Filmed in Ireland and edited in Limerick with a broadcast date and time of Thursday 16th march at 10:15pm, RTE 1; ‘No Words Needed’: Croke Park 2007, is an hour long documentary reliving the memories of how the doors of the famous venue were opened to Rugby, and that famous match against England for the Six Nations.
February 24th 2007, the day that Ireland hosted England in the Six-Nations rugby championship, is a date that holds huge significance in Irish sporting history. The venue, Croke Park, was the scene of a massacre when during the War of Independence British Military Forces entered the ground and opened fire killing fourteen people, including Tipperary’s player Michael Hogan. This day became known as Bloody Sunday.
On the lead up to the game there were fears of trouble. How would the Irish react to the official visit of an English team to play in Croke Park? The last time English presence was significant at this venue, they came uninvited, unannounced and with such devastating consequences on Bloody Sunday, 21st November 1920? What would the reaction be to the unthinkable happening of the British flag flying over Croke Park?
This documentary examines the debate and struggle to modify the restriction of the playing of non-Gaelic games in GAA stadiums, so that rugby and soccer could be played at Croke Park during the renovations at Landsdowne Road.
Never before had performance and result weighed so heavily on the shoulders of any team. Never before had a pre-match ceremony of anthems been so scrutinised and debated. The significance was much more than the playing of England’s ‘God Save the Queen’; it was about how we – the Irish – in the cradle of our national games and the beacon for our modern identity would react to its playing.
No Words Needed: Croke Park 2007 is a fascinating insight into perhaps the most significant sporting event in Irish history. A host of political, sporting and cultural leaders tell of their experiences in the run up to the event and the day of the game itself.
List of interviewees:
Irish Rugby Players
Martin Corry (Former England Rugby Player)
Eddie O’Sullivan (Head-Coach of Ireland in 2007)
Gerry Thornley (Rugby Correspondent for the Irish Times)
David Walsh (The Sunday Times)
Eamon Dunphy (Broadcaster and Journalist)
Sean Kelly M.E.P. (Former President of the GAA)
Oliver Hughes (Wolfe Tones GAA Club, Co. Derry)
Bertie Ahern (Former Taoiseach)
Conor O’Shea (Commentator in Croke Park)
Diarmaid Ferriter (Historian)
Micheal O’Muircheartaigh (Retired RTE broadcaster)
Directed by Ronan Cassidy, edited by Simon McGuire and music by Fergal Lawlor (The Cranberries). The documentary follows the story of the lead up to the Ireland v England rugby game in Croke Park in 2007, the most significant rugby game in Irish sporting history.