Interviews with the modern GAA player are so sanitised that they are barely worth reading anymore. You might get the odd morsel of intrigue here and there but for the most part, players seem worried about getting Kevin Cassidyed.
In The Irish Times today, there's an outlier. Malachy Clerkin has a superb interview with the hero of Clare's 2013 All-Ireland Final replay win over Cork, Shane O'Donnell.
Replacing Darach Honan not long before the throw-in, he scored three goals, turning into a name and face people all over the country recognised.
Scenes like the one above became common for the forward. And scenes like this also meant he had to become more efficient with his signature, forgoing his full name and instead adopting 'SOD' for autograph hunters.
I was Sod for a good while. The night of the Goal game on the Wednesday, I had a flashback to when I was in primary school. My best friend was a lad called Cian Cooke. We had to write out our names 50 times one time and I remembered thinking, ‘Jeez, I hate that my name is so long.’ Cian was beside me and he was done about 10 minutes before me with my big stupid long name.
And for whatever reason, that popped into my head that night. You have these huge crowds coming for you and I just went, ‘Nah, I’m not writing Shane O’Donnell anymore. I’m Sod from now on.’ I did that for about three months. If someone came up to me on their own, I’d feel bad and write out Shane O’Donnell.
You can read the full interview here.
Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE