Sarsfields Newsletter

November 8, 2018



The Weekly Online Newsletter of Sarsfields GAA Club




U21 Final: Sarsfields 0-11 St. Laurence’s 0-9.

After a tremendous team performance on Saturday against St. Laurence’s, Sarsfields U21 Footballers were crowned champions in the Tony Donohoe Trophies Championship.  John Geraghty deservedly got man of the match after his personal tally of five points. However probably the decisive moment of the game came midway through the second half when Steven Jacob brilliantly saved a penalty by  tipping the ball over the bar. Although St. Laurence’s came within one point Sarsfields stood resolute and heroic defending proved decisive in the destination of the Squires Gannon cup.

            In just two seasons after the appointment of the management team Alan Barry, Ziggy Mcintyre and Liam Sex the team the reversal of Sarsfields fortunes at U21 level has been dramatic. Narrowly beaten in last year’s final they went one better on Saturday beating media favourites St. Laurence’s. Well done lads. Nuckser left a message on the Sarsfields Website Guestbook congratulating the team and management.

            Adding the U21 title to the minor and the Junior C titles is an achievement that augurs well for Senior Football in the club. The new senior manger will have a head start in the talented pool of players available.

It would be remiss not to mention the major part played in Saturday’s victory by Maor Uisce, Eric Thorpe, the man who knows everybody. In an exclusive interview on Sunday night with the Newsletter, taking a break from celebrations with “my lads” the ambitious Eric while naturally delighted with the win said that he has bigger fish to fry. “ I’ve done all I can with the U21’s so I’m returning to the senior set up after three years in the wilderness”, said Eric. While the new senior management team has yet to be officially announced, Eric had no hesitation in announcing his own appointment. “I’m sorry to be leaving as I had great cooperation from the team and from Alan, Ziggy and Liam”. Asked what they would do without him, Eric replied that while he knew they would miss him, it was time for him to move on but he was prepared to train his replacement before he departs for the fresh challenge of senior management. According to Sarsfields historians it’s believed to be the first time in the history of the Club that anyone has appointed himself to the management set-up of any team. While unprecedented its nevertheless not against the Club constitution according to Eric. “I’m looking forward to soldering with the seniors again and when I have the seniors sorted I might appoint myself chairman.” said Eric before he went back to have a drink with Squires Gannon.   



Amateur GAA refs must pass FIFA test

By Damian Lawlor

Sunday November 18 2007

The GAA’s part-time inter-county referees must pass the same rigorous fitness test as FIFA’s highly paid whistlers if they want to take charge of major fixtures next season.

The remarkable message was relayed to around 150 match officials at a recent end-of-season meeting with Croke Park officials in the Hodson Bay Hotel. Over 80 inter-county football referees were present at the meeting, which was led by GAA president Nickey Brennan, with close to 50 hurling referees also present.

During the meeting, match officials were told that their fitness levels had to improve for next season and they were also encouraged to submit match reports sooner. They were informed that they would have to meet rigorous FIFA fitness standards if they wanted to take red letter games next year. GAA referees are now preparing to take that test in March, and again in May.

The FIFA test is well known around the world as an excellent condition gauge for whistlers. There are a number of different levels attached but GAA referees have been told they must pass the very highest category — the international referees’ class. This examination will measure the average running speed of a match official during repeated fast runs over a specific distance and will monitor his capacity to perform repeated high-intensity runs.

Essentially the test is broken down into the following sectors: referees must cover 150m in 30 seconds, then they have 35 seconds to cover 50m walking as they recover. On the next whistle, they must again run 150m in 30 seconds, followed by another 50m walking in 35 seconds. That circuit constitutes one lap. The bad news for the referees is that they have to cover 10 of those laps in rapid fire succession.

Reaction to the new system was mixed. A number of referees were happy with the challenge but others were less convinced.

‘You’d want to start training now to be ready for the test in March,’ said one well-established GAA match official. ‘I’ve no problem training and doing the required work but you’d want to be out every night getting ready for this and I just don’t have the time for that. Fine, it’s something to aspire to but FIFA referees are professional; they get €1,500 a match and a match fee on top of that — we all have day jobs, we get 50 cent a mile and €30 meal allowance. There’s a fair difference there.’

One aspect of the season’s review that all referees were very happy with, however, were video analysis segments that Croke Park introduced throughout the year. These briefings illustrated good, decisive calls that officials made as the year unfolded.

‘After watching them, they were a great aid to you in subsequently making the right call on the field,’ one referee said. ‘They would build a bit of confidence in you too.’


GAA Online Questionnaire

The GAA have announced details of a new online questionnaire, which seeks the opinions of GAA members and the general public on how the Association is perceived and on its role in modern Irish society. The exercise is part of a broader review in this context which has seen the Association carry out in-depth research among its clubs, players, officials, members and among supporters of the Association as well as key political and media figures.

