What type of player are
Physio's Friend | The Male Model | County Star (Club Hero) | County Star (The Invisible Man) | Hard Ground Specialist | The Schoolboy | The Student | The Legend | The Doctor | The Athlete | The Timber Merchant | The Keeper | The Drinker | Three Old Men | The Corner Back | The Coach | The Commmiitttteee | The Ladies Committee
The Cloth Cap Brigade | The Crazy Women | The Loyalists | The Club Mascot!!! | The Drinking Crew | Teenage Posers (female)
Cork Supporters | The Dub
The findings of
a detailed analysis of Club Players & Supporters has just been completed,
and some of the results are published in this week's column.
(Come to think of it, Courceys have quite a few of these in the club)
Physio's Friend: Four words can sum up the playing career of a typical physio's friend and they are: 'lame for every game'. Pulled hamstrings, severed ligaments, sore groins, you name it, and he has had it. Physiotherapists dream about getting one of these players on their client list. He is the ideal customer once a physio's friend has signed up, all financial worries can be forgotten. With a guaranteed two trips a week, for injuries, either real or imagined, the sick one will pay bills, mortgages and put children through university.
The Male Model: It's easy to spot the male model at training sessions. He's the player wearing the Cork jersey on Monday, Meath on Wednesday and Dublin on Friday. Not only will he have the jersey, he'll also have the accompanying shorts and socks. Male Models normally sport a healthy tan for about six months of the year. He is the one player in the changing room guaranteed to bring hair gel, shampoo and deodorant. After his liberal application of deodorant, he can be difficult to see, as he will be enveloped in a cloud of sweet smelling mist. The Male Model despises the fact that he must share his toiletries every week with some spongers. However, he realises it is a necessary evil if he is to leave the changing room looking and smelling his very best.
County Star (Club Hero): He is the heartbeat of the team. This man sends himself to sleep at night by counting O'Neill's footballs floating over a crossbar. Despite huge commitments to the county panel, he will be a regular attendee at club training sessions. The Club Hero is highly valued, primarily for his talent, but also for the example he provides other players. Club heroes watch what they eat, go easy on the drink and refrain from cigarettes. If they have one weakness, it's women. For some misguided reason they are under the illusion that women are not detrimental to your health.
County Star (The Invisible Man): This other type of county footballer enjoys a love/hate, though mostly hate, relationship with his club's supporters. They love him when he turns up for matches because he can be the difference between winning and losing a match. They hate him because they think he is a bigheaded poser, who seeks only personal glory through his county team, while abandoning the very club that taught him how to play the game.
Hard Ground Specialist: Just as there are racehorses that cannot cope with soft ground, so there are footballers that feel ill suited to early season training. Hard ground specialists consider the dedicated winter trainers to be mere point-to-pointers, whereas they are the genuine flat-race thoroughbred. With the recent good weather, they will have started to appear at training sessions throughout the country in their droves.
The Schoolboy: The schoolboy has only one thing in his head: football. Carrying absolutely no weight, the schoolboy runs just for the fun of it. Older players in the team are jealous of schoolboys as they represent their lost youth. Junior football is the traditional sacrificial ground where balding corner backs regularly obliterate frisky teenagers for no apparent reason. Schoolboys are best advised to stay clear of these ageing veterans if they wish to stay clear of serious injury.
The Student: The transformation from schoolboy to student is as pronounced as that of the caterpillar to butterfly. Where once he was a schoolboy whose only ambition was to get on the senior team; the student discovers the pleasures of wine, woman and song. Football is put way down the agenda. For the first six months of his fresher year the student will have a silly looking smile permanently attached to his face. A potbelly will start to develop in his midriff. He will give the excuse of either assignments or exams for his continued absence at training, yet there will be repeated sightings of him in The White Lady, Baccus, Wilburys, The Hole in the Wall, Riordains. The club hero will try to lecture the student about the error of his ways, but it is hopeless, he will be a lost soul for the next four years.
