Ulster GAA has second chance to ‘axe IRA cup’

A flyer for the McGirr/Campbell Cup, taken from Coalisland Fianna Facebook site
A flyer for the McGirr/Campbell Cup, taken from Coalisland Fianna Facebook site
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Ulster GAA now has an extended chance to halt a cup final in the name of two IRA men after the event was postponed, it has been claimed.

The McGirr Campbell Cup tournament took place at the weekend at Fr Peter Campbell Park, home of Coalisland Fianna in Co Tyrone.

It had reportedly not been held for a decade but the final game on Sunday was cancelled due to a bereavement, according to reports on Facebook.

No further date has yet been released.

The cup is named after IRA men Brian Campbell and Colm McGirr who were shot by the SAS as they took weapons from an arms cache near the town in 1983.

Reference work Lost Lives says the men turned their weapons on the SAS when challenged, although the families dispute this.

An Armalite found at the scene was used to kill Cookstown father of nine and RUC reservist John Scott, who was shot as he drove his milk tanker near Ardboe four years before the two IRA men were killed.

In Saturday’s News Letter David Scott, son of John, called on the GAA to cancel the event, and on Monday he repeated his call.

“Ulster GAA still has a chance to intervene and we still want to see it cancelled,” he told the News Letter. “When this story broke on Saturday my phone did not quit from 9am until that night with voices of support from countless other people who do not think this should be happening.”

Close friend and UUP councillor Alan Lewis said Ulster GAA now have fair notice of the final to intervene “and if they let it go ahead then the wider public will want an explanation as to why they did. This is deeply hurtful to all families of innocent victims in the area.”

The News Letter contacted the GAA at club, county, provincial and national level to invite a response but none was offered. On Friday Ulster GAA said: “We are not aware of any application to host a tournament in memory of Colm McGirr and Brian Campbell this weekend.”