Easy does it: The art of the trash-talk with Eamon McGee
Easy does it. The subtle dig always appealed to Eamon McGee more than the elaborate and the well thought out.
On Thursday's GAA Hour, the Gaoth Dobhair man joined Wooly to talk the art of the trash talk. And there was plenty to talk about.
The early 2000s were a bleak time for Donegal football. No Ulster title in the first decade of the new millennium and worse still, Tyrone and Armagh weren't just winning Anglo Celts, but winning All-Irelands too.
Tough to take. So Donegal eventually decided something had to be done to bridge the gap and a leaf was taken out of the enemies' book.
"You had the Tyrones and Armaghs doing everything you had to do to win, so we had to take that on board. We were cynical, nasty, whatever you want to call it," said McGee.
"I'd say it's something I had to develop in terms of how to be the biggest prick you could be.
"It didn't come naturally."
But as Donegal began to motor, new tricks were learned along the way.
"It was always a case that I wanted to get at the confidence straight away. It was never personal stuff, I felt there was no need for that. It was just wee jibes at the forward because they thrive on confidence. You're always at him if he made a mistake.
"Say you're marking your man in the corner, with two minutes to burn. Rather than just sit there in silence you just say 'Jesus that was a bad miss there the last one,' or 'you're not going too well today..."
Now you see.
In his day, McGee has dished out and been on the receiving end of many a verbal jab and he discussed the tricks of the trade in great detail.
"I was marking Eoghan O'Gara one day and I knew that Mannion and these boys were pushing for a spot. I was marking O'Gara and I went 'Jesus there's Mannion warming up there, you need to buck up a wee bit here.' He looked over to the sideline then so I knew that I was playing with his mind. It was always in those quiet moments in the corner.."
"For someone like Kieran Donaghy, I never even bothered with it because he was just so strong mentally. It could have turned on you and gave him even more motivation"
"With Sean Cavanagh, he would react which is what you wanted. But he would keep on coming back...that's the thing about him, you could never keep him down."
On the other hand, McGee always felt that Diarmuid Connolly was there to be got at when it came to the war of words.
"It's been a while since I was marking him but Connolly was always a man I felt took the bait fairly handy in terms of verbals. I remember in a League game, I was at him and he went out of his way to try get one over on me and he got blown for steps a few times and that. I knew then that he was getting annoyed and he was pushing out. He's matured and he's gotten wiser as the years went on..."
Give it, and you must take it and the Tyrone lads knew how to give McGee a rub.
"I used to pick up the short kick-outs and I remember the Tyrone lads, the whole forward line saying 'Let McGee have it' and you're just thinking, these boys think you're a terrible footballer!"
The line is drawn between the subtle and the personal though.
"When you straddle that line, inevitable you are going to cross it one or two times. But like if someone says something personal, I would have no bother plugging him after. If one of my teammates brought up something like that, he deserves a slap after the game. There's no need for it..."
You can listen to the Eamon McGee chat in full here, as well as much more from Thursday's GAA Hour.