Sledging

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. Oh yeah?

Well, let me tell you that as a child growing up, as a young man and as a tax serf in later life, words often left me completely bereft. Ireland in recent years has been convulsed with scandal after scandal. Clerical abuse, unmarried mothers hidden away, their children taken from them as their male counterparts continued as pillars of society. One of the reasons being people didn’t shout ‘Stop’.

Tipperary have now said ‘Stop’ by calling out Tyrone U21s for their verbal antics in the recent All-Ireland final. In the broad light of day, in full view, bullies shy back.

All those historical abuses occurred not through ignorance, not through a lack of knowing right from wrong, if it’s done furtively it’s definitely wrong. No, those abuses occurred because of silence, secrecy and fear. Silence being the worst.

People knew of those abuses, be they colleagues of the abusers, be they acquaintances and family of the abusers. Yet they chose to remain silent and not to out the perpetrators. In time this morphed into the way Irish life worked. Then the seeds of free education 1967 kicked in and a few decades later people felt confident enough to articulate this sordid past.

Joe Brolly recently called out a bullying episode from his own youth where a priest (a Dean, to be precise) levelled him over a trivial matter. “Look child what you made me do,” said the Dean to the 13-year child Brolly as Joe spat out the blood.

I felt a huge relief from reading that piece. I too took a full fist in the mouth in Muiredach’s from a dean. Why? He caught me reading a Mass Missal during study. Give me Football Monthly and I’d eat it back then but my Mother gave me the mass book. I didn’t want it but was very interested in the beautiful coloured pictures. “You’re a bit of a go boy” my assailant said to me as he walked off wiping the blood off his knuckles.

Joe Brolly is a man that infuriates. A once confirmed Mayophile, Joe sang our praises until he got fed up of us shooting ourselves in the foot.  Joe Brolly is also a very courageous man. Donating a vital organ to a non-family member took guts, if you pardon the pun.

Calling out the issue of player unhappiness  after the recent Clare contretemps took courage but Joe did it. And yet Joe and The Sunday Game team contributed to the demonisation of Ciaran McDonald and Conor Mortimer referring to  them  as Swedish milkmaids, remarking on their boots, dyed hair and plaits. That selective sartorial denigration made Mort and Mac prey to open season sledging.

The reason for this article is simple. Tipperary made a key but vital decision in refusing entry to their dressing room by the Tyrone manager after the U21 final. The level of verbal abuse they’d encountered out on the field must have been horrific because the last thing any county or person wants to be seen as is being a cry baby or whinger.

We in Mayo have swallowed hard in that arena, from John Finn’s broken jaw back in 1985 to what occurred during the 2013 minor final. I myself suffered from verbal innuendo in my work place over a two-year period. It tore my soul to shreds. Eventually it was dealt with but never forgotten. Strangely, the place I got solace and escape from the abuse was on the pitch and in sport.

We play and watch sport to escape the humdrum and wear and tear of daily life. We essentially use it as escapism and to dream. Not for a second should it become a searing white-lined, boxed-in version of hell.

I was told of what one Mayo minor was subjected to in the 2013 minor final against Tyrone. I was shocked, I was sickened to the core. The boy himself must have been made of steel.

But it is the responsibility of the county mentors and officials to out the perpetrators of this verbal abuse. Sadly from the treatment meted to whistle blowers and the understandable fear of being seen as a shit-stirrer, people don’t want to get involved. The bully wins and grins.

This carry-on is endemic in Irish life. We put up with horrible people because we either fear them, fear their power or worse, fear the system because it’s unable to deal with them. Mr Callinan, the former Garda Commissioner, on being grilled by a Dail committee over whistle blowers, stated that the Irish people didn’t take kindly to “informers”.

His comment was risible bearing in mind that the entire police system here would collapse if there weren’t informers. The message I took from that was that we shouldn’t speak out because other people mightn’t like it. Rubbish.

