Northern Ireland

GAA to discuss racism motion after Crossmaglen player's racial abuse claim

Aaron Cunningham
Image caption Aaron Cunningham claimed he was racially abused throughout the match

The GAA is to discuss how to deal with racism at its annual congress in March.

It follows claims of racism on the pitch and from parts of the crowd at the Ulster Club football final between Crossmaglen and Kilcoo on Sunday.

Crossmaglen player Aaron Cunningham, whose father is black, claimed he was racially abused by two members of the Kilcoo panel.

At a meeting on Tuesday night, an Ulster GAA committee established a team to investigate the allegations.

In a statement, the GAA Ulster Council said the meeting of its Competitions Control Committee (CCC) had agreed that the investigation would be "based on the contents of the referee's report".

"A group has been established to conduct the investigation and will be report back to the CCC in due course. There will be no further comment on this issue until the investigation is complete," the statement said.

Mr Cunningham is the son of Joey Cunningham, who played Gaelic football for Crossmaglen and Armagh and Irish League football for Portadown in the 1980s and 90s.

Mr Cunningham said "the n-word" had been used during Sunday's match.

The Ulster GAA president, Aogán O Fearghail, said anyone found guilty of racism would be dealt with "as severely" as possible.

The motion that is due to be discussed the annual congress in March asks the GAA to "state and rule a specific punishment" for abuse.

It is being brought by the Sarsfield club in Wexford, but a similar motion may also be brought by the GAA's central inclusion and integration committee.

Kilcoo released a statement following the allegations made by Mr Cunningham.

"Kilcoo GAC is an all-inclusive club which prides itself in appealing to all sections of our community, and is shocked and saddened to hear of any allegations of racial abuse following the Ulster Club final.

"We as a club condemn abuse from whatever quarter and shall co-operate fully with any investigation instigated by Ulster Council."

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