The Legend :Made one inter county wintery league substituted appearance back in 1978 and has been a regular full back on the club team, since then after having acquired golden experience and regularly deferred to as the Club expert on any scenario on the field. Wears supports on both knees, both wrists, both elbows, has no teeth left from horrendous off the ball incident involving priest at wing back on opposite team. Completely grey from shock of farming accident 15 years prior. Wears size 8 boot which are very small feet to carry considerable girth of a man his age and width consequently has dreadful difficulty staying on his feet but can always be relied upon to drag his man down inside the square. Unbeatable on a high pulling ball and under a dropping ball has been known to ruin many a hurling career, sex life and marriage prospects of many's the young hurler. Level head on the team and can always be called upon to make a passionate call on the annual first and only round of the championship what it means to wear the colours of the parish and fellas that are years younger than him retired long ago just because they don't understand the Pride at which point he breaks down. Wants to die on the hurling field only problem is he seems to ensure it happens to many's the hurler who comes or pulls across him. The Legend !
The Doctor: Regular supporter generally retired ended up holding the medical kit one day and ever since the lads have called him the Doctor. Well versed on psychology that applies in serious medical emergencies on the field in fact his most recent comment upon viewing the broken leg of one of the star hurlers was "Jesus his leg is fucked lads !". Has been known to light up cigarette for player while tending to his injuries and is especially well versed at herbal remedies for wounds liberally applying distilled potatoes from a barrel to a muscle wound with the caveat 'Don't waste it'. Generally complements his medical knowledge with detailed recollections of even the most mundane club encounters of the previous 20 years. Club allocates 50 pounds a year to his budget for medical seminars run by the county board amounting 850 pounds of club service and as many pints that have been bought in the seminar's stead. Generally is a pipe smoker and his smell of tobacco lingers long after him in the dressing room.
The Athlete: Generally hailing from the sports mecca of Ballinadee (The Home of Hurling) this all rounder seems to have reached zenith of sports career no matter what he turns his hand to . Took up hurling at 16 years old and made the minor county team two years later pissing off a lot of fellas who had been hurling since they were born stick in hand. He is the one lad everyone loves hopping off at training and generally sustains a lot of finger and hand injuries during training. Generally remains clean even during winter running and his kit bag is never O Neills , always Umbro , Man United or Canterbury. Never drinks with the lads in the Club and if he does it's a rock shandy. Generally a sad individual despite the fact his girlfriend is a model, lads have no time for him as he will never take on 7 brothers from The Home of Hurling) this all rounder seems to have reached zenith of sports career no matter what he turns his hand to . Took up hurling at 16 years old and made the minor county team two years later pissing off a lot of fellas who had been hurling since they were born stick in hand. He is the one lad everyone loves hopping off at training and generally sustains a lot of finger and hand injuries during training. Generally remains clean even during winter running and his kit bag is never O Neills , always Umbro , Man United or Canterbury. Never drinks with the lads in the Club and if he does it's a rock shandy. Generally a sad individual despite the fact his girlfriend is a model, lads have no time for him as he will never take on 7 brothers from Ballybrown for one of his own men. Bad Egg !!
The Timber Merchant: Wheeled out of the pub for the start of winter hurling where the sliotar drops dead in the Square and the last man standing tends to be the Timber Merchant. Every Club has one as before the start of any game when fellas are giving their spare hurleys to someone to carry for them, it takes one man alone to carry the sticks for the timber merchant. Loves the throw in ball and has been known to run full lenght of the field for a throw in which he wins but hurley flies into smithereens. Tends to be well known among all the local clubs and generally the standard against which aspiring hard men judge themselves. Walks with the cocky gait of a gladiator on the field, his girlfriend/wife tends to be 'a brewtal looking wan' who looks as if she was dragged through the Bandon River backwards and hit a few bunkers along the way. She generally tends to be the boss in the relationship , she is actually affectionately known as the Corner back (more details later). Timber Merchant generally retires early with major arthritis but his two sons are carrying on the family tradition having already been sent off and banned twice from 14 and u 16 championships. Dad is their hero.
