Tyrone pitch celebrations breached 'public health guidelines' confirm Ulster GAA

September 21, 2020

A view of Healy Park, Omagh. ©INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Ulster GAA have released a statement appealing to supporters to stay off pitches after finals and said the scenes after the Tyrone SFC final undermine the case for increased numbers of spectators at games.

Dungannon ended their 64-year wait to be crowned Tyrone senior champions after a thrilling penalty shootout against Trillick and after the final whistle crowds raced on to the field.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said she was “deeply concerned” following the pitch invasion.

While saying that five county finals in Ulster took place without any difficulties, Ulster GAA has admitted that the scenes after the Tyrone final breached both the GAA's own protocals and also public health guidelines.

They warned that if those scenes were repeated 'we will risk going back to a position where all games will be played behind closed doors.'

Ulster GAA Statement

In light of post-match scenes following yesterday’s Tyrone Senior Football Championship Final, Ulster GAA is strongly re-iterating the GAA’s message that no spectators should enter the field of playing following games.

The GAA has put in place protocols surrounding all aspects of the playing of games and, for the greater part, they have been universally observed. Over the weekend there were adult County Finals in six of our nine counties and evidence from across the province is that these protocols were adhered to, with spectators remaining in the stand during post-match presentations.

However, the on-pitch celebration scenes following the Tyrone County Final in Omagh not only breached GAA protocols but, and much more significantly, public health guidelines. Ulster GAA fully realises that this was a moment of great joy for the Dungannon Clarkes Club in winning their first County title since 1956 and congratulations to them on this success. The dramatic nature of the conclusion of the game probably added to the exuberance but we are living in a pandemic and the post-match scenes did not portray the Association in a positive light.

The GAA has led the way in its response to this pandemic at community level and has safely returned players and spectators to our games in a safe and responsible way. Ulster GAA has worked closely with our Counties co-operating with Governments and public health agencies adhering to the restrictions and conveying wider public health messages to our members.

The GAA has acted in a positive manner since the outbreak of the pandemic, with attendances at games strictly regulated.  Our supporters have responded positively and responsibly but last night’s scenes undoubtedly placed GAA members and their local community at greater risk to Covid 19. It also potentially undermines the GAA case, and indeed the case for wider sport, to be permitted to have increased numbers attend our games.

With more County Finals due in the coming weeks, Ulster GAA is again appealing to all our units to behave responsibly.  The scenes of last night cannot be repeated or we will risk going back to a position where all games will be played behind closed doors.

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