National Forum

Celtic Park Debate

(Oldest Posts First)

I read today Cahir O'Kane's article in the Irish News on how he thinks that Derry GAA should sell Celtic Park, with several justifications, which were the same age-old arguments like the lack of support for the GAA in the city, the number of games that are actually played there every year etc. I see that the Derry forum is more or less dead so I decided to post this in here, partly because I wanted to see outside perspectives also.

The issues this article raises are
1) Does it really matter if the county play their games in a town that isn't in the middle of their stronghold? My county, for example, play their games in East Donegal, which is traditionally soccer Country and wouldn't be a football stronghold by any account. Same could be said of Sligo, Enniskillen, etc.
2) If hosting inter-county matches and county finals in the city doesn't spark interest in the GAA, then what can be done to get people from the city involved? What is currently being done also?
3) Is there a genuine desire amongst Gaels in South Derry to see GAA grow in the city, or would they rather use the city and Celtic Park as scape goats for their lack of success over the last number of years?

This is not to mention that O'Kane is willing to let go of the years of history and tradition that accompany Celtic Park. But that's another story.

DL_Man (Donegal) - Posts: 68 - 30/09/2020 12:24:53    2294873

Link

I would rather the county ground to be in the biggest town/city possible as I like the day out as well as the match. A championship game in a village or a greenfield site aren't as appealing to me.

Also Irish counties are usually pretty small places and I find it mad when people are complaining about if a ground should be in East or West wherever and having the stadium on the wrong side puts off fans. Just look at all the debate about Salthill and Tuam and that. Nowhere in Limerick would be too far for me to travel to a match and if I am ever lucky enough to go to Derry for a game ide rather go to the city

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 1018 - 30/09/2020 14:02:40    2294890

Link

Where's he thinking Derry should play ?

lionofludesch (Down) - Posts: 367 - 30/09/2020 15:01:38    2294901

Link

Replying To DL_Man:  "I read today Cahir O'Kane's article in the Irish News on how he thinks that Derry GAA should sell Celtic Park, with several justifications, which were the same age-old arguments like the lack of support for the GAA in the city, the number of games that are actually played there every year etc. I see that the Derry forum is more or less dead so I decided to post this in here, partly because I wanted to see outside perspectives also.

The issues this article raises are
1) Does it really matter if the county play their games in a town that isn't in the middle of their stronghold? My county, for example, play their games in East Donegal, which is traditionally soccer Country and wouldn't be a football stronghold by any account. Same could be said of Sligo, Enniskillen, etc.
2) If hosting inter-county matches and county finals in the city doesn't spark interest in the GAA, then what can be done to get people from the city involved? What is currently being done also?
3) Is there a genuine desire amongst Gaels in South Derry to see GAA grow in the city, or would they rather use the city and Celtic Park as scape goats for their lack of success over the last number of years?

This is not to mention that O'Kane is willing to let go of the years of history and tradition that accompany Celtic Park. But that's another story."
Not to take away from the jist of your post, but why would East Donegal be considered Soccer Country? Robert Emmetts, Red Hughs, Mac Cumhaills, Glenfin, Lifford are all in the East. 5 clubs in a relatively small area. How is that not a stronghold?

donegaldouble (Donegal) - Posts: 269 - 30/09/2020 15:59:26    2294914

Link

The club is strong in every county but there are some counties where the club game is so strong little or any interest is given to the county team. I think there is an age old problem in Derry where club means everything and a passing interest is given to county. There isn't the same fanatical interest in Derry as there is with Donegal, Tyrone and most other Ulster counties when it comes to the inter county game. As in the early 90's love of GAA is there but it takes an exceptional Derry team to get interest going and for their team to bring thousands of fanatic followers with them.

I don't think the problem is Celtic Park; if they played all their national league/championship home matches in South Derry it's unlikely we'd see the same numbers their neighbours produce at home games; even amongst south derry gaels.

