GAA nicknames make the world go round. No sport on the God's green earth can claim to have as many athletes with as many legendary nicknames. Sambo, Nudie and Nerd: there really is nothing like an inspired GAA nickname.
The novel presence of Cavan, Tipp and a freshened-up Mayo in the All-Ireland semifinals means there's a whole crop of new players, and new nicknames, for GAA supporters to get familiar with. We've reached out to the three counties to find out more about the best nicknames to be gracing Croke Park this weekend. You won't be disappointed.
Raymond 'Hollywood' Galligan
Galligan is the likely winner of an All-Star at goalie this year. He also boasts a nickname worthy of a man who could decide a match with a 55 metre free. We're told the Lacken man is known as Hollywood in his own club, not because of a love for LA or 'Hollywood' Hulk Hogan, but perhaps because of his fondness of wearing white boots.
Ciarán 'The Holla' Brady
Arvagh's Ciarán Brady has one of our all-time favourite GAA nicknames. Last year, he explained to Balls.ie that there is a plethora of Brady's in his part of Cavan, hence the need for nicknames.
"There's a lot of Bradys in Arvagh. There's the Garage Bradys, as we'd call them; the cars, they're the wealthier Bradys - Brady's Volkswagen, Arvagh, Co. Cavan
His nickname 'The Holla' owes to the location of his home. 'I suppose I'd live outside the town in a bit of a hollow, as they call it. I suppose that's where I got the nickname, The Holla.'
Killian 'Gunner' Brady
The beauty of Killian 'Gunner' Brady's nickname is that it is not exclusively his, but instead was passed down to many of the Brady's of Mullahoran. In his book on the 1947 All-Ireland between Kerry and Cavan entitled 'The Fairytale in New York', author Paul Fitzpatrick tells the origin story of the Gunner Brady nickname in Mullahoran. It is believed to originate with Danny 'Gunner' Brady, who fought for the IRA during the War of Independence and escaped a Black and Tan raid on his house. Gunner played football with Mullahoran. His son Phil 'The Gunner' became a legend of Cavan football and played on that Cavan team that lifted Sam in the Pologrounds in 1947. Killian carries the Gunner nickname today with pride and even uses it in his Twitter account.
Tommy 'Goals' Conroy
This is one of the great nickname sagas of living memory. This autumn, young Tommy Conroy of the Neale broke into the Mayo squad. With brilliant goals like this one, he has been tagged with the nickname Tommy Goals by fans and commentators.
Tommy Conroy's goal has helped Mayo recover from a slow start as they now lead in Carrick.
Half-time: @LeitrimGAA 0-06 @MayoGAA 1-06
Watch the second half on @RTENewsNow and @TheSundayGame from 9.30pm on @RTE2 #rtegaa #sundaygame pic.twitter.com/Evf5HnpBBg
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) November 1, 2020
This is slightly awkward because there was another forward in the Mayo team just two seasons ago also named Tommy Conroy, who was originally known as Tommy Goals. That Tommy Goals played for Kiltane and won a minor All-Ireland in 2013 with Mayo. To quote the song, it appears there are only two Tommy Conroys.
— Chris Duffy (@howayajoe) November 1, 2020
— L. NíHéineacháin (@LaobhaoiseNihE) November 8, 2020
The Original Tommy Goals - Kiltane's Tommy Conroy
The origins and uses of the Tommy Goals nickname has been a point of amusement for Mayo Twitter during the 2020 Championship. Conroy has essentially inherited the Tommy Goals nickname and we imagine it has inspired him in his goalscoring feats this year.
Not sure but I did enjoy @SportTG4 referring to him as Tommy Cúl in the Galway game!
— Edwin McGreal (@edmcgreal) November 1, 2020
Padraig 'Swannie' O'Hora
O'Hora was the viral star of the 2020 Mayo club championship. Swannie has one of the best nicknames in the Mayo panel, which we're told is a nickname attached to all of the male O'Hora's.
In Tipperary, the nicknames aren't as iconic. There are a few worth celebrating however. Kevin Fahey is known as Muscles. Midfielder Alan Moloney (above) is known as Rocky. Pádraig Looram is known by the nickname Lilla to his teammates.