The President of the GAA, Mr Nickey Brennan said: “It is important that we consult with our members and the wider community so that we can take as broad a range of views as possible into consideration in terms of how the Association is perceived by our own members and indeed the general public.  As part of the process we have prepared a short questionnaire to enable us to get a real insight into opinions about the GAA. It is intended to aid us in understanding where we stand at present and how we can develop in the future and we would welcome the participation of interested parties in helping us achieve this goal.”

The GAA have held a series of consultations with its members at all levels in recent months which included nation-wide workshops which sought the opinions of club members of all ages (from 12 years of age upwards) from all over the country. The views of major figures in Irish public life were also canvassed as part of this process and an omnibus national market research programme has been commissioned. A questionnaire has been sent to each club in the country and the online survey represents the final strand in the programme.

The questionnaire is currently available to complete at  or directly at  and has already generated a huge amount of interest among individuals wishing to have their say in relation to the ongoing development of the Association.


Kelly calls on GAA to end strike stalemate

by Darren Dunne, 18 November 2007

Former GAA President Sean Kelly has warned the Association to do everything in its power to avoid strike action, as he believes that the possible damage could have a lasting effect.

With the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) having already balloted its members positively on strike action, the Kerry native believes the two sides should use the time they have to reach an agreement.

‘It’s hard to comprehend just how serious the whole thing would be,’ Kelly said.

‘It would do irreparable damage because it will break the spirit that exists there and create huge suspicions that would have taken a long time to eradicate.

‘Given that damage, the GAA should do all it can, and in fairness they are doing that.

‘I don’t know why it wasn’t sorted out earlier, because I can’t see a downside. It’s not pay for play, in fact I’d call it expenses rather than a grant.

‘The money has been set aside, the grassroots have no problem, and in fact I think the GAA are going to recognise the contribution made by players in the next couple of months,’ he concluded.


Brian Dooher and Paul Galvin are geniuses

By Martin Breheny

Brian Dooher and Paul Galvin are ‘true geniuses’ in modern-day football, according to Mickey Harte who holds them up an example of what all players should aspire to.

In a tutorial in the SportTracker Player diary, he defines geniuses as those who are who are prepared to push themselves to the limit of their ability.

‘We are all therefore, potential geniuses and anyone reading this diary can become their own genius. In the last few years alone, GAA fans have observed two footballers, playing at the highest level, who are ‘true geniuses’, Brian Dooher and Paul Galvin.

‘They were born at opposite ends of the country, Dooher in a county which had never won an All-Ireland before the turn of the new millennium, and Galvin in a county which has won dozens and dozens.”

Galvin, as a ”hard working” player, as a ”smart, hard working” player and a ”robust, hard-working player,” had created a whole new wonderful characteristic for the Kerry team we see today. Stereotyping players limits them and instead of becoming ”limited”, Galvin had become a powerful force for Kerry all over the field. Dooher had also created his own place and role for Tyrone.

‘Both men have the genius to show that it’s not the number on your back or a position on a team sheet. From watching them, any player on any club team in the country can seek to become a fuller package.

‘Talent does what it can, genius does what it must. Traditionally, ‘genius’ was viewed as almost a higher gift from God. On further reflection, thankfully, everyone has within them the potential for genius. When we stretch ourselves to the limits of our own capabilities, then we are displaying true genius.

‘If you are a talented player and have had a natural advantage all your life then it’s easy to sit back and live that role without looking for more from yourself.

‘There is always more there, in every player, but far too many really talented players do not have the mental strength to go and look for it,’ writes Harte.


Pauric Duffy, New GAA Director General Plans to Scrap Inter- County U21 Intermediate and Junior Championships

Croke Park’s Management committee ratified PAURIC DUFFY’S appointment as the GAA’s new director general last week.

The association’s Player Welfare manager has beaten off the challenge of Croke Park stadium manager Peter McKenna and former Dublin footballer and company managing director Pat Gilroy. The Monaghan man will be formally unveiled as the replacement for Liam Mulvihill tomorrow.

Duffy is a former chairman of Croke Park’s Games Administration committee and is well regarded by officials and players. He also has a good relationship with the Gaelic Players Association, lauding the organisation recently for their work on behalf of players.

Earlier this year Duffy controversially called for the abolition of the U21 championships on the basis that the competition may be contributing to the issue of player burnout.

“My own view is, and this is not widely accepted, I would get rid of all inter-county competitions outside minor and senior,” said Duffy. “We have to do something radical. Under 21, junior and intermediate — they will all have to go.”

To blame the U21 championship for player burnout is simply disingenuous on Duffy’s behalf. If Duffy gets his way and the Inter County U21 championship is scrapped then its only a matter of time before the County U 21 championship follows suit. Did Pauric Duffy ask the Sarsfields U21 players or all of the other 31 Under 21 county champions or all of the U 21 players in the country what they feel about the issue. Obviously not because he knows the answer that he would get.


Coaching in the 21st century

By Martin Breheny

When Mickey Harte and Pete McGrath talk about what’s good for GAA players, it’s wise to listen.

