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'Basically Give Up Drink For The Entire Year' - Kieran Bergin Slams Modern-Day GAA

'Basically Give Up Drink For The Entire Year' - Kieran Bergin Slams Modern-Day GAA
By Maurice Brosnan
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GAA runs in Kieran Bergin's veins. His uncle Jack was a Tipperary selector when they won the All-Ireland title in 2001, his first cousin is former Galway footballer Joe Bergin. He himself won an All-Ireland in 2016, hurling for Tipperary. However, as he assesses the game's future, he worries for the youth entering the game now:

If I was back and I was 18 again, I would not have chosen hurling.

The level of commitment they are asking is basically give up drink for the entire year. No other sport is asking you to do that. If I was 18, you want to socialise, and someone says we have a game in eight or 10 weeks, we have to get off the beer.

Bergin's complaint is becoming increasingly more common. In an interview with the Irish Daily Star, he compares the drink bans of his career with the ones professional rugby players are subject too:

It's absolutely ridiculous. It's like, 'don't press the red button'. Rugby players, I know they are full time. They can afford to go to the sauna in the morning and sweat it (alcohol) out of them.

But I've often been out in Dublin and seen the rugby players out at four and five in the morning, and a Heineken Cup game the next week - drinking and smoking.


A growing number of former players are making this point in recent times. Joe Brolly has written extensively on how GAA stars are unpaid pro athletes who are suffering as humans.


Anyone within the GAA community is all too familiar with a drinking ban, but Bergin made a wider point about career paths players are following - "the days where you get an oul handy job as a sales rep or selling insurance are over" - as well as player's expenses.

The 31-year-old Killenaule clubman, as well as many others, are fundamentally asking the question, how much can you ask of an amateur athlete?

SEE ALSO: Mick O'Dwyer's Last-Ever Management Job Tells You All You Need To Know About The Man

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