Sport to me is the epitome of the Corinthian. Naïve, I know, but on a given day heroes are created for life, great deeds fashioned and life lessons imbued. The stench of the Deep Heat, sweaty jersey, the muck on the boots, that mad elation you have in the journey home, that dull thud that a good day will never come again after a hammering or robbery.

Those are the emotions that define us as a people. How dare any blackguard on the pitch sully and stain our dreams, our hopes, our players, our people, our county!

Stamping out sledging isn’t an issue to be long-fingered. The Sunday Game and its crew could call it out, even perhaps acknowledge the part that it might have played in singling out players like I described above.

Maybe a manager will tell his players that if the barb is personal, familial and close, then he expects the would-be victim to extract revenge. The manager can then tell Marty and the nation why Bloggs got sent off. Now that would see who had cojones of steel and who was a brazen coward hiding behind sly-mouthing on the safe confines of the green field. Imagine what your neighbours think of you when the airwaves broadcast it for us all to hear?

A lady in Glasgow who lost a friend in a fracas over sledging and  tired of the verbal abuse between Celtic and Rangers fans set up a foundation called Nil By Mouth. I couldn’t agree more with those very words.

Henry Kenny, once assailed on the field, looked up at his attacker and said: “Why did you do that to me?” Silence followed. Kenny added: “ I wouldn’t have done it to you”. His opponent, so shamed, never caught another ball for that match. Kenny showed up the aggressor.

A contributor to this site said that they would rather wait 64 more years than to stoop so low to win Sam if it entailed verbal abuse and sledging. I agree 100%.

47 thoughts on “Sledging

  1. John,I often disagree vehemently with what you write-but this Sir, is one excellent article.Well done Mr Cuffe.

  2. Wow great piece. I once as I think many of us in our younger days was subject to some schoolyard bullying until I learnt to fight back. Nearly a right of passage growing up…The physical stuff never bothered me because I was big it was not often an option for the bully but verbal abuse can get to you….of what am I hearing about the type of abuse certain teams are dishing out containing personal insults about sick or deceased family members then I can’t think of anything lower…sub human scumbag springs to mind.

  3. Powerful words, John, and I agree 100% with your last line.

    I doubt there’s one person reading this post who hasn’t at some point felt “lesser” because of the words or actions of others. I was never punched in the face in school (in my national school, they’d stopped hitting girls; boys were still fair game) but away from the teachers’ eyes the schoolyard was a place of misery for me for a good five or six years and there was no-one to shout stop.

    I’ve often said we should be far less “nice” on the pitch, but there’s a line between “nice” and “being a classless, ignorant ape” and I’d prefer to see us just the far side of the former, thank you very much. Class is permanent, after all.

  4. I d say if Henry Kenny said that to a Tyrone man he d have laughed in his face. The antics of Tyrone players v Tipp was shameful and it wasn’t just verbals. Canavan and Dooher 2 guys I rated highly as players should be ashamed of themselves and Tipp were dead right to refuse entry to tyrone manager into their dressing room. This was an orchestrated and deliberate attempt by them to win at any cost and that’s nothing new. Ask some of the 2013 Mayo minors about Tyrone behaviour, ask the Kerry players who suffered defeats to tyrone in 2 AIFs about their antics, ask Declan O Sullivan and his club mates who came up against a tyrone club in an intermediate or junior club game. Its not a coincidence. One of the crimes punishable by the black card is to punish sledging and verbal abuse but that black card is as useful as snow in the sahara. But I have no sympathy for brolly. he championed the shit tactics of ulster teams yet cried foul at Mayos alleged cynical play in 2013.. He went ape shit when Kavanagh hauled the monaghan man to the ground yet what Kavanagh did that day wasn’t half as deplorable as what his team mates regularly do. Now brolly wants to save the gaa planet yet this is the man who has spent his time as a pundit ridiculing skilful players and clean footballing counties and blew his trumpet in admiration when the anti footballers of his own province were successful.Brave man he may be but it will be a while before I rate him as a football pundit.

  5. Great read as usual John.

    To win just once and anyone else just laying the blame at Tyrone ,it was going on before Tyrone started to join in . Boylans boyos were animals in this regard.

