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One Aspect Of GAA Culture Especially Shocked Aussies On Brendan Maher's Trip Down Under

One Aspect Of GAA Culture Especially Shocked Aussies On Brendan Maher's Trip Down Under
By PJ Browne
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For years Joe Brolly has railed against the creeping of GAA towards professionalism.

Brolly feels the fun has dissipated from our national games, players have become automatons.

Tipp captain Brendan Maher agrees.

Maher took part in the AIB documentary 'The Toughest Trade', the first part of which airs tonight on RTÉ Two at 9.55pm. The second part - featuring Aidan O'Shea's attempt at American football - will air on March 15th.


For his part in the documentary, Maher tried his hand at cricket. He took a trip Down Under to play for Big Bash League team Adelaide Strikers while Ashes-winning English cricketer Steve Harmison took the challenge of playing for Borris-Ileigh.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Maher related his belief that GAA could take lessons from cricket. A professional sport, players still enjoy a laugh at training, something the Borris-Ileigh clubman feels is nearly taboo at GAA training.

His temporary teammates were also amazed at the commitment of GAA players. The aspect which most astonished them was abstention from the consumption of alcohol.


I said, ‘there’s no way we’d do this in the GAA. If you even had a beer two or three months before a game you’d nearly be lambasted for it’.

They were like, ‘what?!’ They were saying, ‘would you really not take a drink after games?’ I said, ‘only after Championship games maybe or something like that’. I was telling them that’s the norm back home and they couldn’t believe the dedication that’s given and how much we train. I was going through my typical week and they were saying, ‘you train that much!

Maher feels that even if alcohol consumption was not banned by teams during the season, he likely would still not partake. All he wants is to be feel free to sit in the pub with friends - a soft drink in hand - without the fear of being judged.


It would kind of annoy you that you could be in a pub having a Lucozade and someone comes up and says, ‘what are you doing here?’ You’re kind of going, ‘well, I’m just here with my friends, can I not be here for an hour, like?!’

That’s the kind of stuff that would annoy you, you can’t even be seen out in a social setting with your friends, even though you’re just sitting there with a sparkling water. You’re told, ‘you shouldn’t be out’ or ‘you shouldn’t be here’. It could be half nine on a Friday night. You would get that quite a bit.

Picture credit: Sportsfile


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