The issue of GAA player welfare has been back in the headlines this week after Kieran Bergin and Joe Sheridan both gave interviews about the increasing demand placed on modern-day inter-county players.
The latest former player to turn his attention towards this topic is former Donegal footballer Eamon McGee. Writing in his Irish Daily Star column, McGee focuses on the 'Schoolkids v teacher' aspect of player-manager relations. He cites one particularly golden anecdote from during his time under Jim McGuinness, when after a big win McGuinness would play close attention to the conduct of certain players:
We'd have a "few" beers, and that would mean pit-stops along the way. Some of the older brigade, myself included, liked to have a smoke with their beer, and this was frowned upon by Jim McGuinness. So, every time we'd stop off for a piss, we'd be sneaking off for a quick puff on a fag. We were like schoolkids keeping an eye out for the teacher.
One day, he was particularly cranky and started roaring: "Come on to fuck, boys, let's go!" We stubbed out the fags and shuffled on to the bus. Jim got the smell straight away. "Who the fuck was smoking, boys?" He looked at me hard as I tried to get past him. It wasn't me anyway," I blurted, with smoke coming out of my mouth, nostrils and maybe even my ears.
One can only imagine how McGuinness, who paid particular attention to the health and fitness aspects of an athlete's life, viewed that particular habit.
McGee goes on to find an interesting middle point to the current narrative, and argues there are certain limitations a player must be willing to endure for the love of the game.
You can his column in full in the Star paper today.