A day at the GAA

Or G.A.A as those less farmery pronounce it. But really is the Gaah.
Traditionally the typical gah day can go one of two ways. A blaring sun shining down on a pitch packed with supporters, everybody looking nicely burned and sweaty to boot, and the crowd shouting themselves hoarse at some (probably deserving) referee, or buckets of rain pouring down on a pitch less packed with supporters, who are cold and soggy to boot, and the crowd shouting themselves hoarse at some (probably deserving) referee. But the rules never change!
Now to make it a proper gah day, one must follow the traditional gah rules.

  • Pre-match:
    1. You get into the car, with all required props. Aim to take the back roads and park close to the pitch, but give up when the gardai direct you to the main road and you have to follow the traffic until you get to the point where you give up, park on the roadside and walk the 4 miles to the pitch. Vow to leave earlier next time.
    2. Whilst walking, antagonize every person in the opposite side’s jersey, especially if you are the underdog. (Which we usually are.) Give a good shout to every car going by with your flag, colours, jerseys, registration plate.
  • Attire:
    1. You should be in either a jersey or a tweed coat, nothing else goes.
    2. You may wear a peaked cap or a tweed hat if you wish. On occasion you may sport a straw hat, purchased from the hats scarves and headbands stall, however only if it is in/enveloped in your county colours.
    3. People with umbrellas are regularly taken aside and given a good talking to, and should they fail to respond they’re given the boot.
  • On Entry:
    1. You will go in and get your place on the terrace (never the stands, 30euro for a ticket ya must be maaaad) and stand there, leaning on the barrier with hands clasped together.
    2. Talk about the weather.
      1. There’s grate (great) hate (heat) in that sun now
      2. More likely: Ah sure it only rained twice last week, once for three days and once for four days
      3. Oh he’s come on a hundred percent young ‘insert name here’. He’ll be going places, wait and see now. He’ll be for an all star this year. He will.
    3. Talk about farming. Mainly cattle. Occasionally sheep. A lot about hay.
    4. Talk about the weather in relation to farming.
    5. (Optional)Talk about the line up/general state of the team
      1. Playing ‘insert name here’ in half back could be a great move there on ‘insert manager’s name here’ part. Might make the world a difference in this one now, world a difference
      2. Jaysus, but they were fierce lucky/unlucky last time
  • Food:
    1. Whilst stalls selling outrageously overpriced and sometimes clearly gone off produce have popped up all around the pitch, one must realize that proper GAA etiquette should be followed at all times.
    2. This involves hang sangiches and a bottle o’ tae, wrapped in the grandfathers wooly sock to keep it warm. Now there should be nothing but a slice of ham, a good dose of butter (think cardiologist crying amount), and 2 slices of white bread. None of this fancy stuff that you’d find in the likes of M&S.
  • During the match:
    1. You must shout for your team.
    2. You must know the names of all players or it doesn’t count.
    3. You will normally refer to a select few by their first names.
    4. You must shout at the ref if he is acting the maggot. Which he was today. General taunts include
      1. Suggestions about specsavers/general eyesight problems.
      2. Suggestions pertaining to the possibility that the ref merely wants to get on telly.
      3. Politely informing the ref he obviously does not know the rules of the game.
      4. Suggestions about doubts as to whether the ref has ever been present at a game of gaelic football previously.
      5. Suggestions that the ref take himself off the pitch and perhaps not visit again. (This may be expanded on but I run a family friendly blog here)
      6. When it gets to it, should the ref deserve it – straightforward name-calling will be upheld.
    5. You will shout much abuse at players of opposite team who play dirty.
    6. You will shout much encouragement at players of your team who play dirty:
      1. ‘Hit him again, he’s no relation!’
      2. ‘Hit him harder next time, he’s getting up!’
      3. ‘Take him out!’/ ‘Bather him’
      4. Alternatively the ref may be the subject, but only if the comments are bad.
  • Half time
    1. Out with the tae and sangiches. Sit on the steps and ate away.
    2. Smack lips and remark how ‘that’s the besht ham from ‘insert Irish surname here’ up the road. And they’re great for cuttin’ it thick’.
    3. Similarly have compliments for the tae ‘Nawthin like a sup’a tae on a day like this’
    4. Back up and lean across the barrier, hands clasped.
    5. Revert to talk of the weather/farming/both.
  • 2nd half
    1. See (During the match)
    2. Nearing end of match, shouting gets louder, taunts get less suitable for children, and you quadruple your chance of ending up on a heart machine.
    3. People who leave early should be banned for life.
    4. When you win, onto the pitch before they close the gates. (Last years post match official’s announcements: ‘Can the stewards close the gates please’. ‘We’d ask the spectators not to come onto the pitch’ ‘Can the stewards please close the gates’ ‘Close the gates’ ‘Tom will ya close the gates!’ … They didn’t close the gates.)
  • Post match – walk 4 miles to car with flag draped round you, singing, shouting and such.
    1. This is upheld whether you win or lose.
  • Stop into the nearest garage to get another sup a tae for the way home.
  • Get stuck in the procession of beeping horns and blaring radios – (Example – Connaught final a few yrs back when a certain team won and we beeped all the way back home, where we got out, blaring ‘We are the champions as loud as possible’ It was magical)
  • Home to watch the highlights and give out about the referee.

There you have it ladies and gents, the match day rules. Do let me know what I’ve forgotten, there’s bound to be a few!

4 thoughts on “A day at the GAA

  1. Haha! Brilliant. Have never been to gah match in my life… closest was hanging around in pub near croker looking for a second ticket that never materialised. Just as well I didn’t get to go as I didn’t know half of the rules. Will keep this in a safe place just in case 🙂

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Cake in the country..


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