There is disquiet in GAA circles this week with that revelation that Rosmuc based club Na Piarsaigh, were told to stop speaking Irish in a recent game. It happened during their clash with Salthill Knocknacarra in the Junior A Football Championship West in Ros an Mhíl on Saturday and has caused widespread condemnation.
The incident has been reported to the Galway Co Board by Na Piarsaigh and in light of the controversy we talked to Eoin Ó'Murchú, chairman of the Dublin-based Irish language club Na Gaeil Óga. He admitted that his club, founded in 2011, have had to deal with problems of their own over the years.
Ya, we've had a couple of issues. We've had things said by the opposition teams, we've had the odd occasion the refs not being willing to take a name in Irish or kicking up a bit of a fuss about it - even when that is the only version of the name that some people use.
We've had snide remarks and people shouting things from the sideline against various teams. But most of the time we don't get a bad reaction, most of the time people are happy to hear Irish and speak it with us. You'd often get a couple of players who would speak, or try to speak a bit with you. Sometimes refs are very good but sometimes you would have problems... with teams and with disparaging comments saying things like 'What language is that' or shouting out random phrases in Irish to put us off.
If a player was being booked, they would express concern that the name was in Irish. In the case of myself that's fine but for some the only version of the name they use is the Irish version. Certainly some refs have said 'What's your real name?' when in fact that is their name, just in Irish.
Happy to explain
The club, now based in Lucan, was formed at the start of the decade and has grown steadily since. Ó'Murchú said that they often get curious opposition players asking them about the origins of the club.
I think there was probably a little bit more [verbals] at the start because now teams are more used to us. Some would ask us what the story is with the club, who Na Gaeil Óga are and what we do and we're happy to explain that to them. Now that we've been around for five years or so it's a lot easier for clubs to understand us. We've been around for five years so it's a lot easier for clubs to understand, people know us as the 'Irish club'.
It's very disappointing if what's being reported in Galway is true. It would be disappointing to hear that.
We haven't to my knowledge made a complaint but that's not to say that things haven't happened but there hasn't been anything we have made a complaint about. It'll happen again but it's not something that we dwell on too much. We just try and go on playing and speaking the Irish language.