Former Galway footballer says abuse towards Irish speaking GAA players is common

A GAA club in Connemara recently complained that a referee told players to stop speaking Irish

Former Galway footballer says abuse towards Irish speaking GAA players is common

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Former Galway footballer Sean O'Domhnaill says that Irish speaking GAA players have been suffering from discrimination for years.

The All-Ireland winning player's comments come in the wake of allegations that players from the Na Piarsaigh/Ros Muc GAA club in Connemara were told to stop speaking Irish during a game. Complaints about the referee who is reported to have prohibited the players from speaking in their native tongue during a game against Salthill/Knocknacarra, are being processed by the county board.

Speaking to the Connacht Tribune, O'Domhnaill said that he his teammates relied on the Irish language to help them get an edge on their opponents. He also condemned any abuse aimed at gaeilgeoirs trying to communicate during a game.

"I could finger half the county out. Yeah, we were told to stop speaking Irish and go back to Connemara and all that. But I used to tell them I’d no problem speaking the Queen’s language. It shouldn’t happen. We’ve the biggest Gaeltacht in the country. Nearly half the teams in Galway are in Connemara. But it has, does and will happen. That’s sport.”

"It gave us an advantage. Anything that gives you an edge is a good thing. There are things I’d be able to say, talk about tactics, and the opposition wouldn’t know what we were saying.  Of course they’re going to tell you to shut up – but when they’re doing that you know you’re winning."

"You have them."