  6. An excellent piece. It may have been going on before Tyrone but they have brought it to a different level. Even when u sit in the stands amongst their supporters its much of the same. I have been to many a match and I have never heard anything like the supporters of Tyrone and Armagh. I meant we might have a great rivalery with Galway and the Rossies but its usually good humoured and usually finishes with a shake of hands and best wishes for the next match. Thats why I look forward to a more competitive Connacht championship and the rise of our neighbours. We are closely linked and slagging them off on here does no good to anyone. However the supporters of Tyrone and Armagh are something different. Im not surprised their teams engage in their tactics if their supporters behave as they do. I think the point of someone getting sent off and then explaining why is a great point but what team/manager is brave enough to do it. As for Brolly. I was never a fan of his. It seems that he jumps on whatever is flavour of the week so his comments wouldnt bother me but he is entitled to them. By the way im not familiar with the incident the 2013 minor final but I understand if this is not the place for someone to inform me. Great piece and keep up the good work.

  7. Whether its true or not, I heard that the 96 row versus Meath was rooted in a derogatory comment aimed at a recently deceased family member of one of the Mayo players

  8. In fairness to Brolly he seems to have changed to a more positive outlook.
    As I recall there has been no black cards issued for verbal abuse of another player. Probably have been a few for referee. Hopefully it will be reffed tighter this summer. The current Tyrone seniors I watched a lot in the league and they played fair I have to say. No dirty hits and no verbals or laughing in face.

  9. Yes I heard that too about the cause of the Meath fight…that lovely ladeen “Star” Donaghy boasted in numerous columns & TV slots of his thrash talking;a big man who wasn’t so brave when David Brady was about!

  10. Just for balance (I could work for RTE, haha), I have been at many many Tyrone matches over the last 5 years sitting amongst Tyrone supporters and never heard sledging from the crowd. Must not be coming from the season ticket contingent.

  11. I can never understand this nonsense. When I played this sort of sh’te only annoyed me and I usually played better. I took it as a sign they were worried. The real issue as I see it is the pathetic efforts to ‘research’ opponents backgrounds and use it against them. The pleas from Harte, Canavan and Dooher that they have never ‘openly’ espoused this behaviour is laughable. This has been common practice for years now.

  12. I’m not getting into a discussion about whose supporters is worse only to say it’s pretty infantile to suggest anything other than every county has them our own included ,crikey we even had a bull on the pitch last year and didn’t donaghy have a bottle thrown at him in castlebar one year , like I said every county has a percentage and to be quite honest it’s not all that serious a situation either as it’s all very very mild as a whole.

  13. Sean Burke – Donaghy had a wooden spoon fired at him 😉 It was in fact St.Patrick’s spoon he used to beat that drum he used to carry around, some young lad grabbed it and let it fire, this after “star” had stuck his fingers up at the Mayo crowd. I still don’t condone it, supporters should never lay a hand on a player in my book no matter what.

    I remember just after the same game, a Kerry father and son running up to “star” to an autograph and a sulking “star” brushing them aside and walking down the dressing room after Kerry lost.

    It is very easy to be fine and dandy when everything is going your way but not so when things always go against you and that is why I have so much respect for this current Mayo team.

  14. It is usually the same players on each team who engage in unsporting behaviour. Referees should be on a watch for these players, it’s not hard to figure out the serial offenders. One I would like to see clamped down on as I am sick of looking at it. Players shouldering each other off the ball. Did one of our own shoulder a man to the ground instead of shaking hands before the Galway game last year?

  15. great piece John, a very enjoyable read, I know all about being bullied especially as a small frail ladeen growing up in the green fields of Erris attending the local national school but small frail ladeens grow up and gain confidence and take no crap from anyone but treat everyone the way they would like to be treated. I think its important that we always keep an eye out for people that are being bullied and go through a brick wall to help them where possible.

