Cork couldn’t hit a barn door in the first half of Sunday’s All-Ireland football final against a dogged but unseasoned Down side, but they just about saved the hay in the second.
However, the Rebels’ lap of honour was rendered a non-event by the fact that Croke Park was practically empty by the time they took the Sam Maguire for a tour around the pitch.
People’s list of objections about what’s becoming of HQ is a getting longer. The big-screen advertising, the bouncers, the Black Eyed Peas blaring over the sound system instead of the minor captain’s speech, done away with for fear a youngfella might say something inappropriate. (Have they seen who’s Taoiseach or the waffle their own officials tend to go on with?.)
What happened at the end of the farcical Leinster football final gave the GAA the excuse it needed to erect a transparent (when dry) barrier in front of Hill 16. It’s an abomination. At least they’d Nazism to blame for the Berlin Wall.
Whatever happened to making changes for the better? The contrived Croke Park experience has become stage-managed and sanitized, heading in the direction of those horrible celebratory spectacles soccer specialises in, complete with balloons, bunting, streamers, confetti and of course sponsors’ advertising hoardings out front.
From the ‘say no evil’ editorialising to the post-match interview over the PA and Marty Morrissey pleading with people to stay off the pitch, RTÉ seems to be curiously complicit in Croke Park’s grim determination to create a sterile, corporate environment under the guise of health and safety.
Even the description of the crowd swarming onto the sacred sod as “pitch invasions” is purposeful PR spin. As Peter Canavan rightly said, it would be more accurate to call them on-pitch celebrations.
Croker can accommodate rock concerts yet the GAA expect us to believe they’re not able to come up with a means of controlling access to the pitch while giving the players breathing space?
We’d want to watch out or they’ll be selling the naming rights next.