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10 Memories Of Primary School GAA That Will Last A Lifetime

10 Memories Of Primary School GAA That Will Last A Lifetime
Sinead Farrell
By Sinead Farrell
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National school days were defined by a few things. Daisy chain marathons in the summer, the Spraoi magazine at Christmas and learning how to play Dawning of The Day on the tin whistle – these were all fundamentals for the humble school goer. But all these things are eclipsed by memories of schoolboy GAA.

1. Oversized jerseys

‘There ya are now Patrick, go in there corner forward and let out a yelp when you want the ball.’

(inaudible muffled reply)

Before those confusing puberty days kicked in, the average schoolboy GAA player was of midget stature and they inevitably disappeared inside that monstrosity of a jersey. But we didn’t complain and there was never any problem spotting the smaller ones because they were normally the fastest.
Just aim for the hovering jersey and a pair of arms would magically appear through the sleeve in time to gather the ball and skin his marker.

2. This.Is.Major


There’s nothing funny about Cumann na mBunscol GAA. Forget about U12’s. Forget about trials for the U14 County developments squad. The only place where men and boys are distinguished is at school boy level.

‘This lot got ye in the league lads but they won’t get us this time. Ye’ll only get one crack at this lads.’

- Said every psychotic schoolboy manager ever.


We treated those league and championship finals like All-Irelands and all sense of self-worth depended on beating the rival school you kept meeting in the final.

Lessons were put on hold, class time was often cut short to facilitate some last minute tactical planning and there was no time for Crash Bandicoot.

3. Don’t hit the girls



Boys were warned not to harm the odd few from the fairer sex who could cut the mustard for schoolboy football. Ironically though, the girls loved getting the hits and would often mill a poor chap whenever she got the chance herself.

Managers with a bit of cuteness about them, would put these girls in key positions because they knew the lads marking them would have to stand off.
A master stroke that even Fergie couldn’t conjure up. Take a bow sir!

4. The small pitches

Well it was only 7 a-side Division 3 schoolboy and the average age was about 11. Fairly sure Amnesty International would be raising some ethical issues if they got wind that some amateur sports organisation in Ireland was letting children run loose on an adult size pitch in the summer heat.


The plus side of playing on a shorter pitch though was that the best player could angle a shot over the bar from just outside his own team’s goal mouth.
And it made him look a Lord.

5. The winning speech


I’d like to thank Mr (enter teacher’s name) for training during the year…. And hard luck to (losing team… none for Gretchen Weiners bye) ye were a very good team, ye put up a good fight and ye’ll be back again next year.


Three cheers for (La losers…. Psyche… Agh yer such losers out there crying there on the pitch).

Hip Hip (agh losers) hooray.

6. The parade



Sound of Mam and Dad to buy a new car with a sun roof so you can hold out the cup to your adoring public while cruising around the town at dangerous speeds. It was also important to make sure that you overloaded the car and let them sit on the window ledge with zero support to prevent them falling out.


And there was no coming in when you were on a main road or going round bends. If you can’t hack it, fetch your jacket.

The route is a standard lap of the town with Mammy laying on the horn every few seconds. You’d have to hand it to Mammy, she’s a right trooper for committing all those driving violations so you can have your fun.


7. The obligatory cone


Bottle of score cola – check.

Packet of meanies/taytos/chickatees or other low priced crisps – check.

Complimentary bag of sweets – optional (some shop owners provided them, but others were as tight as a leather belt)

And then, those thick swirls of creamy goodness drizzling down your hand, topping off a hard earned victory. The ’99 is the school child’s version of a match winning pint. If you didn’t get handed one of these after winning a schoolboy final, you can safely say that your adult peers failed you and they are indirectly responsible for your criminal record to date.

8. The celebration banquet at school

The day after winning the schoolboy final meant abandoning schoolwork, watching Disney films and pounding enough sweets and chocolate to send your mother silly when you returned home, too sick to eat your dinner in the evening.


It also presented an opportunity to let budding romances blossom. There was no smartphones in those days and creeping had to be done the old fashioned way. The film wouldn’t be long on when someone would feel a slight poke on the shoulder followed by the passing of a crumpled note into your palm.

‘Ciara… Kevin wants to know if you’ll sit beside him on the bus for the school tour’

Reply to Kevin:


Better luck next time Kevin.

Sheer bliss.

9. The video of the game

The quality of the video was through the floor. The camera man couldn’t follow the play and someone’s aul lad volunteered to do the commentary with predictably hilarious results.

But who cares, they managed to capture your peach of a point from the sideline, as well as your Robbie Keane celebration.

10. The team photo


There’s one in every household. They’re on the walls in sitting rooms, hallways and kitchens. There one of the few things that never fade, still beaming with all the faces of those who shared those happy days with you.

The framed schoolboy photos also come in handy for exposing regrettable hairstyles. There’s always one shnake who takes a screen grab of your bitching bowl cut to keep for the next Facebook post on your birthday.

Good times!



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