The Keeper: Vies with the legend in terms of team appearances and sometimes longevity, emotionally attached to his many collections of hurleys and needs at least two young fellas to carry out his hurleys at the start of a game as he has so many. Has stick for every weather type and usually has a maggoty towel of great sentimental value that he uses to dry the hurleys. Was excused from regular physical training at the age of 22 because he was finding it so difficult consequently now weighs 17 and a half stone, can drink 22 pints in one sitting, is looking to retire this year even though he is just turning 26. Possesses ferocious vocabulary and can often be heard spewing vitriol during a game , and that is only at his own team. Doesn't believe he deserves criticism levelled at him during a game after letting in his fifth goal ( 4 of which scuttered under his hurley), blaming the full back line for being 45 yards off their men after collectively thundering out to pull on a ball and miss it . G'wan Chunga !!! Has an effortless stroke and wins the Puc Fada every year in the parish but never lifts his game at inter county puc fada as he can't stay off the drink. His brother known as 'The Drinker.' (see below)
The Drinker : Would without doubt be the best county minor ever produced by the club except for the fact as a prodigius under 14 talent was given a celebratory pint by The Doctor (see above) after winning the first round of the 14 championship and it was downhill from there. Progressed from putting sugar in his Guinness to skulling half pints of Bulmers in the showers before the game. Can be regularly seen puking in the changing room toilets at half time, flashes of brilliance produced once a year for a few minutes enough to warrant the three old men on the sidelines to mourn the loss of talent in a youth such as him. The club in the light of his behaviour reviews their drink policy and radically alters it so that only Under 15 hurlers and upwards are allowed pints on the day of a match, upper limit set at 8 pints, only allowed cider and vodka, no whiskey allowed to under 16's. Had to be dragged from the local at 4am the night before the county final, eyes red in photo, scored 1-6 from play , went on a two month bender after the win, wrote off three family cars , needs to be collected for every game . Great talent.
Three Old Men: Living vicariously through the current crop of youngsters. They attend with diligence every club game from street leagues to senior. Hurlers on the Ditch they recall with pride the battles they fought for the parish in their days and one of them knocks with glee on the metal plate in his skull inserted after a vicious game, though he played on for the full game , busted open as wide as the Hoors Gait ! Not known as great supporters of the more graceful style of hurler in the club, three man fan club of 'the legend' and 'the timber merchant'. Tweed caps badly need replacing, cigarette butt almost attached cutaneously to the lower lip, two carry bad hips from ferocious games of their youth, and one has a shortened leg as a result of a kick from a ******* when younger though rumour has it got was from his brother over a woman who left them both at the tender age of 28 for a midfielder in the next parish. Hasn't spoken to the brother since but managed to end career of other parish's midfielder with a flourish...'But, The ball was there ref ...'
The Corner Back: At first glance this name would elicit the notion of a player on the team, however this is in fact the affectionate pet name for the Lady of the team. Currently engaged for 9 years to the Timber Merchant her own history is as long and varied as the club's. A great supporter of the senior hurling team, a spin with the corner back was as necessary as a game of junior hurling for any u-16 youth wanting to be blooded for senior hurling. A very supportive young lady she has had flings with the entire full back line, half back line, midfield pairing of three years ago and 4 of the forwards, the other two having retired 7 years ago though rumour has it she was a great supporter of them too. Her name constantly appears in the changing room banter all the lads slagging each other about her and how they would never go there yet upon reviewing college hurling team newsletter her name appears as "Corner Back Mark 2 , corner back mark 4, corner back 7, " and so on. Eventually settled for the raw charm of The Timber Merchant , likes her men, -ahem!- hard and loves to boast about her fella cutting the head off the opposition. Has been known to stray after 17 pints of cider and gives a rousing rendition of 'Sean South' after every championship. A great girl altogether, also regular full back on the ladies camogie team, football team, long puck champion 23 years running assuming the title after her Mother retired.
