Sarsfields Newsletter

November 8, 2018



The Weekly Online Newsletter of Sarsfields GAA Club


New Grants Deal causing  Controversy


Just one week after the introduction of the GAA grant scheme for Inter County players after years of negotiation already there is controversy going on within the GAA and without as to whether this will open the floodgates as far as professionalism within the GAA is concerned.

             While the GAA were initially boxing clever by allowing the government to distribute the grant via the Sports Council now that move seems to have rebounded on them as many commentators and GAA officials are now saying that the so called grant is simply another name for pay for play which will in their opinion open the gates to fully fledged professionalism. This week most Ulster counties and Mayo have come out against the grant.

If the GAA had been less disingenuous and instead of hiding behind the government in case they were accused of destroying the amateur status of the GAA –Which they are being accused by many anyway – and conveying the impression that the issue was really nothing to do with them and had they addressed the concerns of those who see this move as a dangerous precedent they might have held back the storm that is now erupting over the issue.

Below are two articles, one by Eugene McGee who is critical of some aspects of the scheme but who is broadly in favour of it. The other article appeared under a pseudonym on the official Leinster GAA Website and is completely against the scheme. Does this mean that the Leinster Council is also against the grant scheme but rather than say so directly has allowed someone under the cloak of anonymity to take a broadside at the scheme on its behalf via its website?


 Bright New Dawn

By Eugene McGee
The most glaring thing about the agreement between the GAA and the GPA is that all county teams are NOT going to be treated equally in the government grant scheme.

I had hoped the GPA would use the scheme in particular as a means of redressing the long-standing bias against weaker counties, which has been shamefully exploited by some GAA officials for as long as I can remember.

Instead, we are told that the Team Performance Scheme — which will come in at around€ 2,600 per player — will only apply to 12 teams in hurling and football.

If there was a charge of elitism levelled at the GPA before, it is certainly given a lot more credibility with this development which divides county teams into haves and have-nots.

The annual support scheme for the development of excellence — which applies to all outside the top 24 teams and will net a player around €1,600 — seems desperately complicated and I can see many county board officers not being prepared to get involved in implementing it.

From the players’ point of view, it will impose still more demands on their time but I imagine most of them will still be happy to take part if only because the activities will take place in their own local areas.

Overall, this is as good a result as one could hope for from any scenario, which involves government departments, a large national body like the GAA and a militant organisation representing core personnel in that organisation. It provides a solution, has many grey areas and is as porous as a sieve.

It can still work if there is enough goodwill on the ground among GAA
officials but that is asking a lot in the present climate.

GAA die-hards will regard this solution as a disaster on the basis that it marks the death-knell of pure amateurism in the GAA as we have come to know it.

Players are getting money by virtue of being county players and if the trend in other walks of life is followed, that amount of €3.5m will continue to grow in the years ahead.

The bottom line is that it will be the GAA who will be writing the cheques for the players and that is certainly the start of a whole new era for the GAA.


On the other hand many GAA people will welcome the move as the first step in circumventing the possibility of pay-for-play coming onto the agenda for the foreseeable future.

This system of payment to county players does partly preserve the amateur ethos and also facilitates a small amount of additional revenue being directed to players who give enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of Irish people every year.

Most people can see nothing wrong with that but it all depends on how the rather complicated system of qualifying for that money is implemented by players and officials in the coming years.

For the GPA the new plan must be seen as a major success. They have now copper-fastened their position as a players representative group with three important bodies, the GAA, the government and the Irish Sports Council.

How they set about using this new position of power will be vital and many will be eagerly waiting what the GPA will do for their next trick.

They certainly need to forget the stunt of voting for strikes. For the GAA, there is no doubt, despite what leading officers are saying, this is an uneasy development because it definitely marks a new phase in the notion of ‘GAA amateurism’.

County players are no longer strictly amateur and what follows on from that could have very far-reaching consequences. A door has been opened by the GAA, which they will never be able to close again.

Many in the organisation will be genuinely fearful about that.

But today is one for satisfaction that harmony has been restored within the GAA family and Minister Seamus Brennan must be praised for banging heads together so quickly.

For those of us who suggested six months ago the Irish Sports Council should handle the money, we can only wonder who it took so long to implement the

New deal is payment for players introduced by subterfuge

Leinster GAA News

By Slán go Fóill Saturday December 8th, 2007

WHAT a load of rubbish! You can fool all of the people some of the time and
some of the people all of the time but what the GPA, the GAA and the Minis
ter forgot was that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. They
can dress it up in any package they like, and the package they have come up
with is a real beauty, but what they are doing is putting cash into the hands
 of inter county GAA players for playing our games.

Does anybody really believe that this money is for coaching youngsters, fil
ling up log books, improving their fitness levels and turning up for 80% of
training sessions? I know people and players in my own club who dedicate t
heir lives to coaching young players, all totally voluntary, and players wh
o never miss a club training session. Where is the financial reward for the
se people? Call it whatever you want but this is pay for play and is the be
ginning of the end for the amateur status of GAA players.

But who will reward the ordinary club players when everybody involved final
ly admits what this package really is? Of course the GAA people who signed
their names to this package will be long gone when the whole affair comes h
ome to roost. This deal was just a temporary one to get themselves off the
hook. Imagine going down in the history of the GAA as the people who change
 the amateur status of GAA players? I doubt if they were going to let that
happen. Their waffle about the deal protecting the amateur status is the b
iggest joke of the year. As we said, you can fool some of the people all of
the time but … !

Do you for one minute think that the GPA was concerned about their high pro
file players getting a couple of thousand euro, which will be taxed anyway?
Those players can demand anything from ?1,000 upwards for just opening a s
upermarket. We heard of one prominent player who wouldn’t get out of bed fo
r less than ?5,000 for an official function. One supermarket owner got a pr
ominent rugby player instead for half the price. So, don’t cod anybody abou
t this just being about this payout.

This campaign, and the threat of strike, was all about opening the professi
onal door, getting a foot in. The pity was that the GAA leaders who negotia
ted the deal weren’t strong enough to stand up to the bullying tactics of t
he top guys in the GPA and call the bluff of the players. Let them strike,
there will always be players willing and able to wear the county jersey for
the pride and honour it bestows. Not to mention the off the pitch advantag

Of course there was already professionalism in our games. Most counties and
some clubs have employed full-time secretaries and many clubs employ full-
time coaches to work in schools, etc. All these are professional people and
, of course, you have the high profile intercounty coaches who demand vast
sums of money for their services but are invisible to the same Croke Park a
uthorities who signed this new deal. The clubs who use their own people to
coach their top teams on a voluntary basis are now few and far between. Mos
t clubs look for outside coaches and these don’t come cheaply. Physiotherap
ists, fitness trainers, mental gurus are all making good money from GAA clu
bs, so you might well ask why the players, a vital part of our association,
shouldn’t be paid as well?

