Cunningham's disgust at 'racist abuse'

Aaron Cunningham, in action for Crossmaglen Rangers.

Crossmaglen Rangers player Aaron Cunningham has spoken to UTV about the racist abuse he claims he received from some of the rival team Kilcoo's players and spectators during Sunday's Ulster Football Championship.

Monday, 03 December 2012
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Although the young Co Armagh man helped his side to victory with Cross' winning 3-9 to 1-9 at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh - the celebrations were marred by the allegations.

"It was a hard hitting game - but I suppose racial abuse isn't something that you would expect, you know, especially at that level.

"I didn't really expect that yesterday.

"There were a couple of incidents - one in the first half, one in the second half where I don't want to go into the nature of what was said - it's well documented at this stage.

"I just feel there's absolutely no place for it on the football field or any walk of life to be honest."

Speaking on the win, he said: "It's a great achievement for the club, you know, we've won 12 Ulster titles now - three in a row and it's my fifth personally.

"But it has left a sour taste, you know, in no way would I want it to overshadow the achievements of the team because at the end of the day it's all about Crossmaglen."

While Aaron admitted that he did not hear what was shouted from the terraces by some of the Kilcoo spectators, he was told after the match by a number of people that racist abuse had been directed at him.

I hope it will be dealt with quickly and honestly. I am disgusted.

Aaron Cunningham

"For somebody to actually make a comment on the colour of your skin, or a reference to...whether it would be religion, or creed, or race or anything like that, it's terrible."

His father Joey played for Armagh and Crossmaglen Gaelic Football teams and also in the Irish League for Portadown. He was one of the first black GAA inter-county players.

Aaron said that his dad was very upset at the incidents.

He also confirmed that his father was subjected to abuse during his playing days, but shrugged it off.

However, his son has decided to take a stand, saying that there is "no point brushing it under the carpet."

"I don't really want it go away without it being dealt with."

Ulster GAA has announced the establishment of a committee to investigate the allegations, insisting it is "an anti-racist organisation."

Kilcoo GAC has condemned the alleged abuse and said they will cooperate with the GAA investigation.