The Coach: Bitter about his unsuccessful inter county career he embarks on a mission to bring his crew of 19 , desperate hurlers from U-15 ranks to senior inter county champions in three years. His loyalty to the Club is unquestionable, his red with white stripe O'Neills cotton tracksuit can be seen as the solitary figure cutting grass of a Saturday morning at 8am in advance of that afternoon's league game. His passion is unquenchable he finds it hard not to get frustrated at the lackadaisical attitude of some Under 13's. Guaranteed to fall out with Club executive committee over some of his training practices, expects complete infallability and loyalty, generally loses 3 - 5 players during the year through rows about their attendance. His car tends to be a Ford Capri or Ford Cortina, or indeed has a Honda 30. Guaranteed to have 122 - 150 hurleys of all sizes in the boot, complete with sliotars, bottles, deep heat, umbrellas, damp anoraks, odd football boots, steel toe capped boots, mars bars, hats, flags, caps, two helmets, nets, two bags of filthy smelley jerseys, , 1982 version of Limerick Leader July 2nd and The Examiner of August 1988. Great Club man, but bitter, bitter , bitter.
The Commmiitttteee: A plethora of 'Characters' with a collective hurling experience in terms of years of 383. Matches collective waist size in terms of inches. Meet every tuesday night and discuss deplorable standard of hurling in the club , blame soccer, rugby and The Spice Girls. Decide to remove cider from Club bar as too many lads have psychotic episodes with same, cagey about new committee member of 28 years of age, slow to change, ruthless in political manoevrings, utmost respect for the county board though the bastards didn't change our Junior B final even though we had three girls and three lads in the Scór finals. Struggle with the accounts and often reply that things have always been done that way. Strictly adhere to committee rules and procedures, everything must go 'through the Chair' and minutes are minutely recorded and scrutinised. Due to age of Committee large amount of Club budget goes on purchasing Mass cards for recently deceased member of opposing hurling teams of old, ar dheis Dé....
The Ladies Committee: Great for sandwiches and tea after the big games always bring finer touch to Club noting that ashtrays should never be left full in the bar. Often the flirting going on between committee members and ladies committee is horrendous especially as most of them are married to one another. Fairly liberal users of bad langauge; have been known to question the lineage of many's the referee in their day. Very suspicious of new ladies wanting to help out and generally politely refuse offers of help throughout the year. Mother of keeper, full back , and timber merchant on the committee.
Due to space constraints these are all the players that can be described today. Other players, which could not be included, were: Team Talker, Psycho, Mr Excuses, and the Nearly Man. Others would include the one more year man.... brought on with ten minutes to go to rapturous roars from the crowd, never won a medal, jersey clinging to the belly, socks up around the bandaged knee. Subject to rushes of blood to the head, which guarantee a ball to be ballooned into the stands after a headless thirty yard, run driven on by the crowd. The Horse ... who has no football whatsoever, but is there on pure brute strength alone, and would spend a full training session lining up for a crack at either the Model, the Schoolboy, the Student or the County Star.
And Now the Supporters Turn
JUST as Gaelic footballers can be classified as either defenders, forwards or goalkeepers, so fans can be categorised into certain broad stereotypes. After years of painstaking research the results of a 20-year study are revealed today in a world exclusive. The study has shown that supporters can be categorised into one of six large groups:
The Cloth Cap Brigade: These
are a band of men who enjoyed their heyday at the turn of the century. They are
avid supporters. The Cloth Cap Brigade are easily identified because they make a
very distinctive call which sounds something like "giveherlang
giveherlangferchrissakes". This means kick the ball as hard and as far down
the pitch as you can. The Cloth Caps have nothing against the O'Dwyer revolution
and the modern game. They just don't think it will work for their team. All
Cloth Caps are waiting for their messiah. The 'chosen one' will be a seven foot
tall full-forward with hands like shovels (Sounds
Like someone we know).
