Politics and the GAA have always been frequent bedfellows. In 1902 Rule 27 was passed. It read “any member of the association who plays or encourages in any way rugby, football, hockey, cricket or any imported game which is calculated or injuriously affect our national pastimes, is suspended from the association.” It was deleted in 1971. Despite being abolished there was still rule 42 which still prohibited the use of GAA property for games with interests in conflict with the interests of the GAA.
Rule 21 prohibits members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and British Defense Forces from participating in Gaelic Games. It was voted out in 2001.
On 16 April 2005, a motion to temporarily relax rule No. 42 was passed at the GAA Annual Congress. The motion gives the GAA Central Council the power to authorise the renting or leasing of Croke Park for events other than those controlled by the Association, during a period when Lansdowne Road – the venue for international soccer and rugby matches – was closed for redevelopment. The final result was 227 in favour of the motion to 97 against, 11 votes more than the required two-thirds majority.
2007 was a historic occasion for Irish sport when the first rugby international between Ireland and England was played at the GAA headquarters Croke Park. The pre-match rituals included the singing of the national anthems of both sides, ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ and ‘God Save the Queen’ as both squads psyched themselves up for what Colm Connolly described as “a pulsating encounter”. It was an overwhelming Irish Victory 43-13 before 83,000 people.
On the 20 August AN Post released a set of two stamps and minature sheets, the 55c showing an Irishman against an Australian and the 78c showing a line out at Croke Park against the English.
An Post also released a special RWC 2007 Pack containing thestamps FDC, the miniature sheets and blocks of 4 of the 55c and 78c stamps.
Sheets of 12 for the two stamps were also issued.