  16. It’s hard for a ref to deal with this kind of stuff because it happens out of earshot or view of the ref. The team and individual players must deal with it themselves. The best way by far is to totally ignore it. This of course is easier said than done. A wry smirk or smile really pisses off the sledger as he can’t figure out what exactly you’re thinking……..possibly a severe form of retribution when he least expects it! Talking of which the best retribution is on the scoreboard. Beat the bastard at football!

  17. Jesus Christ Whitey, are you suggesting Cormac McAnnallen’s death and Michaela Harte’s murder are due to the tactics employed by Mickey Harte or the nasty incidents his teams been involved in!?
    That is just beyond belief…

  18. I’m sorry Whitey, but I just can’t allow a comment like that. I do think that Mickey Harte bears a huge responsibility for the way that negative, cynical, win-at-all-costs tactics have come to the fore in the last decade but to ascribe a connection between that and the personal tragedies in his life is beyond the beyond.

  19. The current Tyrone team don’t do a lot of off the ball or verbals based on a lot of game time I seen in the league. They play defensive, but I didn’t see much wrong versus Mayo, Derry, Dublin and Kerry. Against Kerry they were not very defensive and played very good football. Kerry did most of the automatic fouling in that game around the middle of the pitch.

  20. Here’s part of the problem with Mayo. The refusal to accept reality. The notion that somehow, someday, all those other counties will stop doing mean things on the field to us honourable, sporting Mayo lads and lassies and will play fair, and then we’ll start winning all around us.

    Time to wake up lads.

    Jim McGuinness, in his first year with Donegal, who were then as shambolic as Mayo ever were, made sledging an integral part of the team’s attitude. He correctly thought that if you could put one free-taker off his game for five minutes with a few verbals that that could make the difference in a tight encounter. There was of course much more to his Donegal than that, but it was telling that Jim wasn’t going to wait around for the game to become more honourable.

    He knew, and we really should know at this stage, two decades after Meath ’96, that if you can’t beat them, you join them. It’s not nice, and it’s not the way sport should be, but it’s the way it is.

    Tyrone u-21s will smile to themselves at the recent publicity. That storm will pass, but Tyrone will forever be All-Ireland u-21 champions 2015. History doesn’t care how hurt your feelings are.

    On the football field you either bully or you are bullied. Fail to learn that lesson and it really will be 64 years before Mayo see Sam again.

  21. I don’t agree with bulllying at all but in GAA terms I would agree with DavyJ.

    And if something very insulting was continually being said to me during the game to interfere with my play and that same person came up at the end of the game to shae hands after them winning well then I would deck him after the match.

    And if he got knocked out or his jaw got broken in the process of me decking him well so be it.

    Not very sporting or honorable I know and it would look terrible on first sight like real sore losers. But if anything was made about it in the press well then it should then be brought to light the cause of it in the first place.

    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander etc.

  22. In football you have the option of hard tackles as a means of shutting up any mouthpiece. Or is that lost on players?
    Words are just words but a hard shoulder when they’re not expecting it is a great cure for any man with a bad tongue in his head.
    Btw, tipp were dead right to tell Tyrone to get lost, too bad they didn’t really expose Tyrone for what they are by saying publicly what was said on the pitch.

  23. At senior level, you do what you have to do, otherwise you lose. It’s all good and well being idealistic and Corinthian, but nice lads don’t win all Ireland’s.
    If a Mayoman in 96 had made the dirty comment to a Meathman but walked away with a Celtic Cross in his pocket, I’d pat him on the back. In 96 remember, we lost the fight as well as the match.

  24. I think there is a world of difference in being hard as nails and being a bully. Verbals are the work of bullies and have no place on a football pitch be it from players officials or supporters. Sure there will be off the ball niggles, rarely does it come to blows, but if anyone was to insult a players family or personal circumstances then all gloves should be off.
    Every member of the squad should target that particular bully and by target I mean go all out to get a piece of him. Have a squad player whose job it is to quieten the bully.No pulling or dragging of jerseys but blunt force. He can only be sent to the stands by the ref and all we loose is a sub and believe me after a couple of slaps the verbals will soon dry up.
    It should be then made public what was said and what caused the row.
    Mayo are a physical side and we should enforce this in games but to become a bully to win and cause God knows what damage to the targeted player well I’d prefer to win Sam properly rather than go down this route.
    If you don’t have pride in yourself no one else will.

