Brace yourselves because rugby lads are training to speak like GAA players 6 years ago

Brace yourselves because rugby lads are training to speak like GAA players

Ah, balls.

Listen, there are a lot of great things about the GAA. It has a bloody magical culture - never mind the sport itself - at times but, in high summer, at the height of the championship, you can forget about your interviews and soundbites.

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Somewhere in the space of a decade and a half, Gaelic footballers and hurlers became experts at saying absolutely nothing in interviews that could've lasted for however long you wanted them to. They'd talk to you surely, they'd talk all day, but it doesn't mean they'd actually be answering any of your questions.

No-one really knows how or why this happened in the GAA. Suddenly, managers started speaking some jargon and it followed on like a domino effect - as do most things in that world. Yoga. 6am sessions. 200m sprints.

Now, a GAA interview in the middle of the season is a tough, old task.

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Most of them just want to get through without making a headline or saying anything that their team mates could slag them for - or anything anyone would want to read. But, in fairness, there are plenty of great, interesting characters too that make a damn fine interview - not that they'll be allowed to do that for much longer with the way it's going.

And in the rugby, times could be changing for the worse too.

Irish Rugby Union Players' Association (IRUPA) have released their latest magazine and, in it, they've lined out a point-by-point guide to their tailored workshops that were run in media training.

Ulster and Connacht were the latest recipients of learning 'deflection tactics' and 'avoiding loaded words or phrases'. Here are some of the things the players were being taught.

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  • Deflection tactics
  • Avoiding loaded words or phrases and throwaway comments
  • Understanding context and awareness of bigger issues within the game
  • Dealing with nerves
  • Displaying good body language
  • Engaging the listener
  • How to prepare for interviews
  • Building on the team message through personal points
  • Show good knowledge and analysis of the game

Some of it is completely fair and obviously worthwhile. You don't want a young lad getting sucked into a question when he doesn't know that he's actually going to appear in an article in a completely different context.

You don't want them getting stitched up but you also don't want them closing up.

These guys are heroes. They have the potential to inspire the nation with their words and people want to hear what they have to say. It'd be a shame if they closed up completely.

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Rob Kearney's brilliant interview after the New Zealand game was utterly compelling, for example. The game shouldn't lose that and these fascinating personalities shouldn't feel like they have to hide their true selves. If you compared that interview with how the GAA equivalent of it would've went, it would make very grim reading.

Rob Kearney

"It's been a tough 18 months."

GAA equivalent

"It is what it is."

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Rob Kearney

"You're not playing to your potential and people get on your case, then you get on your own case. Inside my head has been a dark enough place in the last few months."

GAA equivalent

"Lookit, people can say what they want. I'm not going to get dragged into that."

Rob Kearney

"I'll tell you how I got my confidence back - it was one high ball and one line-break. I've been waiting for a spark, something like that, for so long."

GAA equivalent

"You can get bogged down in tactics and analysing everything to death but we just know that we have a job to do when we go out onto the field and it's our job to do that job when we get out there. Onto the field. To do our jobs."

Rob Kearney

"Joe kept faith in me, a huge amount of faith. I was glad to be able to repay it a little bit."

GAA equivalent

"Any one of us can step in and do a job and I was just lucky to get the chance."

Rob Kearney

"He pulled me aside before the game and he said, 'You need a big one today.' It wasn't ideal, but it was good."

GAA equivalent

"I think the media are trying to make more of this than what it is. I'd love to tell you there's more to it, but there's not."

Rob Kearney

"Maybe that was the one-liner that I need to put the fear of God into me."

GAA equivalent

"Haha, ah, we had a few words alright. We'll not get into it now."

Rob Kearney

"Louth for the All-Ireland? Who knows - Cubs, Ireland, Louth."

GAA equivalent

"Now, now we're not going to get carried away with ourselves. We've got the O'Byrne Cup in January and that is very much our only focus at this point in time."

Rob Kearney

"I just told him [Joey Carbery] he has balls of steel!"

GAA equivalent

"Lookit, at the end of the day, we have to move on now and concentrate on the next game."

Let's just hope they don't change too much.

Who are the winners of the much-coveted 2016 Wooly Awards? Find out in our GAA Hour Special.