Standing at the edge of the square the messiah will catch all those 'lang' balls
and score enough goals and points to win that elusive county championship.
The Crazy Women: The existence of the gangs of crazy women who attend gaelic football matches has not been very well documented. Needless to say, they exist, and they are extremely dangerous. Decades ago, the crazy women armed themselves with umbrellas which they used as weapons to assault players. Now that most pitches have perimeter fencing, the crazies have decommissioned their brollies but they have become equally lethal with the tongue. Referees are the favourites targets. Some of these women suffer from DMS (Doting Mother Syndrome) which is a strain of DFS. Women with DMS will attack referees who give decisions against their sons. More frightening still, is the common occurrence when a gang of crazy women defend each others' sons. The result: verbal carnage.
The Loyalists: These men are the sixties generation, but you wouldn't think it to look at them. When other nations were entering the age of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll this squad were running around dance halls in Ballineen, Bandon, Kinsale, Skibbereen and Clonikilty. The loyalists form the backbone of the GAA. By and large they are peace loving creatures, however they have been known to turn violent during the championship season. Loyalists come to all matches, rain, hail or snow. Some come to chat to friends, others to torture the opposition, while the majority have long since forgotten why they go to matches - it's just something they do on a Sunday.
The Club Mascot!!!: For mascot read lunatic, and there is one (we are over quota) in every club. Indeed their reputation often goes before them. The mascot is a loner, though not by choice. No one knows if mascots actually enjoy gaelic football as they never applaud or praise their team. Rather for 60 minutes, the mascot, foaming and frothing at the mouth, curses the opposition, the referee, his own team etc. Most Mascots cannot drive, yet there is a goodly soul in every club who persists in bringing this person to away matches.
The Drinking Crew: The drinking crew are sons of the Loyalists and some have grandfathers who are Cloth Caps. The drinking crew tend to be in their twenties or thirties and they are very single. Often they don't turn up until half-time. Sunday is not a good day for the crew. Attendance at the match serves two vital functions. The first of these is to establish what happened on the previous night. The second is to watch the match. There is a further reason why the crew turn up late. Some of their comrades from the previous night (who also downed a copious number of pints) are out on the pitch, so the crew know well in advance that there is little chance of victory.
Teenage Posers (female): This group only appear at championship matches with big crowds. Again they are easy to recognise. Posers can be seen walking around the pitch, on the loose gravel, in high heels, looking out at the crowd and largely ignoring the ongoing match. This practice is known within the sisterhood as 'circuits'. Posers tend to drift away from gaelic football, unless they hook up with a member of the Drinking Crew.
Footnote: If you have read this article and failed to identify yourself, read it again this time more honestly.
Southern Men on the march
A word of warning to those disgusted by alleged Cork triumphalism: leave town. The men from the Deep South are on the way.
In terms of ramblin', rovin', courtin', sportin' and suckin' black porter, the hurling fans are merely coy debutantes in comparison with the Cork football fan.
The Cork hurling fans are mainly drawn from the city. They have managed to acquire a thin veneer of civilisation. The football fans are true Corkmen, drawn from the wider county and the Beara Peninsula in particular. We will be here next week and, let me tell you, we are determined to wrest the crown of most-hated county back from those halfbreeds from Meath.
The question here is: why do Cork people get under your skin?
Let's take a look at the place itself. The city of Cork is a double-sided, mixumgatherum sweep of humanity on the south coast. To look at it, you would think it was like any other town of comparable beauty and aspect. Monte Carlo, Florence or maybe Ancient Troy.
Such architectural riches should not on their own account for the massive begrudgery shown to Cork.
Nor should the beauty and character of its women though this is, it must be said, considerable.
So what is it?
The word arrogance surfaces again and again. Last week on the radio a Corkman went through the impressive list of recent plunderings.
The All-Ireland, obviously, the All Ireland rugby league, the Rose of
Tralee, the Tidy Towns, the UEFA Champions League.