When they unite in a certainty that they are involved in a product which has the capacity to improve every player in the country, it’s worth further exploration.

Because when it comes to GAA matters, equivocation is an enemy in a successful, ambitious world, occupied by a pair who separately led Down and Tyrone to two All-Ireland senior titles each in different decades. It’s straight-talking all the way, which inevitably leads to disagreements over certain issues, notably the International Rules series.

However, their enthusiasm for a new concept in how players evaluate themselves and their performances is so great that it really will be interesting to see if it lives up to its billing.

‘If it’s used properly, it will guarantee player improvement — it’s as simple as that,’ says McGrath confidently.

‘This is about making more of yourself as a player at whatever level you’re at. It’s also about things as they ought to be as opposed to what they used to be,’ said Harte.

The object of their support is a new 200-page Player’s Diary which is shortly to come on the market as part of an overall package designed to help players better themselves. Produced by SportTracker, a Dundalk-based company chaired by former GAA President, Peter Quinn, it claims its books and software can bring significant improvements for players at all levels. The diary is basically a personal analysis book that allows players and managers to take greater control of performances, ambitions, training, general well-being etc.

McGrath, who led Down to All-Ireland glory in 1991 and 1994, is SportTracker’s Technical Director while Harte, the current Tyrone manager who steered them to two All-Ireland titles in 2003 and 2005, played a central role in the compilation of the diary and has also written a series of tutorials, dealing with different aspects of modern-day activity on and off the GAA fields.

‘What we’ve done is come up with a blueprint for managers, coaches and players so that they analyse performance in a systematic way. For instance, if you’re dealing with defence, you record information on why and how you’re conceding scores. Why were frees given away? What was done right and wrong? You do the same for the forwards. Where did the scores come from? How and why? When didn’t we get more? Where can we improve? In fact, you can use the diary to cover whatever aspect of play you want to address but the important thing is that over a period of time a huge amount of key information is collated in an easy to read format,’ said McGrath.

Harte believes the diary, which is designed so that individuals can keep close track of their life on and off the field in an easy-to-complete format, is the latest development in the evolution of how players give themselves the best opportunity to maximise their talents.

‘We’re in an age where people need to take responsibility for what they do. We’re leaving the spoon feed philosophy behind. Players, at whatever level, have to assess their own performances, set their own targets, address their own nutrition, monitor their own rest, energy and motivation levels. By recording all those in one place, they will be more aware of where they stand. For too long, it was left to coaches and managers to provide the answers but when it becomes a collective issue, everybody gains,’ said Harte.

There has been a dramatic change in the approach by players and managers to lifestyle and preparation techniques over the past 15 years, so best practice is a phrase which regularly crops up in Harte’s comments and tutorials.

‘Take nutrition which has become very important to every player nowadays. As a small example of how things have changed, players come to training with their water bottles now because they rightly regard them as being as important as their boots. That didn’t happen overnight. Obviously, best practice is most likely to apply at inter-county level but it spreads down the line too because club players see what the county lads are at. I would see this diary as another step in the evolution of self-improvement an, in time, it will be part of the playing kit. It’s like this — if you reflect on what you’re doing in any walk of life you’re likely to get better at it and if you create a culture among players where self-evaluation is part of what they do, then it has to have positive benefits,’ said Harte.

McGrath, who is currently in charge of the Down U-21 team, acknowledges the extent to which things have changed.


‘I can say, hand on heart, that in the 1991-94 era when Down won two All-Irelands, nutrition wasn’t mentioned. Lads would be told to take plenty fluids before games but there was absolutely no policy on proper nutrition and hydration at other times. I’m sure it wasn’t in any other county either but then times were different.’

McGrath is currently undertaking a country-wide tour, outlining the benefits of the player diary which can be used by all players, irrespective of their standard. He has already been in contact with several county managers including Paul Caffrey (Dublin), Pat O’Shea (Kerry), John O’Mahony (Mayo), Ross Carr (Down) and Jody Gormley (Antrim) and intends to deal with others in the coming weeks.

Harte’s tutorials are very interesting, drawing as they do from his long experience as a top class coach at underage and senior level with both club and county.

‘They’re based on my reflections and experience and, hopefully, they will add to the overall package,’ he said.

The SportTracker initiative will be launched in Croke Park by GAA President, Nickey Brennan today Tuesday November 27.

Playing for your county is an honour, not a unionised job

The threatened strike action by the Gaelic Players Association is ridiculous, writes Jerome Reilly

Few would be-grudge inter-county hurlers and footballers €2,000 a year in grants but the threatened strike action by the Gaelic Players Association is both absurd and offensive.

And the wildcat insurrection by the stars of Cork over the issue of managers being able to choose their own selectors is no less repugnant — even if the reasons behind the latest revolt have some validity.

The players of the Rebel County have form for withdrawing labour and a reputation for militancy. But this tit-for-tat mullarkey with the county board, which has been going on for years, has become tedious. Think of the Cork players as the Brendan Ogles of Gaelic games.