The first reason is a financial one, that the GAA, as a small island organi
sation with no international outlet, cannot afford to have professional pla
yers in its ranks. Secondly, all we have to do is look at what happened to
rugby when professionalism was brought in. Squad teams like Munster, involv
ed in high profile competitions, attracted the best players and the top spo
nsors. The clubs suffered badly as the crowds deserted them to follow the b
ig teams.

If pay for play enters the GAA you will end up with elite county squads who
se players will play very few games for their clubs. The crowds will disapp
ear at club games, as none of the top players will be on view. But then, al
l we have to do is look at the way the top brass treats the clubs at the mo
ment and we can see how far down the pecking order the present GAA club is.
There are those who would be more than happy to have a vibrant inter county
scene with part-time or full-time professional players while the ordinary
Joe Soap can make with his few club matches with months in between each game.

Thirdly, the GAA is unlike any other sporting organisation in that the club
teams are based on their local areas with local players to call on. The pr
ide of the parish is what made the GAA great and will continue to give it a
n appeal that any other organisation can’t match. Players want to play for
their parishes, their home clubs, not to be paid for playing with any team
that can afford their services. This pride of place can never be diluted by
pay for play or it will undermine all that the GAA stands for.

Is there any support at grassroots level for this new scheme? I have spoken
to numerous GAA people since it was announced and not a single one was in
favour. Of course, the question of this major decision being referred back
to clubs for their decision was never considered because the GAA is slowly
but surely slipping away from being a full-blown democratic organisation to
being ruled and dictated to from the top. This scheme is counter to all vo
luntary efforts in the GAA and the rank and file have a good reason to be a
ngry about it.

The question must also be asked, who is dictating to whom at the top? It se
ems to me that the hierarchy in Croke Park is running scared of the GPA, ju
st as the Board in Cork is right now. The intercounty players and managers
have assumed a position of power that should never have been allowed. For w
eeks, since Teddy Holland’s appointment as the new Cork coach, we have been
left in the dark about the intentions of the players and not a word either
from the County Board. Why? Because Donal Óg Cusack is away in New York
with the All-Stars and nothing can be done until Mr. Cusack returns. It is
Cusack who is calling the shots in this dispute and the Board seems afraid
to force a showdown.

Who is running the GAA in Cork? The only thing we have read about it actual
ly came from an interview with Cusack in New York in which he claims that a
number of inter county players will walk away if the selector issue isn’t c
hanged. Let them walk. Any player who would put this issue before his desir
e to play for Cork doesn’t deserve to wear the red jersey.

The GAA at the top is in a mess, thanks to the GPA and the over-hyped inter
county players but, thankfully, clubs are getting on with the job of promot
ing our games. Evidence of this was to be seen in Goleen last weekend when
they held the SW convention on Saturday night and the official opening of t
heir fine new facilities on Sunday. What this small community has achieved
is simply amazing and there are many other clubs in this division undertaking huge development works at present. It is that spirit that makes me believe that the association will survive all this turbulence at the top and continue to make the GAA the greatest amateur organisation on this planet.





Raw deal for GAA fans as pay-per-view games appear on the horizon

By Martin Breheny



The GAA won’t divulge the financial details of the new TV deals they’re
lining up but it’s safe to assume that the yields will be higher than
when RTE had exclusive rights to championship coverage.

President, Nickey Brennan insisted that the new arrangements, which see
TV3 getting aboard the ‘live’ schedule for the first time, weren’t
driven by money but rather by a desire to spread coverage as wide as

A noble intention but one suspects that the prospect of an increased
financial return provided a nice backdrop for the negotiations. Besides,
there would be a view within the top echelons of the GAA that if they
were in a position to give RTE a bloody nose, they would avail of it.

That’s down to familiarity and a feeling in the GAA that RTE took them
for granted, believing that ultimately Croke Park wouldn’t break with
them. There’s no doubt that there was a time when RTE did take the GAA
for granted, not least with the National Leagues.

Things have improved in recent years but in the rapidly-changing world
of TV coverage, it was always unlikely that RTE would retain its
exclusive position. That’s no bad thing but one hopes that the GAA has a
clear strategy of where it’s headed in relation to TV coverage into the

There are many who believe that it’s only a matter of time before
pay-per-view becomes as much a feature of GAA coverage as it is for
other sports. The GAA authorities always deny that but in the harsh,
competitive world of TV times change very quickly.

The truth is that coverage of Saturday night League games has been on a
subscription basis with Setanta in recent years. In its own way, that
was quite a shift for the GAA.


Setanta deserve credit for seizing an opportunity, however, it
established the principle that the GAA were prepared to deal with a
subscription channel and once the first brick was removed from that
particular wall, who’s to say how quickly the entire demolition will

The GAA needs to be extremely careful how it handles its TV deals
because while it’s flattering to be in so much demand, the bottom line
for all TV channels except RTE is profit. RTE is commercially-driven too
but also has to take on-going cognisance of its public service remit.

Unlike the FAI and IRFU which presides over sports where the big TV
deals are dealt with at international level, the GAA is on its own which
is both a plus and a minus. Nickey Brennan’s insistence that the latest
deal is not about money is all very well, but the GAA still won’t tell
us how much it’s worth.

They will argue that it would be wrong of them to divulge commercially
sensitive information. However, do ordinary club members not have a
right to know? Aren’t they entitled to know the strategy behind the
GAA’s approach to TV coverage?

The GAA don’t need big money for TV rights. Obviously, they will drive
the best bargain but ultimately it’s all about exposure. The GAA hasn’t
helped itself in that regard by closing the inter-county season down for
five months between September and February but for the rest of the year,
they need more coverage, not just in terms of ‘live’ games but also with
magazine programmes.

 Time will tell if the new deal with TV3 delivers on that, although one
suspects that the GAA will have tied it into the agreement.

Nevertheless, the long-term fear has to be that Gaelic Games will be
drawn further into subscription channel land. The subscription channels
are always likely to out-bid RTE and once the GAA broke its exclusive
deal with Montrose, the future is a new world.

