Girls in the GAA club face several challenges throughout their careers but despite the lack of recognition, they love it all the same. And there are some parts of the journey that every GAA gal can relate to:
1. ‘Are ye decent?’
Despite the notable rise in female coaches, male managers remain dominant at club and county level. The dressing room is likely to get steamy in the build up to a big game, what with players dispensing enough Deep Heat to obliterate the ozone layer. So to prevent pre-match tensions from descending into exposures, the manager usually roars ‘are ye decent?’ before storming in with notebook in hand, issuing advice on how to get in the few shneaky shlaps.
Sometimes however, they don’t always get the timing right.
You’ve just departed the dressing room. Your luminous coloured hairband is strategically placed and your ponytail is most definitely on point. But then 10 minutes pass in the first half and you suddenly you’re the cut of a yeti. That pony tail which began near the crown of your head is now sloping down, ruining your look and slapping you in the face at every turn.
3. BLOCK! BLOCK!
Nothing will demoralise the opposition with greater effect, than the roar of a clatter of demented women surrounding a fragile championship debutant as they try to steer their shot over the bar. The ones who manage to launch their voice from the bowels of their very being while frothing at the lips, tend to be masters as this.
4. Post-match bitching
‘What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch?’
Well it’s a noble sentiment but not one that is often observed. The car journey home from a Ladies GAA will often feature some almighty bitch fests about fellow players on the team or opponents. A miss-directed pass here, an ill-timed pass there or a dirty clout off the ball are all red flag scenarios that lead to these conflicts.
And they’re not forgotten about.
5. Session after the session – Mission Impossible
Because most championship games are played in the evening time, Ladies GAA players are forced into a narrow window of time to get themselves ready for the night out after.
The time it takes to shower, tan, dress and impress can take most women close to final orders time in the pub.
Ensuring that you get there before closing time therefore, becomes a military operation and has claimed many the fallen soldier who decides they’re too tired after the match and opt out of the session altogether.
6. Spotted: New couple on the scene
Ever attended a game and saw a boy in the crowd with no connection with either of the participating teams? Well you can comfortably assume that there’s courtship a transpirin’ then. Going to see a lady friend play GAA is a firm indication that they’re committed. If you see him standing with her parents, it means the couple are close to taking a ride on the matrimony pony. If the outsider stops appearing at the games, it means they’re dusht.
7. Dodging the ex
Ye were only together a while and the set-up was mainly confined to drunken shifts and snapchat bants but now you’re facing into the abyss of facing the ex. Despite the wide expanse of a GAA pitch, you only realise how narrow the area really is when you’re trying to evade the ex.
You will walk past them at least once during a game and it may or may not involve an awkward nod of the head.
8. J1 Dilemmas
The girls are going to San Francisco, it’s going to be lethal craic and the club has no chance of winning county this year. Decision made, you’re going on the J1. But that doesn’t stop the manager unleashing an unholy lecture when you break the news that you’ll be gone for a few months and might be back in time for the last game. Sure look it YOLO!
9. ‘I’m not going back next year.’
Another season, another disappointment. There were grand expectations at the outset but the team’s medal cabinet will go unoccupied for another year. A pitiful amount of game time coupled with some persistent injuries force many GAA players to utter the immortal words that they won’t be playing next year and that they’re done with that sh*t.
These plans continue to simmer away in the weeks after but then February rolls around and there’s a League title there to be won. Good thing you stashed the boots away in the hot-press.