The clubs in South Derry have little interest in growing the game county wide in my opinion; they might give the idea lip service but to them the club is all that really matters hence the argument to have games in that region. From an outsider looking in selling Celtic Park would be a mistake; if there was a will to improve the GAA within Derry City etc then Derry as a county could reach their potential; moving games away from the city would send a message to other regions outside south derry that the GAA has given up on them.

sam1884 (UK) - Posts: 645 - 30/09/2020 16:01:09    2294915

Link

Good debate. People can be very parochial with bringing logic into it.

As a Galway man I prefer Tuam. The town is all about the game on game day. Great buzz etc.

Salthill can be great if the weather is nice and it is a big game (Mayo in Conn final) but the game is just one of many things going on. Personally I would like Salthill kept for the 20,000 plus crowds with Tuam for the 10,000 crowds. At least you always have a full house.

Mayonman (Galway) - Posts: 1265 - 30/09/2020 16:10:45    2294917

Link

Replying To DL_Man:  "I read today Cahir O'Kane's article in the Irish News on how he thinks that Derry GAA should sell Celtic Park, with several justifications, which were the same age-old arguments like the lack of support for the GAA in the city, the number of games that are actually played there every year etc. I see that the Derry forum is more or less dead so I decided to post this in here, partly because I wanted to see outside perspectives also.

The issues this article raises are
1) Does it really matter if the county play their games in a town that isn't in the middle of their stronghold? My county, for example, play their games in East Donegal, which is traditionally soccer Country and wouldn't be a football stronghold by any account. Same could be said of Sligo, Enniskillen, etc.
2) If hosting inter-county matches and county finals in the city doesn't spark interest in the GAA, then what can be done to get people from the city involved? What is currently being done also?
3) Is there a genuine desire amongst Gaels in South Derry to see GAA grow in the city, or would they rather use the city and Celtic Park as scape goats for their lack of success over the last number of years?

This is not to mention that O'Kane is willing to let go of the years of history and tradition that accompany Celtic Park. But that's another story."
Cahir is being his usual self when it comes to stirring things and pushing an agenda of rancour and division. He just dismisses all clubs north of Dungiven as being a waste of time and contributing nothing. You've hit the nail on the head about it being used as a scapegoat for the lack of success. It was never an issue in the 90s early 00s.
When they did move the games around when Derry where in Div4 there wasn't huge crowds in Glen or Ballinascreen.
There's no great desire to see the growth in the game and most are just interested in their only little patch. What he doesn't mention is the amount of extra funding Derry has got as a result of the push to promote the games in the main urban areas.

RoverTin (Derry) - Posts: 216 - 30/09/2020 19:05:59    2294934

Link

Agree with all comments regarding the buzz in a town before games. Owenbeg, where O'Kane is suggesting Derry should play their games, would have little or no atmosphere before games, and the atmosphere is what keeps the crowds interested.

Going back to the question of developing the games in the city. Does anyone know what Derry GAA have tried to do about this before now and also what is the most effective approach they can take, assuming there are some figures within the county that would like to see things move forward in Derry City.

DL_Man (Donegal) - Posts: 68 - 30/09/2020 19:27:32    2294937

Link

Replying To donegaldouble:  "Not to take away from the jist of your post, but why would East Donegal be considered Soccer Country? Robert Emmetts, Red Hughs, Mac Cumhaills, Glenfin, Lifford are all in the East. 5 clubs in a relatively small area. How is that not a stronghold?"
I don't want to get into a debate about Donegal football but everyone knows East Donegal is soccer stronghold, with hurling taking some footballers away also I'd guess. Per head of population, I'd say participation in the Finn Valley / Laggan Valley areas isn't even near half of what it is in West Donegal

Naomh Muire Convoy are a junior club that service three towns. If that area was in West Donegal they'd probably field 2 intermediate sides. Also, Glenfin are Mid Donegal and Lifford and Robert Emmets are two of the worst clubs in the county so they don't make a compelling argument about the strength of clubs in the area.

But that's an argument for another day.