In general, the public don’t really care which channel the games are on
but they most certainly will object if they have to pay for them. The
GAA insist that won’t happen but it already has with Saturday night
League games. As the bidding war builds up in future years, who’s to say
that some championship games won’t be pay-per-view?

It might start with a trickle but once the principle is established
nothing will be sacred, except the All-Ireland finals.

The GAA are delighted with their new TV deal, exact details of which
have yet to be finalised, but viewers will be sceptical, not because
they believe that RTE — or any other station — should have a monopoly

on anything but because they see it as a step towards pay-per-view.
What’s more, they’re probably right.

Visit the Leinster GAA web site at

 GAA European Final

Killurin, winners of the Leinster Special Junior Club Hurling Championship
in away final against ‘County Europe’ in The Netherlands

Den Haag, The Netherlands – December 7th, 2007
‘This is History!
This is the first time ever that a mainland Europe Hurling team is introduced into the Leinster Championship series. European GAA County Board is an official County Board under the Leinster Council, similar to Kilkenny County
Board or Wicklow County Board. And now it is playing its first ever hurling Final, part of the Leinster Championship’ described Siasy Collins, editor

‘On December 8th the Leinster Hurling Championship goes global.’

Den Haag GAA Club, one of the longest established and most successful GAA c
lubs on mainland Europe will host the away final of the Leinster Special Junior Club Hurling Championship between Killurin and ‘County Europe’.

Killurin from Offaly were crowned Leinster Special Junior Club Hurling Cham
pions when they defeated Park Ratheniska from Laois on November 18th. They
travel to The Netherlands and will take on County Europe – a team comprising hurlers from Brussels, Paris, Luxembourg, Zurich and host club Den Haag.

‘As the winners of the 2007 Europe Hurling Championship we are particularly delighted to host this challenge match and will welcome Killurin to our club’, says Marie Sheehan, Den Haag GAA Club PRO. ‘2007 has also been a very
successful year for our men’s’ and ladies’ footballers – both coming second
in their respective Europe championship competitions. This challenge match
is certainly a fitting end to the season.’

After the match both teams will attend Ceiliúradh le Chéile, hosted by
Den Haag GAA Club, Holland Ladies GAA Club and the Irish Club ~ The Netherl
ands – combined Christmas party celebrating Gaelic Games and Irish culture
in Den Haag. Throw-in is at 2pm on Saturday December 8th at Westlandse Rugby Club Haaglanden (WRC), The Hague, the Netherlands.

About Den Haag GAA Club
Founded in the 1970s and affiliated with Croke Park since 2000, Den Haag GA
A Club is one of the longest established and most successful GAA clubs on mainland Europe.

Comprising mainly Irish, as well as French, English, Turkish, Indian, Dutch,
 Swiss, Canadian, Australian and German expatriates; Den Haag GAA are the
current European Hurling Championship winners, a title they have also won in 2003 and 2002. Men’s’ Gaelic Football winners in 2002 & 2006 and the Ladies Gaelic Footballers were victorious in 2005.






Leinster Club Championships Results & Fixtures

Moorefield dethroned.

Leinster champions were dethroned on Sunday after a Dennis Glennon converted penalty with 6 minutes remaining sealed their fate.

 Leinster Club Semi Final.Tyrrelspass 1-7 Moorefield 0-7.Final: Mullingar Sun 16th . St Vincents v Tyrrelspass  Live on TG4 AIB Leinster Club Football Championship Throw-in: 2:00pm. Coverage 1.45.


Coaches Corner

Tips for managers, coaches and intending coaches

The importance of warm-ups
“I train an intermediate Gaelic football team and would like to learn more about warm-ups?

The importance of warm-ups


“Up until quite recently, a warm-up consisted of jogging a few laps, and then players gathered around in a circle to do static stretches. But the thinking now is that this does not prepare players for a field game, such as Gaelic football, hurling, soccer or rugby, because it is not readying their muscles for the twisting and turning that goes on in those games.

The accepted practice nowadays is the dynamic warm-up.

The warm-ups I do last 15 minutes. I build it up intensity-wise in five-minute segments, so that from the 10th minute of the warm-up onwards, they are moving at three-quarters pace. You spend the first five minutes getting the body warmed up, the next five you pick up the pace a little, and go to three-quarters by the third five.

This prepares the body for what it will be doing in the training or match – hitting the tackle bags, or actually running into other players in the case of a match. In a game, or in a session, you do a ten-yard dash left or right, so you need to do stuff in your warm-up that prepares you for that. You’ve got to get the muscles ready. Otherwise there will be injuries.

The warm-up will have twisting and turning. I like to incorporate a skill drill into the warm-up – you will see lots of Gaelic football teams doing handpassing drills as part of their warm-up. But it includes twists and turns and getting yourself ready for the action.

Top soccer teams do warm-ups lasting up to 30 minutes before a match, and they are back in the dressingroom 15 minutes before the kick-off. Some rugby teams put in huge hits in their warm-up, but they build up to it.  They don’t just go out onto the field cold and starting hitting into each other or into the tackle bags.

You are aiming in the warm-up to get your players fully ready for the match or training. They have moved their muscles in the way they are going to use them for the next hour or so, and this gives them confidence that they are able to handle what’s about to unfold.

I would advise people with an interest in this to watch the warm-ups of the top teams very closely, and even take notes on time, intensity, and the range of what they do.”

Sports psychologist gives pointers
Eddie O’Sullivan admits the Irish team got distracted by the occasion in Croke Park. It might have been the difference between winning and losing the match. Similar scenarios can occur for teams and individuals at all levels of competitive sport.

Sports psychologist gives pointers


Here sports psychologist Niamh Flynn offers some tips on how you might mininise the chances of this happening to you or your team.


There are many ways one can avoid the problems which occur on a big match day. In situations where the venue is perceived as imposing for some of the players, they should should be able to block out this distraction with some simple preparatory techniques.

These techniques can include visualisation and building of self-esteem. Hypnosis – using information obtained from assessments and self-reporting by the players – can also be used.

A few things that managers and players should bear in mind from early on in a season, and which help to reduce the potential for poor performance as the year goes on, are as follows:


·              Know your players’ individual preferred manner of instruction. Are they task or ego oriented? Will they respond better to immediate positive verbal reinforcement after playing well, or will they respond better to a structured goal plan where they set a time line on various levels of achievement e.g. increased VO2 max /improved skills/ lower body fat percentage.

·              Set realistic, team-centred goals.



·              Make a list of your positive achievements from the beginning of the season and highlight areas of strength and weakness. It is important to emphasise the strengths as well as working on the weaknesses.

