GAA

'It Can Be Very Frustrating... That's Probably Why We Went So Mental'

'It Can Be Very Frustrating... That's Probably Why We Went So Mental'

Monaghan's Kieran Hughes summed it up well when describing the Ulster side's defeat to Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final last weekend.

A 0-5 - 0-3 lead stretched to a 0-11 - 0-3 and that's the way these guys can do it. It can be over that quick, five minutes and the game can be game, set, match.

Malachy O'Rourke's side crashed out with a whimper rather than a roar and for another year Monaghan's year was over.

On Newstalk's Off The Ball, Hughes discussed the aftermath of Championship defeats and the tendency of teams, so tightly strung during the summer, to binge after their campaigns have finished.

It only really settled into me on Thursday what happened. After you lose a Championship game, the only thing to go and do is take a binge. That's what the lot of us did and shows how much we were after under-performing.

We met up on the Wednesday night and we tried to get each other talked around that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Yesterday morning was the first time I was able to spark a bit of a smile. When you come to the binge, it seems like the right thing to do right after something like that. When you put all the effort and the collective hours in all year and then in 70 minutes it was over. Your year is over. You won't see those lads again for five or six months.

It can be very frustrating. We all go out and socialise together but my main issue is that there's not enough of it throughout the year. That's probably why we went so mental.

The issue came to the fore after Joe Canning's interview with Vincent Hogan in the Irish Independent who explained that the "balance is wrong" in the drinking culture of inter-county GAA players.

Meath's Mickey Burke agreed with these sentiments and explained how defeat to Donegal impacted on the panel.

Advertisement

I don't know if mourning is the right word but you're devastated. I was walking around with a cloud all week. It's such a big part of your life.

You're part of this bubble. You eat, sleep and drink this all week. I find it very hard to switch off from football. It's something I need to work on.

I agree with Joe [Canning], you have to pump a bit of green diesel into the tank every so often.

Galway footballer Michael Meehan put forward the example of the Tipperary management team last summer when they reached the semi-final of the All-Ireland.

What proved difficult, was to strike the balance with some of the young players on the team.

I'd say it's a hard one to manage as a manager. I think it would be a good approach, but sometimes you give a lad an inch and they'll take a mile.

It could take a lifetime to change the mindset of the generic GAA player that's out there. There's no denying the fact that every Championship exit is met with this barrage.

Hughes finished by pointing out that finding a solution might prove more difficult because of the demands put on modern GAA players.

I don't know if there's a proper answer to the whole thing.

Maybe back in the day if you had given me an inch I would have taken a mile. You would have known no different. Being a young lad you want to enjoy yourself.

I know now at 27 that I can't physically do it anymore or to do another week of that again.

It may be a case of changing it up during the year where lads can get a bit more downtime - that doesn't have to be surrounded by drink.

You can watch today's full discussion below.

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

See Also: Pre-Match Pasta And Chicken? Not For Waterford's Stephen O'Keeffe>

Cian Roche

You may also like