#OTD in 1971 – The GAA lifted its ban on members playing or attending ‘foreign’ sports such as soccer or rugby.

The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) finally revokes its infamous Rule 27, commonly known as “The Ban.”

The rule banned all GAA members from playing or watching in non-Gaelic games. Non-Gaelic included rugby, soccer, hockey and cricket. GAA members who broke Rule 27 were expelled from the GAA. This famously included Irish President and GAA-Patron Dr. Douglas Hyde who attended an international soccer match in 1938 prompting the Irish Times to write “The notion that the game by which a round ball is kicked only, and not punched as well as kicked, is detrimental to the national culture, is of course the most utterly childish form of humbug”.

The ludicrous rule ensured that Irish soccer international Liam Brady was expelled from his secondary school, St Aidan’s Christian Brothers school for captaining Ireland in an under 15 soccer international. Irish rugby international Moss Keane, played GAA under an assumed name in his youth to avoid being expelled while Waterford County player Tom Cheasty was suspended for six months in 1963 for attending a dance organized by a soccer club.

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