It is a choice between abstinence and "common sense" as far as former Kerry footballer Marc Ó Sé is concerned - and the five-time All-Ireland winner veers toward the opinion that the latter is a greater guide to drinking for inter-county players.
Dismayed by the notion that GAA players "are being driven by a puritanical force which demands that rewards can only come to those that suffer", Ó Sé, writing in today's Irish Mail On Sunday, reflected on the time when his inter-county career crossed the divide between "common sense" and "nutrition sheets."
Having served under his uncle Páidí Ó Sé for his breakthrough year in the Kerry panel, the youngest of the three Ó Sé brothers remembers that initial season fondly:
In 2002 ... we played nine Championship games. ... And after every game we won, we went for pints, often retiring back to Ventry, where Páidí supped with us, counting whose round it was rather than counting how many units were being consumed.
Almost sixteen years later, things have certainly changed for the GAA's elite players. Alcohol is no longer so freely consumed, no longer sought out as a palliative for defeat, or as a reward for a memorable victory.
While Ó Sé doesn't suggest such habits ceased when Jack O'Connor replaced Páidí Ó Sé in 2003, the seeds of change were certainly set - although not always welcomed:
Our lifestyle as inter-county footballers had been transformed, in some ways for the better and in others not.
The concept of a drinking man never sat well with me. That is not in any way to make light of an alcohol culture in this country ... I just never saw the point in a ban being put in place just for the sake of it.
Suggesting that "common sense" and "the reality that if you are serious about your game you are never going to abuse yourself" by drinking excessively outweighs the necessity of a ban, Ó Sé believes that the game is moving further and further away from important social aspects of it:
Players need to be unshackled from the notion that you have to be part of a chain gang to be a team.