*Joe Ó Muircheartaigh. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
ÉIRE ÓG have been hit with a €500 fine by Clare GAA for the antics of two of their supporters following the Junior A football final.
Two of Éire Óg’s most well-known supporters, journalist Joe Ó Muircheartaigh and businessman Tony Honan have landed the club in hot water with GAA chiefs after confronting referee John O’Connell in the sanctuary of his dressing room following the Junior final played at the end of October.
It took extra time to decide a winner when Killmer prevailed in the final following four previous defeats in 1951, 1969, 1971 and 2022. In what was a tense encounter, Killimer beat the Ennis club on a score of 0-13 0-11 at St Michael’s Park in Kilmihil.
After the final whistle, both Ó Muircheartaigh and Honan followed referee John O’Connell of the Cooraclare club into his dressing room. The Clare Echo understands that in his match report submitted to the County Board, O’Connell detailed that the duo came into the referee’s changing room uninvited.
Upon reaching the dressing room, it is understood that Ó Muircheartaigh stuck his foot in the door to keep it open and at this stage verbal abuse was flung in the direction of the match official.
An eye-witness told The Clare Echo, “Individuals entered the dressing room where officials were changing afterwards to express their opinions on the outcome of the match”.
The Clare Echo has learned that fines of €250 per individual involved have been issued to Éire Óg by Clare GAA in the aftermath of the incident.
Chairman of Clare GAA, Kieran Keating told The Clare Echo, “It’s very important that we respect our referees and any abuse of referees by players, mentors or supporters will be investigated and where appropriate dealt with by the CCC”.
A spokesperson for Éire Óg GAA club confirmed that they have received fines for the actions of both supporters.
In 2021, the Ennis club passed a motion at its own AGM whereby in the event that a member if fined for a disciplinary issue involving a match official that they will have to carry the responsibility of paying the fine. This proposal was endorsed in line with the give respect get respect initiative.
When contacted by The Clare Echo, Ó Muircheartaigh said he had received no communication on the matter from the club or Clare GAA so therefore did not wish to comment on the matter. Efforts to contact Honan were unsuccessful.
A founding member of The Clare People, Joe who also won a senior championship with Éire Óg worked with the publication from its inception in June 2005 until its sudden closure in August 2019. He was the paper’s most prolific contributor serving as Sports Editor, Deputy Editor along with producing a weekly column ‘The 19th’ and featuring numerous historical series. He was named Regional Journalist of the Year in 2009 and has won three McNamee Awards for his GAA coverage.
Prior to The Clare People, he worked for both Clare FM and The Clare Champion. Now a full-time journalist with The Kerry’s Eye, he is now a frequent contributor to The Clare Champion and ironically compiled all their coverage in advance of the Junior A final between Éire Óg and Killimer. His work is also regularly featured in The Irish Examiner and he is a popular contributor to RTÉ’s Sunday Miscellany.
A lecture presented by Clare GAA’s Communications Committee will be given by Joe on Thursday (November 30th) at The Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis. It is titled ‘Shoots that Split Clare GAA 1923-1924’.
Honan is a stalwart of the Éire Óg club and also of business in the town of Ennis. His antique shop on Abbey Street is frequented often by tourists to the county town and one visitor on a particular occasion included A-list Hollywood actress Julia Roberts. He has marched with the Save Ennis Town group in their demonstration against plans for the Abbey Street car park as part of the Ennis 2040 Strategy. He has been in business for over five decades.