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The 5 Stages Of Grief As Observed Through GAA Player Revolts

The 5 Stages Of Grief As Observed Through GAA Player Revolts
Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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There is an old Chinese proverb which Mattie Murphy used to be fond of repeating. It goes 'may you live in interesting times' (we should clarify at this point that we have no idea if Mattie ever said this).

Currently, Gaelic Games in Connacht is living through revolutionary times. Here to you help you get through this, we lay out the five stages of every inter-county team player revolt.


Rumours and newspaper articles will refer to events involving 'head counts' and 'secret ballots' and meetings held in such ominous locations as GAA clubhouses.

The story will break and many observers will remark that they had been hearing rumblings for some time, though they had chosen not to broadcast them at the time.

Initial reports of dissent will be ignored.

The county board will ratify the manager for the following season.


A cohort of wizened old players from a previous generation will emerge and inquire, via the medium of a newspaper article, whether or not the current 'players want to manage themselves or what?'


They will remind the current generation of the situation that prevailed in their day, one in which the manager picked the team and ran the training sessions and the players did what he said.

They may also ask questions such as 'who the hell will want to manage that lot now?'


In the same article, they will come to the conclusion that it is in fact impossible to manage that lot.



In response to reports in the media, the county board will host what is termed an emergency meeting.

They may seek offer up a sacrificial lamb in the shape of one or other of the selectors. They will seek to assuage the players' grievances going forward.

The phrase 'going forward' may be used a lot. Hardliners may seek to exile troublemakers but the court the waverers.



The impasse deepens. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those outside the tent. Obsevers will forsake raking over the rights and wrongs of the debacle and simply remark on the sadness of it all.

'It's just very sad, Marty'

People will express sympathy for the manager. Those of a pessimistic mindset will declare the next season a write off.


On supporters forums, posters will announce that they're done with following this team, a promise that they will preface by detailing how long they have been following them. This is usually somewhere in the region of 40 years.

Pro-managerial elements may advocate the nuclear option and say of the dissenting players, 'let them off' and insist that the team should plough ahead the following year with a gang of eighteen year olds and lads who wouldn't otherwise be good enough.


The manager realises that there's probably not much chance of their being a decent outcome here. He releases a statement thanking everyone for their help and wishes the players the best for the coming year.


Doesn't apply in Limerick. Or at least not for a while.

Read more: What It's Like To Be Told You've Been Dropped From An Intercounty Team



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