·              Set realistic personal goals. Be pragmatic and be specific.

·              Use visualisation. The mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined and very often when you visualising yourself playing well what the mind can conceive the mind will endeavour to achieve. Some people are predominantly visual, others auditory and others kinaesthetic so don’t worry if you cannot imagine things as clearly as you would like, just get a feeling about being on the pitch  or be aware of the sounds around you and get a sense of playing well.


Managers & Players  together

·              Preparation is key both on a psychological and physiological level. This can be in a structured use of a sport psychologist or in an unstructured constructive reinforcement from other players/management.

Have you a topic you’d like covered – email



Conversations Overheard


Setting high standards


On the 83 bus when 2 skangers get on…

‘Here do ya like me new top??’
‘Yeah where did ya get it???’
‘Ah I robbed it out of the second hand shop…’
‘I told you to stop robbin out of there…your better than that!!’

Trainee Lockhard


Before a Dublin v Derry game a man pulls into a car space on Gardiner Street. There is a dog in the backseat of the car as he locks it. A young trainee lockhard, no more than 12 goes up to him as the man is locking his car and says ‘ hey mister, give us € 5 and I will mind your car? ‘ The man replies ‘ na you’re alright son I’ve got my dog minding my car. ‘
The young lockhard stops and thinks as the man walks off and shouts after him, ‘ hey

mister, can your dog put out fire?’


Frozen Water


A cabin crew worker for a budget airline after take off from Dublin airport was serving a rather posh woman who asked him for an OJ.  He was well aware this meant orange juice however she obviously felt the need to explain it saying ‘that’s an orange juice to you dear!’ Feeling quite offended by this he decided if you can’t beat them join them and promptly replied, ‘would you like ice mam? that’s frozen water to you!’





Latest Invention


Dublin woman in Jonesboro Market at a garden ornament stall.

Woman ‘Whats that?
Salesman: ‘Thats a sun dial’
Woman: ‘what does it do’?
Salesman: ‘when the sun shines on it you can tell the time’.

Woman: ‘What will they think of next’!


Unsuccessful Chat up Line


In Roddy Boland’s in Rathmines one night a group of Italian tourists trying to chat up two Irish girls and not getting very far.

One of the Italian’s started waxing lyrical about one of the girls and her ‘beautiful pale skin’ and said: ‘In my country, you would be a Princess’

To which the Irish girl replied ‘And in my country, you’d work in a chipper, now f**k off’.


Colour of the Law

In one of the Dublin district courts during a hearing the defence barrister is questioning the injured party. The barrister is really trying to put pressure on the defendant and questions whether he can identify his client who allegedly assaulted him. The injured party is sitting in the witness box and without flinching points across the room and says loudly…

‘yer man there, the black fella.’

The defence barrister looses the rag and begins ranting about being prejudicial to his clients skin colour and so forth. The barrister continues along this line of attack and says indignantly to the injured party who is still in the witness box….

‘can you identify the man in this courtroom who you allege assaulted you without referring to his skin colour?’

The injured party looks up at the judge and then at the barrister shrugs and says… ‘yeah.’

The barrister asks him to do so. The injured party points again across the court room and says…

‘yer man sitting over there between the two white fellas .’


A Delicate Legal Matter

In Court No. 4 at the Four Courts, a woman who alleged a serious verbal assault was in the witness box, and was asked by defence counsel:
‘Can you tell the court what the defendant said?’
Woman:’ I’m a respectable woman; I couldn’t possibly say those words in public’
Kindly Judge: ‘Perhaps it might preserve everyone’s dignity if the witness wrote the alleged word on a piece of paper’
Having been given the piece of paper and a pen, the woman still appeared to be in difficulty, and the judge intervened to ask her: ‘ Is everything alright?’
To which the redoubtable Dublin woman replied:
‘Is there one or two ‘L’s in bollix’

GAA Quotes & Short Pieces

‘There is a level of politics in hurling. I don’t think Henry Kissinger would have lasted a week on the Munster council.’
        – Ger Loughnane

“We’re taking you off but we’re not bothering to put on a sub. Just having you off will improve our situation.” — Manager to a club player in Derry

‘In the dust of defeat as well as in the laurel of victory, there is glory to be found.’
        – JJ Meagher

They were playing automatic football. When one Cross player won the ball another half-dozen began to set themselves up for participation in any one of several possible scenarios.
        – Eugene McGee, ‘The Irish Independent’

The miracle of the GAA is that it works so well despite itself. Paranoia, self-doubt, trenchant conservatism, fear of outside sports and veneration of the past are all key parts of the GAA psyche. In order to love the GAA, you have to swallow these faults whole.
        – Keith Duggan, ‘The Irish Times’ (2002) 

‘Could I suggest that in future the GAA allocate a five-minute free-for-all before the television coverage of its games to dissipate the aggression, tension etc?’
        – Letter to ‘The Irish Times’ (1996) 

‘Does the GAA take its democratic principles from the Tammany Hall school of democratic politics, or that former great bastion of democracy, the Soviet Communist Party?’
        – Letter to ‘The Irish Times’ (2001) 

‘When knowledge of the rules is the preserve of a few, this confers a certain power on these few, which is unhealthy and undemocratic. Are there 40 people in this hall who could confidently put a motion in order for Congress? Are there 30? Are there 20? Are there 10?’
        – Sean Kelly, President’s address to GAA Congress (2004)

‘The first time I brought the boys to a match they were chocked at the abuse being heaped on Sean. I kept trying to tell them it was the referee they were shouting at but they said, ‘Mammy, the referee isn’t bald’.’
        – Wife of Meath manager Sean Boylan

‘I’m always suspicious of games where you’re the only ones that play it.’
        – Jack Charlton, asked about hurling

There is something pigheaded about Wexford this season, something pigheaded and perverse and oddly beautiful. In certain lights they are starting to look heroic.
        – Tom Humphries, ‘The Irish Times’

If Wexford Hurling Ltd was a company and we had produced the results that we have over the last 25 years or so, we would have been declared bankrupt long ago.
        – Phil Murphy, ‘Wexford People’ 

‘I often wonder if we changed the names of counties and jersey colours and started all over again, would it make a difference?’
        – Kevin O’Brien, on life with one of GAA’s lesser lights, Wicklow

Dublin in rare new times.
        – Irish Times headline after Dublin hurlers record a surprise win