It should be noted, of course, that the players who have been honoured with the forthcoming Vodafone All Star hurling trip to New York will not be giving up their freebie to the Big Apple in support of their beleaguered brethren manning the braziers on the picket line outside Hyde Park.

The decision of the Gaelic Players Association to withdraw from inter-county activity in the New Year because of delays in finalising how the already agreed payment of grants is administered merits examination on a number of fronts.

Not least is the notion that playing inter-county hurling and football is ‘a job’ which carries with it the right to strike for improved pay and conditions.

Setting aside for a moment the well-grounded argument that cash to the best players opens the Pandora’s box of professionalism, it’s worth remembering that playing Gaelic football and hurling at the highest level is still merely a pastime and hobby — despite the strenuous dem- ands on the most talented exponents.

What next? Anglers throwing their rods into the river because the late salmon run failed to yield a fish or golfers leaving their clubs in the boot because they did not win any Galway crystal on Captain’s Day?

Nobody forces Gaelic players to play for the county. They are not ’employees’ in any legal or literal sense. Attendance is voluntary.

There is no compunction to turn up at the gym to lift the weights on those cold, wet nights except the personal quest for glory and love of club and county and the games themselves.

Playing inter-county Gaelic games is by invitation only from the team manager and, by extension, the county boards. And it is up to every talented footballer and hurler to either accept the invitation or to decline it.

It is no different from a party guest who can play the fiddle being asked to do a turn at a house party. It’s an honour to be asked.

Should the musician demur from putting resin on the bow so they can still enjoy the party, there is always a musically challenged replacement ready to belt out Slievenamon in their stead.

Is it old-fashioned to expect that pulling on the county jersey is an honour?

Should the unthinkable happen and the best players say that they no longer want to play for the county unless they get €2,000 a year in government grants, then some action must be taken so that we do not have a situation where there are five players a side lining out in the O’Byrne Cup.

It will be absolutely incumbent on the county boards to offer the county jersey to less talented but no less committed players. And this incendiary talk that these ‘new’ players would somehow be a class of ‘scab’, as enunciated in some of the more incendiary elements within the GPA, is nonsense.

Of the 1,348 who took part in the ballot, 95 per cent voted to follow the recommendation of the GPA executive that the strike should take place if the payment of grants is not finalised by the end of the year.

The result was announced with all the grandiose posturing one would expect from Aer Lingus pilots taking industrial action over roster changes.

Yet the GPA should remember that if it was a real trade union taking its workforce onto the streets in an official dispute, it would have had to go through a tortuous industrial relations process before a legal strike could be called.

Where was the Labour Court? What happened to conciliation talks, the appointment of an independent arbitrator to bang heads together, the 11th-hour negotiations down in Haddington Road?

And is the Gaelic Players Association a truly representative grouping — when the vast majority of ordinary players are not paid-up members? What about the inter-county camogie players and women footballers?

The GAA is a great organisation and at its heart is an ethos of volunteerism from the retired pensioner who spends his Saturdays mowing the pitch to the schoolteacher driving his best young fellas to the minor trials halfway across the county.

The GPA wants to act like a proper trade union but its foundations are built on sand. And those players who are veering towards a quasi-professionalism but with the fringe benefits of amateurism should be careful what they wish for.

If they thought the pressure and the expectations from the sporting public and the media are too intense now, wait until they are in receipt of monies for playing the game. Then they will know that ‘professionalism’ comes at a very heavy price

Championnat de Bretagne de Football Gaelique

Gaelic football is played in Brittany France, by clubs with no Irish players.

‘With 4 teams in the Brittany Gaelic Football Championship, and 2 new emerging clubs, Gaelic Football is taking on a world of its own,’ according to Siasy Collins of

‘There is no English spoken. GAA Clubs de Bretaqne have websites entirely in French.

There are no first or second or third generation Irish involved.

These players simply have a passion for playing Gaelic Football.’

This week, the second round of the Championnat de Bretagne was played in Brest, with the hosts playing Rennes, Sens de Bretagne and Nantes, each fielding 11-a-side teams, in a round-robin League format.

In Brittany, new teams are building in Vannes and Monterfil.

‘Sens de Bretagne won the tournament. We (Brest) were second with a lot a new players, who only started Gaelic Football two months ago. Rennes are 3rd and Nantes were 4th.’ reported Gaetan Danet, secretary of Bro-Leon Brest Gaelic Football Club.

Results this week

Brest            1-0 – 7-4     Sens de Bretagne

Rennes         1-1 – 1-0    Nantes

Nantes         1-0 – 3-1     Brest

Brest            3-3 – 3-0     Rennes

Rennes         1-0 – 3-0     Sens de Bretagne

Sens             3-3 – 1-0     Nantes.

de Bretagne



Sarsfields Annual Race Night Friday November 30th.