DL_Man (Donegal) - Posts: 68 - 30/09/2020 19:29:57    2294938

Link

Replying To DL_Man:  "I don't want to get into a debate about Donegal football but everyone knows East Donegal is soccer stronghold, with hurling taking some footballers away also I'd guess. Per head of population, I'd say participation in the Finn Valley / Laggan Valley areas isn't even near half of what it is in West Donegal

Naomh Muire Convoy are a junior club that service three towns. If that area was in West Donegal they'd probably field 2 intermediate sides. Also, Glenfin are Mid Donegal and Lifford and Robert Emmets are two of the worst clubs in the county so they don't make a compelling argument about the strength of clubs in the area.

But that's an argument for another day."
You are right that the teams are not great at the moment.However Killygordon and Castlefin are very much traditional Gaelic areas both having celebrated their centenaries recently and where there are far more people interested in GAA than soccer.Lifford always was always a Soccer town,Convoy probably 50/50.They say Ballybofey is Soccer and Stranorlar Gaelic but you must admit that MacCumhaills have had great teams in the past.Glenfin are a relatively new club whose formation probably weakened McCumhaills.Raphoe is definitely a strange one.Sorry for getting away from the topic.

gunman (Donegal) - Posts: 661 - 30/09/2020 20:46:44    2294944

Link

Replying To DL_Man:  "I don't want to get into a debate about Donegal football but everyone knows East Donegal is soccer stronghold, with hurling taking some footballers away also I'd guess. Per head of population, I'd say participation in the Finn Valley / Laggan Valley areas isn't even near half of what it is in West Donegal

Naomh Muire Convoy are a junior club that service three towns. If that area was in West Donegal they'd probably field 2 intermediate sides. Also, Glenfin are Mid Donegal and Lifford and Robert Emmets are two of the worst clubs in the county so they don't make a compelling argument about the strength of clubs in the area.

But that's an argument for another day."
"with hurling taking some footballers away also I'd guess."

How many hurlers does football take away?

Cockney_Cat (UK) - Posts: 1047 - 30/09/2020 21:44:43    2294950

Link

I don't know enough about Derry to comment but for our own county I wish they would play all the games in Ballybofey, this nonesense of playing some league game in Ballyshannon and Letterkenny upsets the whole apple cart I think, we have an awful record in Letterkenny too,
Ballybofey is a decent enough pitch and it can hold a good crowd,it's fairly central for everyone too,
I wonder how long it will be till we have a full house again at Mac Cumhaill park??

Tirchonaill1 (Donegal) - Posts: 946 - 30/09/2020 23:50:09    2294957

Link

Replying To Tirchonaill1:  "I don't know enough about Derry to comment but for our own county I wish they would play all the games in Ballybofey, this nonesense of playing some league game in Ballyshannon and Letterkenny upsets the whole apple cart I think, we have an awful record in Letterkenny too,
Ballybofey is a decent enough pitch and it can hold a good crowd,it's fairly central for everyone too,
I wonder how long it will be till we have a full house again at Mac Cumhaill park??"
I agree with this. Despite labelling East Donegal "soccer Country" I do love travelling to Ballybofey for matches and there's nothing like the atmosphere in Mac Cumhaill Park. It has become a bit of a fortress in recent years and playing games in Letterkenny as you say never suits us. I'm sure it would suit Derry best to play all their games in the one place too and Celtic Park is a great ground with a serious atmosphere in it.

Also I have to give a mention to the great club men in Derry City from Steelstown, Doire Colmcille etc who always seem to be on hand to help out for matches at Celtic Park. I never hear South Derry accents from the workers in the tuc shop at Derry County matches.

Finally, regards hurling in East Donegal, Setanta from the Cross are the only hurling exclusive club in the county and the others would all be football oriented, I'd guess, but Mac Cumhaills have done quite well in the last few years with regards hurling.

DL_Man (Donegal) - Posts: 68 - 01/10/2020 00:53:55    2294961

Link