Sledging. It's a topic that has reared its ugly head time and time again over the course of the GAA Championship season. It's a feature of sport at the top level. From Shane Warne and pretty much the entire England team at the Ashes, to Ruud van Nistelrooy versus Arsenal, 'getting in' the opponent's 'face' is a common method of trying to gain that edge that can be so vital at the upper echelons of sport.
And who can forget Kieran Donaghy screaming into the face of Armagh goalkeeper Paul Hearty after he slammed the ball past the big Crossmaglen man in the 2006 All-Ireland football quarter-final at Croke Park?
Former Dublin footballer, multiple Allstar and All-Ireland winner Alan Brogan has spoken about his own (quite extensive) experience of sledging. Brogan says that "a particular team from Ulster" were common culprits of the practice, and hypothesized that managers may be instructing individuals in their teams to incite reaction from star players in opposing sides.
Brogan pointed to the (quite successful) policy of teams targeting Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly, who was sent off in their quarter-final win over Donegal, as an example of this; he also referenced Lee Keegan's 'tight' marking of Sean Cavanagh, who also got sent off the same day as Connolly.
And Brogan described one occasion when his own on-field treatment resulted in his own mother getting involved.
I was talking about this very subject (sledging) with my Mam the other day and she reminded me about a League game I was playing for the club a few years ago.
I was getting a fair old time of it off the ball and she asked the referee at half-time what the story was. Why was this going on and what he might do about it.
'Sure, he's a county player,' the ref replied.
'He can handle it.'
Sledging is something we have come to accept as part of the game. But when Irish mammies are getting involved, maybe it is time we took attempts to stamp it out more seriously.
Targeted players should not take action into their own hands.But more protection is required..and comments like "stop whinging" don't help.
— Alan Brogan (@alanbrogan13) August 8, 2016
You can read Brogan's views on what needs to be done to combat sledging in his column in 'The Herald'.
We had Alan's father Bernard on The Hard Shoulder podcast this week who also had a couple of stories about his behaviour of the sidelines when watching his sons.