  25. If personal abuse is so rampant on GAA fields how come so many former players are so palsy-walsy and mutually adoring? What is the players representative org doing about it?
    Another disgusting aspect of GAA matches is the physical exchanges between incoming subs and their direct opponents – that level of posturing and violence is unknown in other sports and like so many aspects of Irish life is a throwback to a bullying society. So GAA get your act together and catch-up with current expectations of society in general

  26. hello, think J. Cuffe is not comparing like with like and attaches some significance to 1967. I may be wrong but the personal attacks seem to be breaking the ground rules. Would joining the Common Market in 1972 not be more relevant for new leglisation etc?

    (Admittedly National School in North Mayo does seem to have brutal). Okay in Castlebar at that level.

    Unlike many on the site I am happy to see Noel Connelly as Joint Manager and he is now more vocal. Still I do think James Horan was a wonder and so glad that Noel and Pat kept faith with the squad. Could that team have represented manhood and football better?. The management already knew most of the panel and an Outsider would find it very hard to get the trust of the players.
    Once again we are back to the uncertainty of a Mayo/Galway game and everything will be grand on the day. That’s my tuppence. ciaran2.

  27. I’ve played a number of codes and the sh’te talk that prevails as ‘sledging’ never interested me, either as a purveyor or recipient. It’s usually a total sideshwo and can actually distract those dishing it out as much as those unfortunate enough to listen to it.

    A number of posts have suggested this is all part and parcel of the game but should we expect more of the game and more of ourselves? I have a young lad that will be lacing his boots in a few years and it would sicken me to see him mouthing sh’te at his opponent. Flake away – give and take – but play the game and leave it on the pitch.

    One thing is for certain – the ability of our inside line to distribute chilling one liners will NOT bring Sam west.

  28. Sorry lads and lassies. We are supposed to be men. When someone is being particularly nasty, smile at him, tell him how handsome he is, he has lovely eyes and you’d love to meet him for a drink afterwards. Every time he comes near you, remind him again. Another very effective one is to ask him was he born like that or did he fall on his face as a baby. Sorry again, i always fought fire with fire. Bullies are cowards and cannot take their own abuse.

  29. I have to say I agree fully with you Rock. It’s not for the want of sledging that is holding us back, that is for certain. Failing to ruthlessly close out games and lack of match cuteness is where our problems really lie, in addition of course to a lack of scoring power. I don’t think there is anything soft or nice about this Mayo team and the losses we have endured are due to these other factors which by now we are all tired agonising over in microscopic detail.
    There is a massive difference between personal abuse and the relatively harmless ‘trash talking’ that goes on (either verbally or non-verbally) to put off an opponent. I use the word ‘harmless’ cautiously here, but generally speaking, there is no comparison between the two extremes. While it’s not sporting and should not be coached, it happens in sport all the time and always will. Furthermore, a lot of this nonsense is visible to everyone including the crowd and TV cameras. That don’t make it right of course, but, as other posters have said, the point here is that it is the really venomous comments, the ones delivered far more discreetly, that cause the real harm. That is the cowardly bit. From the stories we have heard about the specifics of what can be said, it is abusive in the truest sense of the word and should not be tolerated.
    I think the bullying analogy is spot on John Cuffe, and well done on a great article as always.

  30. You are a very talented writer John, well done on this piece! I see that Sean Rice in the Mayo News gives you a shout out too in relation to your pick of the best Mayo team over the last 50 years.

    I suppose the common denominator of all of these teams who have used unsavory tactics is that they have all won All-Ireland titles: Meath, Tyrone, Donegal and Kerry. It could also be said that each borrowed some of these elements from each other. In saying that there should be no place in our game for the really nastier elements of sledging.