And you think this is arrogance? Nonsense! For heaven's sake he didn't even mention Montenotte's Patricia Carey, who last week clinched the All Ireland Garden Award!
The anti-Cork feeling would seem to be - like many of history's most heinous diversions - rooted in nothing but misinformation and the false pleasure of fuzzy malice.
"I hope ye're crowd don't win the double or ye'll be unbearable".
I have heard that sentence - or similar sentiments - dozens of times since the proud Rebel Gael lowered the colours of the Pale's representatives last Sunday in the hurling final.
Over the past 10 years quaint little counties such as Clare and Donegal have won All-Ireland titles. They are treated with indulgence. Rural halfwits entitled to a day out in the Smoke.
When Cork win something we are expected to go back on the next train.
The problem for Dubs is that Cork people don't treat them with the respect they think they deserve.
Some poor slob from Carlow will come to Dublin and act like it's a strange place. He will be unsure of himself, know that he's an outsider.
Someone from Cork will come and treat Dublin as the capital of his country. It belongs to the nation.
That, to many Dubs, is a touch too familiar.
The problem is not that Cork people are arrogant - their problems are far more complex than that, boy - it's just that Dubs have a leadership complex. They think because they have a Dart and a pipe to the Kinsale gas field they are born leaders.
What amuses me most is the little Dub who considers that he has a greater historical claim on the capital than the Corkman.
His forebears probably ran errands for the British army and tugged their scrawny little moustaches deferentially at their superiors, yet he thinks he owns the place.
Let me not suggest that Corkmen are all made of good stuff. As the venerable Tom Barry, IRA general and master tactician, once said of the inhabitants of Skibbereen, "its inhabitants were a race apart from the sturdy people of west Cork. They were different, and with a few exceptions were spineless . .
"If Satan himself appeared in the Skibbereeen of 1920-21, the great majority would doff their hats to him, and if he wagged his tail once in anger he was sure to be elected high in the poll to the Skibbereeen District Council".
But does the fact that Satan is a Skibbereen man not prove that God is indeed a rebel?
A couple of anecdotes on that most extraordinary speciman : THE DUB
Ah Dublin! Capital of Ireland. Europe's smallest capital and also its
smelliest. Step off a train at Heuston or Connolly station and breathe in that un-mistakeable aroma of piss and puke. But it's the people of Dublin who make our capital city what it is. We call them 'Jackeens' because of a visit to Dublin by Queen Victoria which saw the
locals line O'Connell Street while waving union jacks at their visitor. Ask anyone with even half a brain how many counties there are in Ireland and they will tell you 32. But not our friends in Dublin. For some bizarre reason they firmly believe there are only two:
2)"dowen da coontry".
Next time you're in Dublin, check out the excellent selection of Radio
Stations, both of which play the same five songs all day. Whether it's 98fm or 104fm, tune in at any time of the day to hear Robbie Williams and The Lighthouse Family. You'll never get tired of it !!!
Anyway, here are the ten most asked questions about Dubs.
1)Why do Dublin people piss in the streets instead of a toilet?
2)Why do they refer to all other Irish people as Sheep Shaggers when we all know damn well what they're doing with those horses. A man from Ballyfermot (probably called Anto) recently got divorced from his cousin so he could marry his horse.
3)Why is their knowledge of Irish geography restricted to "da nart soide and da sout soide"?
4)Why does their knowledge of Irish history go all the way back to the 1980's?
5)Why do they complain about "doze bleedin' niggers coming over here taking ere women and ere jobs" when Paul McGrath is
"yer only man" and "God Bless Phillo"?
6)What the fuck language are they speaking?
7)Why is hurling a culchie game until Dublin win a match when it suddenly becomes"Hooorlin',da fastest field sport in da bleedin' wooorld".?
8)Why can't they go for a drink without trying to stab each other
9)Why can't they accept Aslan are never going to make it 'cause they're Shite?
10)Why are they all still wearing track-suits?