Bloody Sunday remembered 100 years on from one of the darkest days in Irish history

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Last Saturday evening, the nation tuned into RTÉ 2 to watch a chilling and heartfelt tribute to the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday in 1920. Saturday marked the 100th anniversary since one of the saddest days in Irish history. An engaging ceremony took place in Croke Park where 14 torches were lit accompanied by the names of the 14 victims on that day. The ceremony was attended by President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and GAA President John Horan. Brendan Gleeson narrated the ceremony with a touching tribute speech written by Michael Foley. Foley was the producer of the documentary that was aired the Sunday previous. Gleeson’s words echoed around an eery Croke Park with the torches being the only source of lighting during his speech. 

It was fitting that on Saturday evening; Dublin were one of the teams involved as they took on Meath in the Leinster Football final. Dublin wore dedicated jerseys to remember the occasion as their blue jerseys featured the number 14 on each sleeve with the name of the 14 victims enclosed inside the 14. Dublin went on to win the match comfortably to secure their 10th Leinster crown in succession and continue their march for 6 All-Ireland’s in a row. After the match, Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton accompanied by his teammates laid a wreath on behalf of his team in what was a lovely gesture by the Leinster champions.  

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Image Credit: Dublin GAA Twitter 

On Sunday, Tipperary wore the famous green and white jerseys in their Munster Football final against Cork. These splendid jerseys featured a portrait of Michael Hogan and Hogan himself would have been looking down in pride as they captured the Munster Football crown for the first time since 1935. The ironic thing about this iconic year of GAA is that the four football provincial winners are the same as they were in 1920.  

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Bloody Sunday was a day of violence in Dublin in the Irish War of Independence. 14 innocent victims were murdered on the grounds of Croke Park by British RIC members known as the Black and Tans, Auxiliaries, and some British soldiers. These British RIC members had been ordered to do a cordon and search operation around Croke Park. This was done in retaliation due to the fact the Michael Collins had organised the killings of the Cairo Gang; a group of British spies working and living in Dublin. 15 people were killed as the IRA operatives went to the addresses of these 15 men and either killed or fatally wounded them. The British forces fled to Dublin Castle to get to safety before performing the operation at Croke Park. 

At 3 o’clock that day, Tipperary were taking on Dublin in a challenge match in Croke Park. The British forces had an inkling that the perpetrators would be attending this match which led to them surrounding each side of Croke Park. They hoped that they would find Michael Collins or other members from the IRA and question them about what had happened that morning.  

As the British soldiers surrounded Croke Park, their intention was to sit idly by and wait till the match had ended to search every man leaving the match. However, at 3.25pm the first shots were fired by the RIC and within 90 seconds, 14 innocent people lay fatally wounded or killed by the wild firing of the RIC. One of these people killed Michael Hogan. Hogan was on the pitch wearing the green and white of Tipperary before he was shot in the back while lying face down on the field. Hogan would be forever remembered as he now has the Hogan Stand named in his honour at Croke Park.