Sarsfields Annual Race Night


Sarsfields annual dog night will be held this coming Friday 30th November. Tickets are now available priced at €10 or €25 for a family ticket. If anyone knows a company/business that might be interested in sponsoring a race, (€500), or a half page ad in the race card (€250), please forward the contact details to organising committee members, Marie Clancy (087-1323764) or Brian Dempsey (087-2848396). would all managers please ensure they have tickets for distribution Anyone interested, in doing some bar work in the club – MUST be 18 years or over – is asked to contact Marie Clancy (087-1323764) or Monica Scanlon (087-7934780). The rates for functions are €10 per hour. Previous experience is not necessary, as training will be provided.


Leinster Club Championships Results & Fixtures

Quarter final 2nd Replay : Moorefield 0-13. Dromad 0-7 Conleths Park. Semi Finals: St Vincents (Dublin) (3-11) Portlaoise 1-8 Moorefield v Tyrrelspass (Westmeath) Sunday Dec 2nd at 2pm in St Conleth’s Park.

Dec 9: Final:  Live on TG4 AIB Leinster Club Football Championship Final   Throw-

in: 2:00pm. Coverage 1.45




Michael O’ Muircheartaigh Classics



‘He grabs the sliotar, he’s on the 50……he’s on the

40……he’s on the 30……………………..he’s on the ground’ ‘In the first half they played with the wind. In the second half

they played with the ball’.


‘He kicks the ball lan san aer, could’ve been a goal, could’ve

been a point………….it went wide.’


‘Stephen Byrne with the puck out for Offaly….Stephen, one of

12……all but one are here to-day, the one that’s missing is Mary,

she’s at home minding the house…..and the ball is dropping i lar na bpairce….’


‘Pat Fox out to the forty and grabs the sliothar, I bought a dog

from his father last week. Fox turns and sprints for goal, the dog ran a great race last Tuesday in Limerick. Fox to the 21 fires a shot, it goes to the left and wide….. and the dog lost as well


‘Sean Og o Hailpin…. his father’s from Fermanagh, his mother’s

from Fiji, neither a hurling stronghold


‘Teddy McCarthy to Mick McCarthy, no relation, Mick McCarthy back

to Teddy McCarthy, still no relation ‘


Pat Fox has it on his hurl and is motoring well now … but here
comes Joe Rabbitte hot on his tail …… I’ve seen it all now, a Rabbitte chasing a Fox around Croke Park!’






America vs. Russia

The Americans and Russians, at the height of the arms race, realized that if they continued in the usual manner they were going to blow up the whole world.

One day they sat down and decided to settle the whole dispute with one dog fight. They’d have five years to breed the best fighting dog in the world and whichever side’s dog won would be entitled to dominate the world. The losing side would have to lay down its arms.

The Russians found the biggest, meanest Doberman and Rottweiler ——- in the world and bred them with the biggest meanest Siberian wolves. They selected only the biggest and strongest puppy from each litter.They used steroids and trainers and after five years came up with the biggest meanest dog the world had ever seen. Its cage needed steel bars that were three inches thick and nobody could get near it.

When the day came for the fight, the Americans showed up with a strange animal. It was a nine-foot long Dachshund. Everyone felt sorry for the Americans because they knew there was no way that this dog could possibly last ten seconds with the Russian dog.

When the cages were opened up, the Dachshund came out and wrapped itself around the outside of the ring. It had the Russian dog almost completely surrounded. When the Russian dog leaned over to bite the Dachshund’s neck, the Dachshund reached out and consumed the Russian dog in one bite. There was nothing left at all of the Russian dog.

The Russians came up to the Americans, shaking their heads in disbelief. `We don’t understand how this could have happened. We had our best people working for five years with the meanest Doberman and Rottweiler ——- in the world and the biggest, meanest Siberian wolves.’

‘That’s nothing,’ an American replied. ‘We had our best plastic surgeons working for five years to make an alligator look like a Dachshund.’

A Religious Hunter


A man was out hunting. He just happened to be hunting bears. As he trudged through the forest looking for the beasts, he came upon a large and steep hill.  Thinking that perhaps there would be bear on the other side of the hill, he climbed up the steep incline and, just as he was pulling himself up over the last outcropping of rocks, a huge bear met him nose to nose.

The bear roared fiercely. The man was so scared that he lost his balance and fell down the hill with the bear not far behind. As he tumbled down the hill, the man lost his gun. When he finally stopped at the bottom, he found that he had a broken leg.  Escape was impossible and so the man, who had never been particularly religious (in fact this just happened to be a Sunday morning), prayed, ‘God, if you will make this bear a Christian I will be happy with whatever lot you give me for the rest of my life.’

The bear was no more than three feet away from the man when it stopped dead in its tracks… looked up to the heavens quizzically… and then fell to its knees and prayed in a loud voice, ‘O Lord, bless this food of which I am about to partake.’