    I heard Brian Cody make some very interesting points recently. His comments were (To say that you would die on the field of play to win a match is a dangerous thing to say. What you want to say is that you’d kill on the field of play to come out with a win.) You get the feeling that the Mayo players have never got to that stage but we probably will have to at some stage if we want to win ultimate honours.

  31. I remember the study well referred to by the author of the blog and was most likely on the receiving end of few whacks while there. Took the hits and the barbs and chucked them among all the other insignificant occurrences in life.

    Kerry probably were on the receiving end of quite a bit of sledging during their AI encounters with Tyrone. What has happened to Kerry since? They took the hits and moved on and continue to do what they do best. No whining about sledging there.

    Maybe we should seek to have legislation introduced that will force everybody to be nice to Mayo, other teams’ players, referees, media, GAA presidents and whoever else that casts a glance in our direction.

    Other people are sometimes not very nice and sometimes downright nasty. The same occasionally can be said of life. Deal with it.

    Younger men than any Mayo minor or Tipperary U21 hurler fought World Wars.

  32. John,
    I think you are on the ball with that article – was talking to the father of one of the Tipperary lads and he said that his son was staggered by the amount of personal information the Tyrone boys had about the Tipp lads and their girlfriends, – – also seemed to have knowledge of an embarrassing incident involving one individual Tipp player and were continually throughout the match engaging in vitriolic verbals against their opponents. While you might expect senior players to be able to cope with this type of skullduggery – – I think it can be somewhat intimidating for young fellows around 19 or 20 years of age and I dont blame the Tipperary dug-out for not allowing the Tyrone manager in to make his congratulatory remarks which would ring a little hollow after adopting those scurrilous tactics.

  33. Samuel,

    if that is true, surely it has the appearance of being a concerted effort, and therefore if in fact this is the case, then shame on the people within Tyrone that felt it necessary to go out and dig up such info.

  34. – Your article deserves a wider audience John
    – Teams should expect some sledging sometimes deal with it.. That is what team psychologists are for. Its surprising that top teams like Tipp U21s allowed themselves to be shaken by it.
    – Any word from the GPA on the topic.
    – Tyrone have no more headbanger supporters than any other county including ourselves signs
    – I was at an under 8 match in Feb last and three players were hurt by ‘stray’ elbows…coming down on the back of players necks. Coincidence or coached and how do you prove it or stop it.
    – Players should tighten up their Facebook settings if they want to keep personal info out of opposing teams armour.

  35. I really don’t understand the big deal about sledging. Go out and play. And sledge if ya want ta sledge. Jesus Christ their grown men. If ya can’t handle it then don’t play. Its winnin Sam I’m interested in not nonsense about whether one grown man tells another that his Ma’s a ***** during a game. Who cares. Harmless

  36. Viktor Frankyl lived through the death camps of Nazi Germany and suffered degradation, humiliation and mental oppression on a scale that for us is unimaginable. He survived and indeed came out of it mentally stronger according to himself. His secret – he never allowed them to determine his mood or reaction or his mental state. They imprisoned his body but they couldn’t imprison his mind! He CHOSE to be angry, sad, positive or whatever he felt was in his own best interests.
    After his liberation he would tell his friends and colleagues – ” don’t tell me such and such a person made you angry or sad or humiliated – you chose those emotions yourself. You have the freedom to choose – the last of the great human freedoms – the freedom to choose.
    That is exactly the approach to bring onto the pitch to counter ‘sledging’. As a player YOU choose your reaction and not let it be determined by some ignoramus. That is the kind of mental strength it takes to be a winner.

  37. Great piece JC.
    With the technology we have at our hands these days it wouldn’t be difficult to use tiny microphones on players to record the venom of the bullies, we do have monitors on most players to measure performance nowadays so I can’t see it as a difficult option.
    One or two broadcasts of what went on, would put the sides involved in such low behaviour on the spot and should end it.
    As many above have pointed out we, however, would be better to distance ourselves from all this as it will be seen as whinging and we have had to put up with enough of that already.
    The other option as alluded to already, would be to put the offender on their arse and I actually like that one………………..as it usually works and raises the right questions.
    MaighEo Abu

  38. One of the great things about GAA [and probably sport in general] is said to be the friendships formed between both team mates and opponents, some of which lasted for lifetimes. If sledging is what has recently been reported friendships will be somewhat less common in future, I’m afraid.
    I decided to google the issue and, as I suspected, it seems as if it originated in cricket. [So much for the old saying “That’s not cricket”].
    Perhaps the best example I came across was between one Rod Marsh and Ian Botham [he who was sometimes mistaken for our own (original) Willie Joe]. Marsh: How’s your wife and my kids? Botham: The wife’s fine but the kids are all retarded. End of exchange.

