Already under pressure from TV, radio and print journalists across the country for the standard of football, the GAA received another blow to its image after a raid on Armagh Planetarium found high-tech telescopes and satellite devices pointed directly at various locations in Tyrone including their GAA headquarters in Garvaghey and Sean Cavanagh’s back garden.
Suspicions were raised on Tuesday night after players noticed a ‘hovering star with flashing red lights on it’ during county training which was later confirmed by NASA as an Armagh-made satellite named ArmNav. The 13-acre floating structure was sending images back to the planetarium where Kieran McGeeney and other members of the Armagh management team dissected the information in preparation for a potential clash between the counties later in the Summer.
During the dawn raid, the PSNI astronomical investigation team also found some of the most powerful telescopes on the planet trained on a garden in the The Moy, suspected to be that owned by Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh. DVDs seized showed hundreds of hours of footage of Cavanagh in his garden doing shimmies and pulling down trees as well as a few mid-winter barbecue sessions.
A Tyrone County Board official told us:
“Right, it has gone too far. This paranoia within the game is destroying us. Defensive tactics look like child’s play compared to the efforts of McGeeney’s back room team. Apparently one of the telescopes was able to see right into Mickey Harte’s kitchen, where he often draw tactics on conflate boxes and stuff.”
The finger of suspicion has fallen on a female Armagh-born employee in the planetarium with strong links to the Moy through marriage. An insider, who wished to remain nameless, confirmed the character in question seemed to work late shifts a lot more since the new year and appeared to be wearing fresh Armagh gear every week.
In a proposal some are calling one of the most important peace gestures in Irish history, Tyrone and Armagh GAA boards are considering combining their potential July 12th Round 2 Qualifier clash with the Twelfth celebrations on the field of play.
The scenario will only take place if Monaghan defeat Armagh in their replayed Ulster semi-final this weekend, with bookmakers reckoning this scenario will be the likely outcome.
Both county board met yesterday to thrash out an agreement on the proposal with the following details confirmed as definite:
- Instead of St Michael’s Enniskillen, the players will march behind a lone Lambeg drummer, playing any tune he likes
- Both sets of players will march wearing a sash in their county colours
- The National Anthem will be replaced by The Sash My Father Wore
- A bonfire will be lit in the corner of the field at half time with no flags to be burnt, just rubbish and spare tyres donated by spectators
- Free beer cans for all in attendance
Tyrone spokesman, Kenny Nelis, explained the gesture:
“We in the GAA pride ourselves with forward thinking and this is just a natural extension of that. There are other proposals we are considering so don’t take that list as a definite. There’s talk of marching back to the changing rooms after the game is over, if the players are fit for it. This will be a special day for everyone.”
A stumbling block has surfaced though as Armagh have demanded they walk their tradition route on the outside, closest to the crowd. However, Tyrone are refusing to also give up their right to the outside lane and there are concerns there’ll be a stand-off. PSNI officials have reminded both county boards that they’ll employ water cannons if an impasse is reached on this issue.