You know you are a GAA Shaper when …

You wear white boots

You are the only guy with tanned legs on the team in April

You put gel in your hair before the game

You have bleached hair or a ponytail

You have to get a hair cut before every match

You wear your collar up to your ears

You have at least one life threatening injury per game

You hang around outside the dressing room after a match (still togged out) looking for people to tell you how good you played

You warm up looking into the crowd

You wear the latest range in thigh supports, knee bandages, etc when in reality there’s shag all wrong with you.
You sulk every time you lose, you blame the pitch, the wind, the sun, the ball etc if you miss a chance (above all it was not your fault).

You complain that the backs never play good ball to you (you are always a forward becuase they score (backs get no glory), probably wing or corner (because you can pick up a handy score there and also wave to the crowd)) and if the selectors knew anything (which they don’t) they would make you captain.

You insist on making yourself available for 2 championship matches on the same day

You threaten to quit the team cause the manager won’t pick your brother

You wear your jersey over your togs and spend ages neatly fixing your socks before the game

You make your own speech in the dressing room after the captain and mentors have made their speeches

You leave in two soft goals…one dropped out of your hand….and you complain of a shoulder injury when trying to puck out the next couple of balls.

You walk to the dressing room at half time, while everyone else ran ,take off your helmet and start fixing up your hair before you reach the sideline.

You have something written on the bos of your hurley and showing in the team photograph before the game.

When once a game, you get shouldered straight in the face and are flattened, by a player who just ran forty yards to get ya.

You keep running for 20-30 yards after getting a score even though you are about 5 yards from your position.

Stick out the chest (PJ O Connell style) while walking over to hit a sideline/take a free. 

When you are looking to take all the frees back as far as your own halfback line

When you wear shorts different from the rest of the team

When you have to have the longest shorts on the field

When you wear county togs instead of club togs (even if you just swapped them or bought them)

When you save your best for those long lunging stretches in front of the crowd

When you have a different county or college match jersey every time you go training, with a number on the back.

When you insist on wearing such jerseys over a long-sleeved top during the cold months.

 GAA Quotes

‘We’re taking this match awful seriously. We’re training three times a week now, and some of the boys are off the beer since Tuesday’
– Offaly hurler quote in the week before a Leinster hurling final vs. Kilkenny

‘Ger Loughnane was fair, he treated us all the same during training-like dogs’
– anonymous Clare hurler

‘Any chance of an autograph? Its for the wife…she really hates you’
– Tipp fan to Ger Loughnane

‘I’m not giving away any secrets like that to Tipp. If I had my way, I wouldn’t even tell them the time of the throw-in’
– Ger Loughnane on his controversial selection policy.

‘You can’t win derbies with donkeys’
– Babs Keating before Tipp played Cork in 1990 (Cork went on to win the All Ireland…the shower of donkeys!!!)

‘Sheep in a heap’
– Babs Keating description of Offaly in 1998

‘Babs keating ‘resigned’ as coach because of illness and fatigue. The players were sick and tired of him’
– Offaly fan in 1998

‘And as for you. You’re not even good enough to play for this shower of useless no-hopers’
– Former Clare mentor to one of his subs after a heavy defeat

‘Babs Keating was arrested in Nenagh for shaking a cigarette machine, but the gardai let him off when he said he only wanted to borrow twenty players’
– Waterford fan after 2002 Munster final.

‘They have a forward line that couldn’t punch holes in a paper bag’
– Pat Spillane on the Cavan football team

‘Meath players like to get their retaliation in first’
– Cork fan 1988

‘Meath make football a colourful game-you get all black and blue’
– another Cork fan 1988

‘Colin Corkery is deceptive. He is slower than he looks’
– Kerry fan

‘Life isn’t all beer and football…some of us haven’t touched a football in months’
– Kerry player during league campaign 1980s


Antrim* Macedonia, always close to the bottom of the pile
Armagh* Italy , seemingly the best about, look good in their tight fitting Jersey, yet never seem to quite reach their true potential
Carlow* Liechenstein, closer to the bottom of the pile.
Cavan* Hungary- old masters
Cork* Germany – always seem to be there or there about
Clare* Austalia (better at other sports)
Derry* Czech Republic
Donegal* Denmark, good for a while in early 90’s, still handy
Down* Croatia, always threatening to do something
Dublin* England, over hyped media-darlings, underachievers
Fermanagh* Cameroon, going on a run against the odds
Galway* Argentina, have had some classy players and teams over the years
Kerry* Brazil- enough said
Kildare* Belgium- good, not that good though
Kilkenny* Canada- stick to the stick sports
Laois* Portugal- will the golden era ever amount to anything?
Leitrim* Iceland
Limerick* Latvia- a few good performances, but still not too good
Longford* Northern Ireland, just not that good
Louth* Malta- size matters.
Mayo* Spain- how have they not won more?
Meath* Nigeria- a tough team.
Monaghan* Scotland- could beat anyone, could lose to anyone
Offaly* Russia, can be dangerous.
Roscommon* Albania, deprived of resources
Sligo* Israel- can be tricky
Tipperary* Liberia, relied on one man for too long
Tyrone* France- great individuals
Waterford* Kazakhstan- whipping boys
Westmeath* Bolivia- not a bad team, but have lived in the shadows of great neighbours
Wexford* South Korea- are they better than we think?
Wicklow* Albania, rugged country will give anyone a run at home!

