Are GAA clubs asking too much of their players?
A list a strict rules one GAA club is allegedly imposing on its players has gone viral this weekend – with players banned from drinking or making holiday plans during the season.
It is understood the list of rules was leaked from an unnamed GAA WhatsApp group chat.
Off the Ball GAA Correspondent Tommy Rooney said there hasn’t been confirmation that the rules are true, but they “aren’t too alien” from what he knows happens in other clubs.
“It’s 11 rules [players] have to sign up to before the Board of Management will take them on for the 2024 season,” he told Lunchtime Live.
Under the rules, any player planning a trip to Australia, America and Canada for the summer is banned from the team.
Meanwhile, players are banned from going on holidays or drinking between June and October with the approval of management or the ‘leadership group.’
Other rules say players cannot drink any alcohol from June to October without approval. Players are also banned from having any other sporting commitments beyond June.
First rule of mad GAA manager rules, don’t put it on WhatsApp!! pic.twitter.com/PJRXTVkIdU
— Alan Doherty (@alandots) November 26, 2023
Tommy said the players “are not being treated like adults”.
“This is not the way to foster a winning culture or create a winning environment in any group, club or sport,” he said.
“You have to love the sport you're playing, you got to like the people you're playing with, and there has to be a bit of fun to go with the work.
“You're in it to win, in a lot of ways, but only one team is going to win so that the experience along the way has to be worth it too.”
Tommy said any GAA players with “common sense” will know their limits and what’s expected of them, but strict rules on players go too far.
He also noted that “the great” Kerry player Jack O’Shea often played a round of golf the day of a football match to get warmed up – and was part of seven All-Ireland wins.
“That’s why part of me is hoping this turns out to be a hoax or just not true,” he said.
“Like when I went to DCU between 2011 and 2014, I went because I love football and I wanted to play football, and at the time there was some murmurs of a drink ban.
“Definitely some counties had implemented a drink ban, but to me that kind of went out of fashion.”
'Some craic along the way'
As a member of a championship-winning GAA team, Tommy said you can’t win without “some craic along the way”.
“A massive part of sport is bonding or having a couple of pints,” he said.
“When you’re in a quarterfinal, you’re going to have a couple of pints that night, and back training Monday.
“I just don’t think drink bans are healthy or should ever be implemented.
“And there’s enough stress going on at the minute, you can’t stop people going on holiday.”
Listen back here:
Main image: GAA football under 20 inter county game Derry (in red) v Monaghan. ©George Sweeney / Alamy Stock Photo