There’s sunsets and there’s the gummy smiles of newborn babies. There’s puppy dogs with wagging tails and there’s Scarlett Johannsson… But honestly, there is no sight that gladdens the heart quite as much as that which greets you when pull into a GAA club on a Saturday morning. The mini-leagues! Little kids in hurling helmets covering every blade of grass like a happy and un-coordinated army of ants. It’s great to see.
        – Tom Humphries, ‘The Irish Times’

Goalie: Must have ‘great goalmouth presence’…which is secret code for being fat enough to have his own gravitational pull.
        – taken from ‘The Truth about Junior Football’

Bogball and Stickfighting.
        – George Byrne’s view of the national games, ‘Evening Herald’

A prominent rugby coach from the Southern Hemisphere who has been at many Gaelic football matches this summer said that he has given up trying to figure out which way the referee will award a free for a tackle. Will the man in possession be penalised for holding on and not playing the ball, or will he gain a free because an opponent has tackled him illegally?
Well, I have news for the man from Australia. I have been playing and watching Gaelic since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and I haven’t a clue either. Gaelic football has regressed to being a sort of glorified contact-basketball.
        – Sean Diffley, ‘The Irish Independent’

We should wave goodbye and good riddance to the ill-bred hybrid that is the International Rules series… the reality is that Australians are deeply unpleasant when they lose and unbearable when they win. The truth is that, through ignorance and blatant disregard for sportsmanship, they destroy the very sports in which they bend every rule to excel. The truth is that they call ‘ultra competitiveness’ is in fact a national mindset which elevates thugery to an art form. Aussies just don’t give a XXXX about fair play. All of Ireland’s key footballers and those who performed admirably in the first fixture victory were taken out by foul means in the first few minutes. The truth is that if Australia needs to win that much, if they are prepared to besmirch sport and abandon civilised behaviour, they can have it.
        – Jerome O’Reilly, ‘The Sunday Independent’ (Nov’06)

No sports organisation in the world that I know of seems to have as much trouble with its own rule book as the GAA. Every week it seems there is yet another squabble about yet another GAA rule controversy… the long and short of it is that the GAA rule book is a load of nonsense with far too many badly-worded rules, with countless sunsections, clauses, recommendations and whatever you’re having yourself… Its time to burn the rule book and start from scratch.
        – Eugene McGee, ‘The Irish Independent’ (Jun’07)

The only acceptable recipients of money from the GAA are administrators, coaches, security, bar and catering staff, hawkers, programme sellers, pirates, general scavengers, some managers… but no players. Stalin or Fidel Castro would love the way the GAA has and is being run. Even if something is wrong nobody questions it.
&a, mp;am, p;am, p;nb, sp;       – Colm O’Rourke, in Ireland’s ‘Sunday Independent’

The GAA is currently in the middle of that disreputable phase that athletics and rugby union went through in the dying days of their amateur eras. They called it shamateurism then and it’s shamateurism now.
        – Tommy Conlon, ‘The Sunday Independent’

The prime motivation for most of the major decisions taken by the GAA is modern times is money.
        – Eugene McGee, ‘The Irish Independent’

‘There are some things in life that are more important than money and the GAA is one of them.’
        – Joe Brolly

‘Dublin are playing conventional Gaelic football, Tyrone are playing a system that virtually guarantees them success until they come up against a team that’s playing a similar system of play, that’s equally astute tactically. The only meaningful battles that Tyrone had last year were against Armagh who played five half-backs. It turned into a war of attrition. It was a totally different level of football in terms of the tactics and strategy than anything else that’s going on in Ireland. Tyrone don’t have a higher work rate than other teams, it’s just that they deploy their players in a more sensible way. They appear to be taking up conventional positions at the outset and try to get back to those at times and it helps conceal it… When Ryan McMenamin breaks up the field to score a point, it is not spontaneous, but painstakingly rehearsed. When the ball drops in midfield, everyone around has a role to fill. When they win back the ball players fan out in concentric rings as they launch a counter-attack in what is essentially a defensive game, with a lethal retaliatory sting.’
        – Joe Brolly, interviewed by Dermot Crowe in the ‘Sunday Independent’

Battle-hardened National League supporters are a more weather-beaten animal than their Championship counterparts.
        – Eoghan Corry, on ‘fair weather fans’, ‘Evening Herald’

‘If we don’t do something about it, in 10 years’ time there will be no need to start the championship until August because there will only be 4 or 5 counties competing. Hurling is like an old country house where the front has been maintained. It looks grand from the road but when you go inside you find that the place is falling down.’
        – Conor Hayes, Galway hurling manager, interviewed in 2006 in ‘The Irish Independent’

Hurling is, to use the parlance du jour, ‘a great product’, which the GAA should somehow be marketing abroad. The problem is that there are other foreign territories, which the GAA might investigate before unleashing hurling on the global sporting community. North Roscommon for example, North Galway, South Kerry, most of Donegal, Louth, Monaghan, Sligo…Those awe-struck foreigners in Croke Park would marvel if they knew how little loved the best game in the world is in its native land… The suspicion must be that hurling is like the Irish language. Everyone thinks it’s great stuff and part of what we are and pays considerable lip service to it. But the numbers who actually play hurling are, like those who use the Irish language, disappointingly small.
        – Eamonn Sweeney, ‘Home Truths about Hurling’, ‘The Irish Independent’

 Quoted in ‘God and the Referee: Unforgettable GAA Quotations’ compiled by Eoghan Corry

‘Is it a reasonable thing, I ask you, for a grown man to run about and hit a ball? Poker’s the only game fit for a grown man. Then, your hand is against every man’s, and every man’s is against yours. Teamwork? Who ever made a fortune by teamwork? There’s only one way to make a fortune, and that’s to down the fellow who’s up against you.’
        – Somerset Maugham, ‘Cosmopolitans’

Irish quotes – some serious and some humorous!


