Joe Brolly reveals dissident republican abuse after his GAA team played PSNI
FORMER Derry footballer and GAA pundit Joe Brolly has recalled how he was taunted and verbally abused by dissident republicans after he played in the first match against the PSNI Gaelic team.
The All-Ireland medallist and barrrister said abusive graffiti about him appeared in the city centre after his team, St Brigid's, became the first local club to take on the PSNI side, which was captained by Peadar Heffron.
Writing in the same column which features his interview with Mr Heffron, Brolly recalled the 2006 match - which took four years before the devastating booby-trap car bomb - and reaction it sparked among dissidents.
"I strongly backed the game, and shortly afterwards graffiti went up around the city. 'Shame on you Joe, shame on you' and other guff of that type. Turned out not to be a breakthrough at all. Just over three years later, people from his own community set Peadar up for assassination," he writes.
The high-profile commentator also alluded to the verbal abuse in an earlier column in the weeks after the murder bid on Mr Heffron, who is now confined to a wheelchair and suffered horrific injuries to his lower body.
Writing in the Gaelic Life, he referred to the 2006 match: "A few weeks afterwards I was stopped on the street by a Provisional. 'You're a disgrace playing those boys'," he said. "'You handed over your guns to them,' I said, 'we played them in a football match'."