    If players are made aware of the possibility before a game it should wash off like water off the duck’s back. If, like Botham, the subject of the sledging is quick witted enough the advantage would lie with the sledged. And I’m afraid that young players will have to become used to worse than sledging as they go through life.

    Of course the history of GAA is littered with stories of attempted intimidation of young players by old stagers. Was that sledging? One I liked was Joe Keohane of Kerry inquiring of a young opponent if his father was still alive. When the young fellow replied that he was Joe’s comment was “Well thank God for that. I’d hate to be sending a cripple home to a widow”.

  39. It’s a little disingenuous to start comparing sledging in sport to war or concentration camps. What we’re talking about here is some form of common bond or basic sportsmanship. Do we have to bring everything down to the lowest common denominator.

    I was on the receiving end of a few choice one liners during my time playing and was well able to deal with it. It was never something I went looking for, always felt it was pure nonsense but never dwelt on it for too long. The reality is that the tactics employed by the teams we’re referring to go well beyond ‘banter’. Some of the information being dredged up is cruel, callous and unnecessary. Put another way – if the same behaviour was evident at school, work etc you would be asked to leave.

  40. Rock
    I was not comparing sledging to concentration camps …… merely using the wisdom of one person who overcame appaling treatment to perhaps show a way of dealing with it effectively.
    Is that “disingenuous”?

  41. There is a huge difference between trash talk and serious verbal abuse. I am talking about abuse (from what I am hearing has gone on) referring to a dead parent, brother who killed himself, a handicapped sister….if the line of though is “it happens get on with it” well then you can fuck off.

    The GAA,GPA and county teams do alot of work and are promoting suicide awareness and good mental health. We are told to be mindful of people and none of us really know whats going on in someones head or life. If “some” GAA members are then downgrading themselves to this level of abuse it is hypocritical and double standards….it fact it’s no standard at all.

  42. I see that there was a mass brawl after the Minor match between Kildare and Laois. I wonder what sparked that. Probably it was directly as a result of something that went on in the match. But was it sledging ?

  43. If someone has real solid proof on this come forward.
    Otherwise it is hearsay!
    And to suddenly start pointing towards a decent skin such as Mick Harte (and Tyrone), thus implying no other counties are guilty, is
    Pure .bolixi!
    Innocent we all are til proven guilty.

  44. What I found the worst about the Tyrone v Tipp game was two challenges made by Tyrone players in the second half. The first one a Tipp player was on his knees and a Tyrone player came running from the side and kneed the Tipp player into the head. The second and most appalling was the Tyrone back trying to push the Tipp forwards head Into the post. I have seen many things on the pitch over the years and heard things as well, but if the authorities let this thuggery continue someone will be seriously hurt. There’s tough football but this is pure out and out thuggery and must be stamped out. The gaa need to review the rules of the game and stop this poisonous antics that is predominantly but not exclusive to the ulster teams.

  45. I find it hard to believe Canavan & Dooher, 2 of Tyrone’s most sporting and courageous players would co-ordinate such tactics, some thing(s) unacceptable may have been said but maybe it was just one or 2 players and extent gets exaggerated in social media without any details.
    The best response to foul play I can remember is Enda Gormley in 93 final getting dogs abuse (physical maybe not verbal) from Cork hard man Niall Cahalane. So he kicked 3 or 4 points on the trot and then wagged his finger at Cahalane. Stopped the abuse as trying to rile or intimidate the man obviously made him play better.

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