Unsung heroes of the GAA World
A section to honour the people and institutions that make the GAA match experience a unique event.
No 1 : The Commentators
Yes, for inane ramblings and useless statistics look no further than the commentary box during any intercounty GAA match. If you like your GAA served up to you in smooth, refined tones or perhaps a slightly more excitable, higher pitch then tune into RTE on match day for the clash of the titans - Ger Canning V Marty Morrissey. On a more local level Tipperary man Eddie Moroney has been making a name for himself with his unique style. Rumours that he is engaged in talks with RTE to cover this years All-Ireland football final are unconfirmed at this point. However,if he does come on board expect a hike in your TV License fee - talent comes at a price.

No 2 : The Umpires
There are few jobs less demanding on the GAA circuit than that of the umpire. They say a referee needs eyes on the back of his head (especially if Meath and Dublin are playing), an umpire just needs the more conventional two 'just above the nose' variety. Despite the low requirements needed it never ceases to amaze the ordinary fan how wrong umpires can be at times. We've all seen square-balls, wides signalled as points, points signalled as wides, wides not signalled at all, blatant pick-ups and various off-the-ball incidents (some involving flick-knives and broken sherry bottles - Meath and Dublin again) which the men in the white coats as a rule seem to ignore. Much to the dismay of the hardcore GAA traditionalists, sponsorship has raised its ugly head again. The GAA are currently considering a proposal from Specsavers to sponsor the match officials. They have already put forward some subtle changes in design for the famous white coats.

No 3: The Pundits
The true professionals of Gaelic Games - the former and sometimes current players who write their ghosted columns analyzing and deeply probing all aspects of the GAA world. The pundit king in GAA circles at the moment has to be Pat Spillane. The former Kerry supremo can be found haunting the back pages of the Sunday World - along side the 'Bored Housewife' ads - and also on 'The Game on Monday' - RTE's cleverly titled Monday alternative to the Sunday Game. These GAA columns always seem to lack a certain 'bite' or 'substance' - in fact they're nearly always singing from the same hymn book. It generally goes along the lines of : "We really respect Offaly\Kilkenny\Clare\Tipp (delete as appropiate). Their record over the last couple of years speaks for itself. But we're reasonably confident and we've brought in a few of the U-21's who had such a good season last year." - sound familiar?? The rectify this, we can exclusively publish extracts from the Pat Spillane diary - an account of the inner workings of a GAA pundit.

No 4: The Fights
What weekend would be in the GAA calendar would be complete without some talk of a 'schamoozle'. While the GAA tries to play them down as isolated incidents and the meeja tries to hype them up, most GAA fans sit down and wonder what all the fuss was about. Still, it brings a smile to the face when one reminices of the times that things got 'a little out of hand'. Remember the recent classics - Wexford manager JJ Barrett giving the ref a bunch of fives in a league match this year, Clare V Waterford 1998, Meath V Mayo 1996, Dublin V Offaly Leinster U-21 final 1997, Galway V Tipperary 1989 etc, etc. Anyway, to honour such occasions, here is our shrine to 'Unfortunate Incidents'.

No 5: Boggus Gaaga - the lowly club official. This was posted on the GAA discussion board and is well worthy of a place in this Hall of Fame.

No 6: Up to Dublin for the Big Day Up on the Saturday, make the way out to the friends in Rathmines (engineers in UCD). Down to the Portobello for the beer, the crack, the beer, the women, the beer, the Sunday morning hangover, the beer, the "oh shite what did i do with me ticket" midday panic, the beer for 3 hours before the match, the "oh will i sell me ticket and stay on the beer" problem, the match, the "oh shite i wish i didn't drink so much beer so as i wouldn't have gone to the jacks and missed that goal", the post match beer, the sing-song, the beer, the take the piss out of the losers, the beer, the 11pm drunk decision to go to Coppers, the beer, the shite where are the taxis, the beer, the pick up a slapper nurse, the beer, the Monday morning hangover and then back to fecking work on Monday afternoon and have to face into another 90 hours over the next 7 days. Posted by Speed Bump on the GAA discussion board - with a few minor alterations

No 7: Boyo Redneckus - the arctypal GAA supporter. While not as prevelant nowadays, in these crazy times of Celtic Tigers, breakfast TV and foreign holidays, we feel it is only fitting that this giant of the GAA circuit be rightly recognised for his contribution to the wonderful association. So, Boyo Redneckus, This Is Your Life!. This was posted on the GAA discussion board by Irish Wildlife.

No 8: Gombeenus Ruralis - the local mover and shaker. Expects your Num. 1 on polling day. Met Charlie Haughey once in the mid 70's and doesn't believe all the shite thats been spouted about him. Get the full low down on Gombeenus Ruralis here. This was posted on the GAA discussion board by Irish Wildlife.

No 9: Attending League games on a Winter Sunday: You know the scene, standing freezing on a dark November Sunday,looking forward to the journey home in the car,with the heater on full blast,laughing heartily at Sligo beating Dublin,as the results start to filter through,and the highlight of the day,the big bowl of soup,at home in front of the fire,before anticipating an exciting evening of entertainment courtesy of Ballykissangel and Glenroe? Winter Sundays will never be the same. Yes, theres nothing like a howling gale blowing round your head, driving sleet into yer face, up to your ankles in mud and only five scores in the whole game and three of them from frees. The only comfort, and the reason you have a smirk on your rosy red face is because of the hip flask with the Jameson in it.
Unfortunatly, this will soon be a thing of the past, with the new changes to the football championship format etc - Yes, Winter Sundays will now spent buying Man Utd jerseys from the Liffey Valley shopping centre, then going home to a shoebox in Kildare and bemoaning the traffic in Dublin while reading VIP magazine and drinking a glass of chilled chardonnay and planning your winter holiday in the Alps. And they call this progress.

No 10:Pairc : the GAA fans Subbeteo. It was a GAA board game doing the rounds in the mid eighties. Basically you had a board divided into a grid that represented the pitch, each player had 15 cardboard and plastic men (the players I would suggest). There were mini goals, hoardings around the pitch etc. There were 2 dices the player in possesion would throw one dice and get to move so many squares depending on the outcome of his throw and then the other player would throw his dice and try and move one of his players close enought to challenge the figure in possesion. You had to walk the ball into the goal and you could either settle for your point or pick up a chance card and risk going for the goal.
I remember on "Anything Goes" Pat Delaney and a Galway hurler (John Connolly I'm almost sure) played a demonstration game. The Galway fella was winning by a goal and a point to nil when the credits rolled, I firmly believe that that was a defining moment in Galway hurling in the '80's, it gave them the belief that they could go up to Dublin and mix it with the big boys. Ignoring the fact that the match lasted only a couple minutes (so did the All-Ireland semi-final they allegedly won in 1980) it was an occasion that they didn't get a chance to crack in the last couple of minutes. Cyril Farrell took most of the credit for this victory, Phelim Murphy also happily accepted the plaudits. If Galway could manage another similar feat nowadays I believe they could return as a hurling power.