Park to other sports was ruled out of order before it got to annual congress. Reaction from the sponsoring counties was swift and unsparing.
“It smacks of totalitarianism,” said Dublin’s county secretary John Costello. The late Noel Walsh, from Clare, an indefatigable promoter of the cause: “It’s a black day for democracy,” whereas Roscommon’s Tommy Kenoy, who had been within a single vote of piloting the reform through just three years previously: “It’s a dictatorial approach that doesn’t sit well with democracy within the GAA. ”
They were just three of eight counties who had submitted similar motions and the object of their wrath was the motions committee, comprised of all the past GAA presidents – a collective not generally known for their trendy, liberal views.
Even so, this took the biscuit. Huge efforts had been made to ensure everything was in order. Then president, Seán Kelly, was a declared supporter of change and Croke Park’s management committee, through central council, …