‘A Kerry footballer with an inferiority complex is one who thinks he’s just as good as everybody else.’
– Author John B. Keane

‘Ireland is a peculiar society in the sense that it was a nineteenth century society up to about 1970 and then it almost bypassed the twentieth century.’
– Author John McGahern

‘Whether it be a matter of personal relations within a marriage or political initiatives within a peace process, there is no sure-fire do-it-yourself kit.’
– Seamus Heaney

‘I think the Irish woman was freed from slavery by bingo. They can go out now, dressed up, with their handbags and have a drink and play bingo. And they deserve it.’
– Author John B. Keane

‘Making peace, I have found, is much harder than making war.’
– Gerry Adams

‘Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.’
– Flannery O’Connor

‘I spent 90% of my money on woman and drink. The rest I wasted.’
– Soccer superstar George Best


‘We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.’
– Winston Churchill

‘He was a one-off, a unique figure of medieval power, intrigue and complexity, surrounded by mystery and money, and protected by populism and cleverness and the well-timed one-liner.’
– Maire Goeghegan-Quinn, former Irish cabinet member, speaking of three-time Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey, who died June 13, 2006

‘My favourite optimist was an American who jumped off the Empire State Building, and as he passed the 42nd floor, the window washers heard him say, ‘So Far, so good.”
– John McGahern, Leitrim author who wrote ‘The Barracks’ and five other novels

‘All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.’
– Sean O’Casey

‘Could he not find in his heart the generosity to acknowledge that there is a small nation that stood alone not for one year or two, but for several hundred years against aggression; that endured spoliations, famines, massacres in endless succession; that was clubbed many times into insensibility, but that each time on returning [to] consciousness took up the fight anew; a small nation that could never be got to accept defeat and has never surrendered her soul?”
– Eamon De Valera, on Victory Day in Europe, May 8, 1945, responding in a radio speech to criticism by Winston Churchill of Ireland’s neutrality in World War II, a speech in which De Valera also thanked Churchill for not invading Ireland.

‘Though I soon became typecast in Hollywood as a gangster and hoodlum, I was originally a dancer, an Irish hoofer, trained in vaudeville tap dance. I always leapt at the opportunity to dance in films later on.’
– James Cagney

‘In some of these institutions the buildings were designedly rendered gloomy by the windows being obscured, so that the inmates were severed from the outside world almost as effectively as if they were in prison.’
– From a report on Ireland’s Magdalen Asylums published in 1907 by a humanitarian group from London

‘Well, it takes all kinds of men to build a railroad.’
‘No sir, just us Irish.’
– Railroad barons in ‘Dodge City,’ Warner Bros., 1939

‘I saw a fleet of fishing boats…I flew down almost touching the craft and yelled at them, asking if I was on the right road to Ireland. They just stared. Maybe they didn’t hear me. Maybe I didn’t hear them. Or maybe they thought I was just a crazy fool.’
– Charles Lindbergh

‘A doctor’s reputation is made by the number of eminent men who die under his care.’
– George Bernard Shaw

‘I am a drinker with a writing problem.’
– Brendan Behan

‘Ireland, sir, for good or evil, is like no other place under heaven, and no man can touch its sod or breathe its air without becoming better or worse.’
– George Bernard Shaw

‘You know it’s summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer.’ Hal Roach

‘There is, for whatever reason, an international tendency to be well-disposed towards Ireland – a tendency that elevates us beyond our actual standing on the world stage.’
– Ivana Bacik, Irish barrister and Labour Party candidate

‘As I walked back to the car, I chatted with an Englishman, who confirmed that, indeed, sheep are dropping into the oceans around Ireland at a regular rate’
– Margeret Lynn McLean, noting the general lack of fences along cliff edges on Irish farms, ‘Insights on Ireland’

‘This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.’
– Sigmund Freud (speaking about the Irish)

‘He comes from a brainy Cork Family.’
– First line of a British police dossier on Michael Collins, discovered by Collins himself during a raid on Dublin Castle

‘For the good are always the merry,
Save for an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance’
– W.B. Yeats, ‘The Fiddler of Dooney’

‘I used to go missing quite a lot…Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World.’
– George Best

‘Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.’
– Oliver Goldsmith

‘In Manhasset you were either Yankees or Mets, rich or poor, sober or drunk…You were ‘Gaelic’ or ‘garlic,’ as one schoolmate told me, and I couldn’t admit, to him or myself, that I had both Irish and Italian ancestors.’
– J. R. Moehringer, ‘The Tender Bar’

‘Today I come back to you as a descendant of people who were buried here in pauper’s graves.’
– President Ronald Reagan, on a visit to Ballyporeen in 1984

‘The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scotts as a joke, but the Scotts haven’t seen the joke yet.’
– Oliver Herford

‘Even if the ball was wrapped in bacon, Lassie couldn’t find it.’
– Heard from an Irish caddie, after a particularly bad shot.

‘Those who drink to forget, please pay in advance.’
– Sign at the Hibernian Bar, Cork City.

‘The worst threat to Irish farmers is not foot and mouth disease, but a postal strike.’
– Popular saying in rural Ireland, referring to Irish farmers’ heavy dependence on government subsidy checks to survive.

‘As a writer, I write to see. If I knew how it would end, I wouldn’t write. It’s a process of discovery.’
– Author John McGahern

‘I started with rock n’ roll and…then you start to take it apart like a child with a toy and you see there’s blues and there’s country…Then you go back from country into American music…and you end up in Scotland and Ireland eventually.’
– Elvis Costello

‘The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad. For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.’
– G.K. Chesterton

‘Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious.’
– Brendan Gill



I tell you this – early this morning I signed my death warrant.’
– Michael Collins, after signing a treaty on December 6, 1921 with England creating the Irish Free State as a dominion within the British Commonwealth

‘A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.’
– Jonathan Swift

‘I was raised in an Irish-American home in Detroit where assimilation was the uppermost priority. The price of assimilation and respectability was amnesia. Although my great-grandparents were victims of the Great Hunger of the 1840’s, even though I was named Thomas Emmet Hayden IV after the radical Irish nationalist exile Thomas Emmet, my inheritance was to be disinherited. My parents knew nothing of this past, or nothing worth passing on.’
– Tom Hayden

‘If (my grandfather) hadn’t left, I’d be working over here at the Albatross Company.’
– JFK, during a 1963 visit to Ireland.

‘Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country’s most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns thy desolation.’
– George Washington, speaking of Ireland’s support for America during the revolution.

‘When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.’
– Edna O’Brien

‘A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned…for he will go out on a day he shouldn’t. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again.’
– John Millington Synge, in his book ‘The Aran Islands,’ 1907

‘Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.’
– C. S. Lewis

‘I’ll tell you what you can expect from an Irishman named Wellington whose father was a bookmaker. You can expect that anything he says or writes may be repeated aloud in your own home in front of your children. You can believe he was taught to love and respect all mankind, but to fear no man.’
– The late Wellington Mara, owner of the New York Giants, in reponse to a critical story by a sportswriter.