Sean O’ Leary’s Lunch break part 2

…Meanwhile back in 1977. Seanie, the young apprentice arrives for work dons his blue overalls and begins his morning chores; lighting the paraffin heater, washing the cups in freezing water and drying them with yesterday’s sun newspaper. The Mechanic looks at his watch and says to young Seanie. “She’s late today” “whose late”? says Seanie, thinking that there was no customer expected this morning. “Our daily guest”, says the Mechanic in gleeful anticipation “Have a quick look at the front door to see if the Sun has been delivered yet”. “Oh right, says Seanie.” As Seanie heads over to the letter box in the galvanised front door, an ear-piercing howl shatters the stillness of the morning, sounding like something out of the Hound of the Baskervilles. The Mechanic looks out through the grimy and only workshop window and spots the Alsatian security guard trying to get over the fence at some unsuspecting passer-by but howling with rage at each unsuccessful attempt.  “Seanie, you forgot to turn off the alarm” says the Mechanic, with a not altogether pleasant grin on his oil caked visage. Seanie is gripped by panic, as he is every morning when he has to tie up the beast for the day. Luckily for him the mousetrap had an overnight visitor. Seanie retrieves the beast’s breakfast from the trap and heads out to the forecourt to distract the creature while he ties it to one of the uprights in the chain link fence. This daily ritual is a bit like the matador and the bull with the beast circling around except that Seanie would rather face the bull than the distempered beast with the ferocious gleam in his rheumy eyes and the jaws open in a distorted parody of a grin on his drooling maniacal countenance. As Seanie edges towards the beast, it emits a low growl and prepares to spring. Seanie holds up the beast’s breakfast by the tail and flings it to his left momentarily distracting the beast from thoughts of devouring Seanie and immediately runs to his right grabbing the rope and securing it to the fence.  A relieved Seanie, his palpitations receding, not for the first time thanks his skills that he has honed from playing as a winger against and avoiding big bruisers of fullbacks.

As Seanie turns to go back to the workshop he hears a racket behind him. The beast is snarling and biting at the fence to try and get at a couple of gurriers on their way to school who are poking sticks through the fence at the beast. Seanie recognises the ringleader and instigator; it’s that little brat Derek Kennedy that always hanging around. “Hey give us a job mister and I’ll leave the bleedin dog alone”, he says to Seanie. “Go on to school now or I tell your father that your mitching”. “Me da won’t believing you ye bleedin redneck sheep shagging culchie,.” shouts Derek with a few Ba’s thrown as he departs rapidly down the street just in case the culchie decides to let the bleedin dog loose at him.      









Coaches Corner


Dealing with the big full-forward

“A lot of teams nowadays drop an extra defender back in front of the full back line. Any suggestions on dealing with this?” – a senior club manager.

Dealing with the big full-forward


 Liam Og Gormley, Sligo Coaching & Games Development Officer, has given some thought to this situation:

“ You must first look at your own team and identify what options you have to deal with this system. These are just some of the possibilities:

1. Do you have a good ball carrier, who is intelligent in possession and can score?

 If so, you can use this player as the spare man who will create an overlap. The team needs to be very penetrating in attack when using him – breaking the first tackle, releasing ball early and fast.

 2. Do you have good high-fielders in the full-forward line or, alternatively, speedy inside men?

When working with the former, then long, direct, early ball is the key, with half forwards supporting at pace.

If you have the second alternative, then you do not play an orthodox full forward; you allow all inside players the freedom of the inside line. Play quick ball into space for these players with, once again, the half forward line supporting at pace.

Finally, if you have a mixture of both, you step the full forward (good fielder) up on the extra defender as if to give defensive team advantage and have your other two pacy forwards prepped to work off breaks.

3. Coach your team to perfect the gaining of possession and moving the ball quickly and effectively.

The ball should be taken off the shoulder at an angle, thus changing direction of play constantly to open the opposing defence. Teams who take the ball into the tackle will struggle to break down the ‘extra defender’ system.

Also, teams who have players who slow the game down will find it extremely difficult when faced with this situation, as defenders will surround them in groups and frustrate them.”



Gettting the most out of your players

“I find my players don’t have a realistic view of their strengths and weaknesses. Some lack confidence, others believe they are better than they are and won’t work on aspects of their game. Any ideas?” Club Manager.

Gettting the most out of your players


Mick Toland, Eanach Fitness & Performance Enhancement Consultants (, replies:

“If a player doesn’t believe in himself, he won’t reach his potential. However, a player who has too much confidence can omit working on his weaknesses.

I use a process called Performance Profiling. I get every player on the team to write down what he feels are the key attributes he needs to play in his position.

