People Sport received two separate press releases from Roscommon GAA earlier this week. Both concerned events at last Sunday’s All-Ireland Quarter-Final in Dublin.
The first press release highlighted the scourge of pickpockets around Heuston Station and the second addressed the booing of Andy Moran.
The advice I’d give in terms of avoiding petty theft is quite simple: Be on your guard and avoid carrying belongings in open view or quantities of cash on your person if you can.
The issue of booing is slightly more complex but it didn’t just start last Sunday in Croke Park, nor did it rear its ugly head for the first time ever in an FBD League game in Kiltoom earlier in the year. It has been around for a few years now and doesn’t look like it’ll be eradicated anytime soon.
Firstly, no county can claim the moral high ground when it comes to the behaviour of supporters. While the vast majority of Mayo fans have been brilliant over the last few years – even in times of cruel heartbreak – there will always be a minority (like any county) who let the side down.
Roscommon are certainly no different. Success and participation in Croke Park means an increase in the numbers travelling to games. This increase may include a small number of fans you may never see huddled on the terraces for FBD League games in the depths of winter and are therefore unfamiliar with the spirit in which Gaelic football is supposed to be played.
However, the jeering of Andy Moran did occur at a FBD League game and as such it’s unfair to lay all the blame at the door of those unfamiliar with the atmosphere at a Gaelic football match. So-called ‘real’ GAA fans can obviously get caught up in the heat of the moment too and not just in Roscommon – Donie Smith’s last minute free was also booed by a section of Mayo fans last Sunday.
So what’s happening? Has the rise of social media added to the ‘pressure’ on fans? Perhaps, thinking ahead to the possibility of slagging and bragging on Facebook and Twitter, supporters are more inclined to vent frustration at the opposition, referee and even their own team. Maybe winning has become too important in Gaelic games and the idea of defeat isn’t as easily accepted.
Whatever the reasons, Andy Moran, just like Donie Smith, is representing his county in his free time away from his day to day job. He deserves to be treated with respect from the terraces – and 99% of fans don’t need to be told this.
Personally, I don’t think there was any real malice in any of the booing last Sunday. I believe the jeering of Andy Moran was a delayed response to his goal celebration in Kiltoom a few months ago. In fairness to Andy, he was probably only responding to a few heckles that day too!
In the end, it’s a storm in a teacup and the vast majority of Roscommon and Mayo fans will travel to Croke Park once again next Monday to cheer on their respective teams. They’ll continue to ‘Give Respect and Get Respect’ as Andy and Donie and Co. go about their business in their usual sporting way.