‘As an intending Trappist, he would have to turn his back on pleasure but that would not be so easy because he knew of practically nothing which could be called pleasure.’
– Flan O’Brien, ‘The Dalkey Archive’

‘I have never seen a West Cork farmer with an umbrella, except at a funeral. His father or grandfather, who went to the creamery with an ass and cart, insulated himself against the vagaries of the heavens with a thick woollen overcoat and slightly greasy flat cap. Little rain permeated the oxter or the headgear. Beneath the outer layer, which could weigh a hundredweight when well soaked, the man remained dry and warm.’
– Damien Engright, ‘A Place Near Heaven – A Year in West Cork’

‘There is no language like the Irish for soothing and quieting.’
– John Millington Synge

‘It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s simply that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.’
– Brendan Behan

‘How would you know a Cork footballer? He’s the one who thinks that oral sex is just talking about it.’
– Author John B. Keane

‘When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, ‘Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don’t believe?’
– Quentin Crisp

“Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.”
– George Bernard Shaw

The many faces seen at your local GAA match

Just as footballers can be classified as defenders, midfielders, forwards or goalkeepers, so fans and club members can be categorised into certain broad stereotypes.

The study has shown that supporters can be categorised into the following groups:

The Cloth Cap Brigade:

These are a band of men whose heyday was in the 1950’s & 1960’s. While these dwindling group are mostly from the sixties generation, you wouldn’t think it to look at them. When other nations were entering the age of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll this squad were running around the pioneer dance halls chasin’ wimmin in rural Ireland after getting flutered in the local. They’re very conservative, hardcore idealists and believe themselves to be the backbone of the GAA even though most of them believe that they have been let down and left behind by the modern GAA with the removal of the ban and the opening up of Croke Park to soccer and rugby.

 At games the Cloth Cap Brigade are easily identified not simply because of their attire but also because they make a very distinctive call, which sounds something like “giveherlang giveherlangferchrissakes”. This means kick the ball as hard and as far down the pitch as you can. The Cloth Caps have nothing against the O’Dwyer revolution and the modern game. They just don’t think it will work for their team and cite that as a reason that they club hasn’t won a championship in 50 years or why their once proud senior team in the late 50’s is now languishing at the bottom of the junior ranks. They look back fondly to the days of their youth when the goalkeeper was just an inconvenience and was not afforded any protection by the rules unless he was unconscious in the back of the goalmouth with his head stuck in a hole in the net after being elbowed in the head by one or more of the forwards.  Back then a sending off was as rare as snow in July. All Cloth Caps can be heard regularly denouncing the sissy nature of today’s game comparing today’s players to effeminate soccer players whom they hate with a passion. Compared to now dust-ups were an acceptable part and parcel of the game and what happened on the pitch stayed on the pitch; the referee just let them get on with it or he might have got it too. They ruefully remember the day of the big full forward with hands like shovels. Of course nowadays full forwards have small hands since they don’t work on the bog anymore. The Cloth Caps remember with fondness the big full forward standing on the goal line or on the goalkeeper’s foot awaiting the delivery of those ‘lang’ balls. If only he could come back now they have no doubt that he would score enough goals and points to win that elusive county championship.

The Crazy Women:

The existence of the gangs of crazy women who attend Gaelic football matches has not been very well documented. Needless to say, they exist, and they are extremely dangerous. Decades ago, the crazy women armed themselves with umbrellas which they used as weapons to assault players and opposition supporters. Now that most pitches have perimeter fencing, the crazies have decommissioned their brollies but they have become equally lethal with the tongue. Referees are the favourites targets. Some of these women suffer from DMS (Doting Mother Syndrome). Women with DMS will attack referees who give decisions against their sons. More frightening still, is the common occurrence when two gangs of crazy women from opposite teams attack each other’s sons. “That fellow there, that number 9 is no more U12 than I am! will ye look at him Mary, he’s feckin growing a beard.”  “That my son you’re talking about you batty blind bitch”. The result: verbal carnage.

The Drinking Crew:

The drinking crew are often mostly made up of the lads who couldn’t make the second Junior C team and some have grandfathers who are Cloth Caps and who have to hide the fact from Cloth Cap grandfather that they sometimes play soccer for the local Pub soccer team on a Sunday morning providing of course that Saturday night didn’t exert to heavy a toll on the system.
The drinking crew tend to be in their twenties or thirties and they are very single. Often they don’t turn up until half time. Sunday is not a good day for the crew unless they manage a cure before the game.  Attendance at the match serves two vital functions. The first of these is to establish what happened on the previous night like how they got home or whom they went home with etc. The second and secondary function is to watch the match. There is a further reason why the crew turn up late. Some of their comrades from the previous night (who also downed a copious number of pints) are out on the pitch, so the crew know well in advance that there is little chance of victory.

Teenage Posers (female):
This group only appear at championship matches with big crowds. Again they are easy to recognise. Posers can be seen walking around the pitch, on the concrete catwalk, in high heels, tight jeans or short skirts looking up at the crowd and hoping that the male members of the crowd are looking at them and largely ignoring the ongoing match while their sisters who play football are up in the stand wearing their club tops and are avidly engrossed in the on field action and unlike their non playing sisters below are oblivious to what’s going on off the pitch. This practice is known within the sisterhood as ‘circuits’ and they will pass the stand numerous times during the game often stopping for a chat -but not about the game – with fellow members of the species going in the opposite direction. Posers tend to drift away from Gaelic football, unless they hook up with a member of the Drinking Crew or more preferably the Male Model.

The Male Model:
Iit’s easy to spot the male model at training sessions. He’s the player wearing the Cork jersey on Monday, Kildare on Wednesday and Dublin on Friday. Not only will he have the jersey, he’ll also have the accompanying shorts and socks. Male Models normally sport a healthy tan for about six months of the year. He is the one player in the changing room guaranteed to bring hair gel, shampoo and deodorant. After his liberal application of deodorant, he can be difficult to see, as he will be enveloped in a cloud of sweet smelling mist. The Male Model despises the fact that he must share his toiletries every week with some spongers. However, he realises it is a necessary evil if he is to leave the changing room looking and smelling his very best. He also likes to ensure that he leaves the pitch looking his best even if the conditions are atrocious and his team-mates are carrying half the pitch on their sodden jerseys. He is very popular with the female posers.

Physio’s Friend:

Four words can sum up the playing career of a typical Physio’s friend and they are: ‘Lame for every game’. Pulled hamstrings, severed ligaments, cruciate ligaments sore groins, you name it, and he has had it. Generally spends most of every season on crutches. Becomes own best diagnostician after countless recounting of his injuries (severe) to members of the female posers group in the pub or club after the match.
Physiotherapists dream about getting one of these players on their client list. He is the ideal customer. Once a physio’s friend has signed up, all financial worries can be forgotten. With a guaranteed two trips a week, for injuries, either real or imagined, the sick one’s club will foot the bills, allowing the Physio to pay his mortgage, have foreign holidays twice a year and put his children through university.


