"There are clubs in every county that you just know - they like fighting." - Fighting passes on through the generations
There were some disappointing scenes in Wicklow at the weekend as, with tempers fraying and rationale out the window, the county under-15D final between Carnew and Kilcoole was marred by an unsavoury row that, above all else, set a terrible example for the young players watching on.
We've all seen the video at this stage and no matter what way you looked at it, there was one really jarring part of the minute-long clip. It was the sight of the young kids in their jerseys, here to play a game of football, ending up in the middle of a wild malaise.
It's at that age when youngsters are at their most impressionable and with punches being thrown, with threats cutting through the air, with friends and team-mates knocked to the floor, here was a terrible precedent being set for a group of teenagers who, if exposed to this type of behaviour anymore, could come to see it as the normal thing to do.
Wicklow GAA condemned the behaviour, as you would expect, and are set to investigate the whole melee but regardless of who's punished or how they're sanctioned, the killing thing for the GAA is that, with so many clubs, games and people involved all over this country, there are always going to be a few delinquents who spoil the fun for everyone.
On The GAA Hour, Colm Parkinson talked about the culture in certain GAA clubs and how, when things start to go against them, it's in their nature and part of their tradition to become confrontational.
"It’s a culture within clubs. You know the clubs in your county where that culture exists and it’s like, one generation just passes that shit onto the next."
"There are clubs in every county that you just know that they like, they like fighting. If you’re beating them by five or six points, you nearly need to have your, your wits about you because they’ll get one or two sent off. They probably grew up seeing fathers getting sent off when they’re losing and they don’t know any better.
"The children see it that that’s what you do if a decision goes against you like, it’s just, that’s probably the saddest thing of the whole thing and those kids playing the games, they will grow up thinking that, if a refereeing decision goes against them, well eff this, I’m getting sent off because that’s the reaction I’ve always seen, or I’m starting a fight and I mean, that’s the saddest thing of it," added the Portlaoise man.
“There are clubs in every county that you just know - they like fighting.”
⁰The scenes were horrific in Wicklow at the weekend and the unfortunate thing is that, in every county, there are clubs that have a culture of fighting that passes on through the generations. pic.twitter.com/s7aFneG9nX
— The GAA Hour (@TheGAAHour) October 11, 2021
Just as it's a problem in the GAA, it's a problem in soccer and in rugby too but Lee Costello says that harsher and more consistent punishments is the best way to go about eradicating it from our games.
"Hopefully some of them people can be identified and they can be suspended because like who knows what impact that will have on them kids.
"They might not want to go and play for their club again. Why would they want to go to the next match to hear that sort of abuse and see what it can actually lead to and even worse still, it normalises it for them and they think ‘oh that’s what you do at GAA games, you become involved in that, you start fights and that’s what I'll need to do now, because I want to be like dad."
"Listen it's definitely not an epidemic and it's not like it's happening all the time. But when it does happen, and you have the footage, you have to make a statement and suspend those who were in the wrong," added the Tyrone man.