Long gone are the days when the exhausted but victorious hero of the county team would lean against the dressing-room door and give a colourful account of what was said at half-time by his irate manager. Something along the lines of “He absolutely ate the sh*** out of us!” has been replaced with a far more sterile and family-friendly assessment.
In the modern era players are protected from the evils of the media and the outside world as they battle their way through provincial championships, back-door qualifiers and All-Ireland tussles. Media and alcohol bans go hand in hand with a county player’s summertime existence it would seem.
Not so in counties Clare and Tipperary however, as representatives from The Banner spoke freely to the media over the past few weeks and the Tipp lads were allowed to get a little ‘Tippsy’ after their impressive win over Galway.
I’ve long believed that the increased professionalism within the GAA has taken away some of the magic surrounding our beloved games.
It has also taken away the authenticity and replaced it with Premier League style analysis and media trained sound bites. All in all, the summer championships have become a little too clean-cut and bland. Where are the stories of dressing-room ‘disagreements’ or social nights involving ‘naked pool’? Now it seems that most county managers prefer their stars to be in bed by 10 pm after a protein shake. This has taken away part of the GAA’s identity in my opinion.
These guys are supposed to be local heroes who farm, teach or bank when they’re not representing their county.
They should be allowed to give their take on the inter-county experience and enjoy a couple of social pints during extended periods between games.
Tipperary and Clare may have been blow-ins to the latter stages of the All-Ireland Championship, but the fresh air has blown in with them and lifted an otherwise stale summer.