County Star (Club Hero):

He is the heartbeat of the team. This man sends himself to sleep at night by counting O’Neill’s footballs floating over a crossbar. Despite huge commitments to the county panel, he will be a regular attendee at club training sessions attend underage training and always makes himself available to present trophies to the children. The Club Hero is highly valued, primarily for his talent, but also for the example he provides other players. Club heroes watch what they eat, go easy on the drink and refrain from cigarettes. If they have one weakness, it’s women. For some misguided reason they are under the illusion that women are not detrimental to your health.

County Star (The Invisible Man):
This other type of county footballer enjoys a love/hate, though mostly hate, relationship with his club’s supporters. They love him when he turns up for matches because he can be the difference between winning and losing a match. They hate him because they think that he is a big headed poser, who seeks only personal glory through his county team, while abandoning the very club that taught him how to play the game.

Hard Ground Specialist:
Just as there are racehorses that cannot cope with soft ground, so there are footballers who feel ill-suited to early season training. Hard ground specialists consider the dedicated winter trainers to be mere point-to-pointers, whereas they regard themselves as the genuine flat-race thoroughbreds. When the weather improves they will have start to appear at training sessions throughout the country in their droves and expect to be put on the team straight away.

The Schoolboy:
The schoolboy has only one thing in his head: football. Carrying absolutely no weight, the schoolboy runs just for the fun of it. Older players in the team are jealous of schoolboys as they represent their lost youth. Junior football is the traditional sacrificial ground where balding corner backs regularly obliterate frisky teenagers for no apparent reason. Schoolboys are best advised to stay clear of these ageing veterans if they wish to stay clear of serious injury.

The Student:
The transformation from schoolboy to student is as pronounced as that of the caterpillar to butterfly. Where once he was a schoolboy whose only ambition was to get on the senior team; the student discovers the pleasures of wine, woman and song. Football is put way down the agenda. For the first six months of his fresher year the student will usually dress like his rock star hero and spout esoteric philosophical theories after spending an hour at the college philosophical society bored out of his head before he heads to the student union bar to get jarred out of his head. He will give the excuse of either assignments or exams for his continued absence at training, yet there will be repeated sightings of him in the nightclubs and pubs. The club hero will try to lecture the student about the error of his ways, but it is hopeless, he will be a lost soul for the next four years having to repeat exams every year just as the team are getting ready for the latter stages of the championships.

The Stirrer:

The scourge of all clubs.
Has no role in society, let alone a GAA club other than turning up at the AGM, dressed in his Sunday best and always, always brings up issues that have already been addressed and dealt with by the time the weary chairman gets around to “any other business”, which are the magic words that set him off on his torturous tirade as the other members raise their eyes in despair while the those seated behind the stirrer slip quietly away for a well deserved pint. As footballers the species were in general hopeless and with a pair of arms and legs that refused to work together in harmony on the pitch they spent their careers wrapped up in a good big overcoat on the line belittling the efforts of their team-mates on the field and vocally cursing the mentors who had the sense to keep them off the starting fifteen. Their resentments are built up over the years and anyone who ever crossed their path is subject to their pent up vitriol. Will complain about everything in the club from selectors to assistant-treasurers, have a penchant for refusing to accept democratic decisions at all levels yet will never offer to do anything constructive for the club and it would be easier to extract a tooth without anaesthetic than getting them even to buy a monthly €5 ticket or a weekly lotto. They’re completely selfish and only seem to care about themselves and their brothers/sons/nephews within the club – all of whom are a milder version of the general Shit Stirrer. Have a deep hatred of all neighbouring clubs, referees and most of their own club members and yet in most cases never receive the widespread condemnation they truly deserve.

The Idiot:

Every club has one of this species..
However, it is usually the most lunatic and therefore ignored character within the club’s environs that gains this unenviable title. Can be seen at championship matches pacing up and down the line frothing and foaming at the lips of his mostly toothless mouth and shouting all sorts of incomprehensible obscenities at the referee, linesman, players from both sides and supporters. Will be among the first people in the dressing room before a big game as he seems to take it as a given that he’s part of the management set-up although he has not for the want of trying ever being elected to any club position. He will reappear again with the team after half time and at the end will freely offer his very forthright opinions without being asked. Later in the local or the club after a few pints of the black stuff and couple of whiskey chasers he will become even more belligerent in his views –if that’s possible. He hates compromise and regards it as weakness. Although younger than the Cloth Caps he nevertheless holds many of their views since they were his role models when he first joined the club. He used to hate soccer or pretend to but now believes that he’s has been given Carte Blanc by the GAA authorities to watch soccer openly since Croke Park was opened to other sports. However despite his admiration for the Cloth Caps, even they tend to avoid him so when he doesn’t manage to inveigle himself into others conversations after ear wigging first to find out what’s been talked about, he ploughs a lonely furrow at the bar unless he seeks out the stirrer who will use him as sounding board since no one else will listen to him. The stirrer naturally regards himself as intellectually superior to the idiot and a greater authority on the game and the idiot apart for his regard for the Cloth Caps admires the stirrer as being a man after his own heart who says it straight like it is not like that shower on the executive committee who always seem to be compromising and letting the County Board walk all over them. Whenever the opportunity arises the idiot will serve as linesman and his arm always signals the same direction – in favour of his team. He will more than likely cause some sort of row but has an uncanny knack of being able to disappear when the going gets tough.

The Saviour:

Every club in every county has one – if they didn’t they would have ceased to exist long ago. He is the man in the club that does everything – often without a title to his name. He arranges games, he lines the pitch, puts up the nets, pumps the balls, opens the dressing rooms, turns on the showers, brings the water, jerseys and first aid kit, pays the ref and locks up afterwards. He informs all the players of all the necessary details and if the game is away his car is bursting at the seams with players, supporters and club officials. Often he will train an Under-10 team on a given evening in the field, finish up in time to select the Junior ‘C’ team, and end up being forced into action himself because of a lack of numbers before rushing to a County Board meeting as the club’s delegate and then back to the ‘local’ to co-ordinate the monthly draw. On the rare occasions that this individual falls sick or goes missing for a couple of days the entire club falls into disarray and scenes of chaos ensue.

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