Left, Hill 16, Croke Park

The GAA have decided to erect strong fencing at the Hill 16 end of Croke Park because, according to president Christy Cooney, there has been increasing concern about the threats to safety posed by post-match crowd invasions.

Earlier this year a safety presentation at the organizations annual congress outlined the dangers so forcefully that delegates unanimously approved steps to end the practice of supporters rushing onto the playing field at the end of finals.

At almost three meters high the fencing will be introduced in the second of this month’s All-Ireland football semi-finals and it's understood it will be in place for the upcoming finals in both hurling and football.

'It’s the last option for us,' Cooney told the press on Sunday about the decision taken at the weekend by the GAA’s management committee and central council. 'We’re taking the least option that we could find in ensuring we’re not putting up fencing all over the stadium. But if things don’t work out we’ll have to review that as we go on. This is really about setting standards of health and safety.'

'Over the last few months we’ve spoken to all the provincial councils. We will undertake a major education process in the four counties involved in the All-Ireland semi-finals. We will speak to the four county boards involved and to the people through the media as to exactly what we’re doing.'

'We’ve taken this move after serious consultations with the Gardai (Irish Police) and Health authorities, we gave it massive consideration ourselves over a period of weeks and made the recommendation to our board yesterday that was unanimously approved and supported.'
'It will include gates which must open in the case of an emergency situation and there will be Gardai on those gates as well as normal stewards.'