Bloody Sunday - November 21st, 1920
On hearing news of Michael Collins early morning attacks on the backbone of Dublin Castle intelligence, representatives of the Tipperary and Dublin football teams met to discuss their match. They understood the risk of reprisal attacks by the Black and Tans and also that Croke would be a likely target. With this in mind, the football teams still decided to go ahead with their match.
As a crowd around nine thousand occupants watched a GAA match at Croke Park, Dublin, the Auxillaries surrounded the playing grounds. The initial intention of the commander of these troops was to search the crowd for weapons and arrest suspected Republicans known to be in the area.
Suddenly, according to first hand accounts, the Tans flanked by regular RIC pulled up and lorries and opened up into the crowd. The firing lasted for more than ten minutes while the crowd ducked and swarmed out, frantically attempting to escape the murderous hail of bullets. When it was all over, fourteen civilians lay dead in and around the stadium, 63 wounded. More would later die from the wounds received that day.
The dead included 3 children and a pregnant woman. One of the children, a 14 year old, received multiple bayonet wounds. Also murdered was Tipp footballer Michael Hogan, who gives his name to "Hogan Stand" in Croke Park. A young Wexford man who was attempting to whisper an Act of Contrition into the Hogan's ear as he slipped away was also shot dead.
This slaughter was not the end of the terrible day's bloodshed. Shortly before midnight the RIC kicked in the doors of IRA officers Dick McKee, Peadar Clancy and Conor Clune in Dublin. They were taken to Dublin Castle and interrogated. When it was apparent that they were going to tell the peelers absolutely nothing, they were summarily executed in the guard-room.
A British Military Court of Inquiry was held into these killings and it found that the men died because of "bullet wounds fired by members of the Auxiliary Division, RIC, in self-defence and in execution of their duty - i.e., in preventing the escape of deceased party, who were in their lawful custody." This was typical British bureaucratic shite, and was to be expected from the occupying imperialists.