Also I ask each player to consider physical, tactical, technical and psychological aspects of his game, in order to establish a comprehensive profile of each individual

So, for example, a full-back might say that the important attributes for his position are technical skills like high fielding, tackling, kicking, and hand-passing; physical attributes such as speed and strength; and psychological elements such as reading the game and remaining composed under pressure.

Then I get the player to mark himself out of ten in each for each of those attributes. He might never have been asked to do this before. It will force him to appraise himself as a player.

Then I get the coach to mark the same player out of ten for each of the attributes. You will generally find that the player will mark himself a little more generously than the coach. This doesn’t really matter, because if, say, the player says he is 6/10 for tackling, and the coach says he is just 5/10, the two of them can then agree that the target is 7/10 after a month.

Once the coach and the player agree on targets for each of these attributes, they can then set goals to help them achieve these targets; eg, to do ten minutes one-on-one tackling with a team mate before training for four weeks

Do the same for all the attributes. Agree a target (say, take two seconds off a 400m run), and agree on how the player will prepare to reach it. After a month, the coach and the player meet again and review. There should be progress, determined by the coach through analysing player performance in competitive situations, and through player-coach meetings.”


Manager overview of a game


Ray Boyne – technical analyst of the Dublin team – outlines the key information a manager should aim to capture from a match.

Use of statistics


Ray Boyne, technical analyst of the Dublin senior football team, replies:


“At club level, you’ve got to capture as much information as you can while the game is happening.

A lot depends on the type of game you want to play. But let’s presume that you don’t have great fielding power in the middle of the field, and you want to play a short-passing game up to the midfield zone, and then hit long ball into the full-forward line.

In that case you will need someone on the sideline with a page with the names of each player (1-20) down along the left hand-side.

You will then have a number of headings across the page, pertaining to each player.

These might include:

1.      Breaking Balls – a tick every time he wins a break from a kick-out, which can be very important for half-backs and half-forwards

2.      Clean Possessions – a tick every time a player gets clean possession

3.      Completed Pass – a tick every time he gets the ball cleanly to a colleague

4.      Turnovers – a tick every time he gives the ball away

5.      Scores For – a tick every time he scores

6.      Shots Missed – a tick every time he shoots and misses

7.      Scores against – a tick every time his man scores

8.      Recoveries – a tick every time he wins the ball back from the opposition

9.      Frees Won – a tick every time he wins a free

10.  Frees Conceded – a tick every time he fouls

11.  Long Kicks – number of completed kick passes from the midfield zone to the full-forward line.

The team’s statistician will also have a grid on this page where he can track the area the scores come from – inside the 14 yard-line, 14-30m, etc. This is crucial information for a team that might like to shoot from outside, for example.”

Next week, Ray will talk about how the team management might use this information. “It’s one thing getting the information tracked,” he says, “and another thing entirely how that information is used.”




Now Ray explains how the manager might use that information.

“You must use it wisely. Take breaking balls from kick-outs, for example. The stats will tell you how many balls each half-back and half-forward won.

If the figures are not good, you can emphasise at half-time that they need to win more to give the team a foothold. You might even bring on a better winner of breaking ball in around there.

The stats can prove your hunches wrong – for example, the left corner-forward may have had three shots on goal and he may have scored all three, whereas you think he missed a few.

The stats will show a a defender who has fouled too often, or leaked scores. You can tell him to tighten up, you can make a positional switch, or bring on a sub. You now have a factual base to inform key decisions.

For teams that put a lot of emphasis on work-rate, the figures like breaking balls, recoveries, and frees won are very important. Good results give a positive message to the team.

The stats will also tell you a lot about how your game-plan is working out. If you have a plan to short-pass the ball to midfield, and then kick long into the full-forward line, then it is crucial to measure how many balls were kicked in successfully.

If you find that one midfielder has kicked four balls into the full-forward line, and all four went to defenders, then you’ve a problem. Maybe it’s the midfielder kicking aimlessly, or the full-forwards not showing, but at least you might generate a useful discussion about the midfield and full-forward line linking up.

The stats can have an influence on future tactics. If they show you only won a small percentage of kick-outs cleanly, you might decide to instruct your midfielders to break the ball instead of going for the clean fetch. That could produce a much more profitable style of play for your team.

 It is particular to every team.”, who have a specific software programme for GAA stats. Contact for more details.

If  any Sarsfields players, Managers, coaches would like a question answered in Coaches Corner, email




The Sarsfields Lotto is held every Monday night in the Clubhouse. As well as buying tickets from members you can play via direct debit (forms available from the clubhouse or from your usual seller) or play online on the Sarsfields Website no matter where you or Google /Yahoo Sarsfields GAA or Sarsfields GAA Newbridge




Contributors Required


If anyone would like to contribute to this Newsletter please send info to Articles, news, anecdotes etc would be very welcome. If you know anyone who would like to be added to the e-mail mailing list for the Newsletter then please ask them to forward their e-mail addresses to the above.

Please note as part of Sarsfields online privacy policy your E-mail address will not be given to any third parties. Sarsfields online privacy policy can be read in full on the Sarsfields website at