GAA Football

Cahair O'Kane: The GAA pet hates I want to see banished

The two-man tackle. It's not a foul.

THE black card, blah. The mark, blah blah, Short kickouts, blah blah blah.

Fixtures, demands on players, free cars for some and none for others – none of these are what we really require the GAA to deal with urgently.

What we actually need the rule-makers to step in and end are the endless stupid statements or idiosyncrasies committed by players / supporters / the crazy woman with the umbrella on a standard Sunday afternoon.

So in Room 101 style, here are the list of random phrases or offences I’d like to see outlawed.

1: Roaring “black cardddddd ref” at the top of your voice for pretty much every single foul in the modern game.

2: Squealing “two man tackle” at a referee. Two men tackling at once is not a foul.

3: “Do your job linesman / umpire / fourth official!” Usually followed by the grammatically woeful “You seen it linesman, you seen it”. The repetition is the best bit. Also, what is the job of the fourth official? Anyone?

4: “Tooooo lonnnnngggggg”, or its marginally less offensive younger brother, “How many steps?” They have a cousin as well, which is just “steps ref!” though no one is quite sure if that’s a cry for a free or someone asking the official if he liked H’s hairdo.

5: Argumentative and biased umpires. When choosing someone to stand on the post for your club, the two criteria are simple: Your arm must only point to heaven when your team shoots, no matter if it’s six foot wide on the other post. And you must do it so provocatively and confidently that it engages the opposition goalkeeper in a slanging match, completely distracting his attention.

6: Maor Foirnes. (Maor Foirni?) The lads in bibs running on during the game to make themselves look important. Need emptied every time.

7: Pre-match speech from a manager that includes the phrase “Don’t open your mouth to the referee”, when everyone in the room knows he’s going to spend the entire day on the case of the man in the middle, breeding a culture of rampant indiscipline that costs you the game.

8: “Watch the short kickout!” as one ball goes dead and the sneaky ‘keeper reaches for another. Acceptable in some circumstances but traditionally undermined by your two sweepers allowing the ‘keeper two free men to kick to, even if it takes him half an hour.

9 (a): Let-her-in-tay-f***
9 (b): What-are-yous-doing-would-yous-put-the-ball-in
9 (c i): Quit-giving-the-ball-away (upon listening to the previous advice and kicking the ball straight down the gullet of one of the two sweepers)
9 (c ii): Ah-watch-the-wind-lads (as the ball that was let in flies over the heads of the inside forward line at 60mph).

10: Lads roaring “yassssss” from their own full-back line when a shot looks to be on its way, only for it to drop short or tail wide at the last second. Once is usually enough to stop even the wholly unashamed.

11: Referees giving a free for a two-man tackle.

12: One goalkeeper, who shall remain nameless, devised his own form of Morse code for kickouts by calling out a random selection of numbers before each restart. It would go along the lines of “2, 9, 4, 7” before he would kick the ball, usually straight to the opposition.

13: Spending the week at training working on how to best utilise your key player and then five minutes in, putting him to full-back to stop the opposition’s.

14: “Blow ‘er up ref” after 56 seconds of stoppage time, two-thirds of which were eaten up by your goalkeeper walking to the corner flag to retrieve a ball for the kickout.

15: “Where’s your yellow card now” after you’ve spent five minutes savagely beating the life out of the opposition forwards and they then have the audacity to attempt a tackle. The referee, having booked four of your men, will oblige 100 per cent of the time.

16: “Hop ball ref, that’s a hop ball” as the man obstructing the quick free rightly has the ball driven against him.

17: “Where’s he taking it from?” as the ace free-taker drops the ball over from dead straight in front of the posts 25 yards out, having just moments earlier nailed one from the sideline.

18: “It doesn’t matter what the score is, it’s 0-0 here boys”. Heard in 50 per cent of changing rooms every Sunday. Particularly ineffective as motivation when protecting a 14-point lead and going out to play with the wind.

19: “Thasss the hurlin”. Heard predominantly at football. Incredibly offensive when twisted into a tragically bad Waterford accent.

20: “Bend, you’ll get your free” as the corner-back attempts a pick-up and pokes the ball out for a 45. Sometimes still gets the free.

21: The appeals process. If someone appeals, just let them off straight away unless they have actually stabbed someone, in which case it might, just might, be upheld.

22: “Give us something ref” or “There’s two teams ye know?” just after the full-forward points his eighth free of the day.

23: “That's your fault ref" as your team-mate goes off with a busted snout and three men are given red cards for their part in a four-minute fist fight.

24: “He’s at it the whole game” or alternatively “get that man a saddle”. The poor corner-back whose second foul results in a booking and his third ends his game, while the wing-forward commits eight fouls and nobody says a thing about it.

25: Landing to the pitch 90 minutes before throw-in and still waiting on that one lad to get the tape right on his socks before you can go out for the warm-up an hour later. End up rushing the warm-up and losing the corner-forward to a pulled hamstring after five minutes.

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