What GAA players do at weddings now sums up the culture these days 4 years ago

What GAA players do at weddings now sums up the culture these days

Sacrifices must be made.

If you want to make it to the top, you can't be pissing around at weddings but that gets tougher and tougher to do as you move into your late 20s and seemingly everyone you know is throwing a stag and sending you an invite.

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Wedding season doesn't work well around the GAA season though - November and December just aren't as appealing months and, anyway, you have provincial club championships then so what are you going to do?

It gives GAA players far and wide no other option but to approach with caution to the weddings that they do feel obliged to attend.

You'll spot these guys a mile away obeying a few rules on the big day:

  • Drinking water but maybe holding a glass of coke to warn off peer pressure
  • Passing on the dessert
  • Ordering a coffee that will help with the drive home
  • Staying out of pictures
  • Stretching
  • Finding someone to engage in a deep, football conversation with
  • Getting the hell out of there before midnight

There are too many important facets of being an elite athlete at risk of being compromised at weddings. We're talking diet. We're talking sleep. We're talking staying the f**k away from alcohol.

So it's not a lot of fun anymore for young footballers and hurlers to head along to the best day of someone else's life. They have to be strict and they have to be rigid and they have to do this in the company of lads pissed off their faces having the best of time with the messiest of nights.

It's part of the culture now. If you want to be the best, you can't be jeopardising that. In a way, Westmeath manager Tom Cribbin reckons that's what has made this era of football the most competitive ever. But it's at the expense of social lives.

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"Everyone's starting to compare this Dublin team now to the Kerry team that won five-in-a-row," Cribbin said in a fascinating interview on The GAA Hour.

"For me, it's a lot harder to win back-to-backs, never mind a triple, at the moment because teams are so fit. I think the tempo of the game and the quality of footballers is far superior to back then.

"You know the commitment level the players are giving now. Their whole life has to be around football. They have a very, very poor social life because you can't go out.

"You're saying, 'I'm going to a wedding this weekend. I'm going but I'll not be drinking and I'll be coming home early.' And usually you go there and the only thing that's really on your mind is your football and the match that's coming up."

And that way of life now is what really makes this Dublin team special - to still be so dominant in such conditions.

"I just think this is a remarkable Dublin team," Cribbin admitted.

"It's probably one of the best teams ever if not the best team ever. It's just unfortunate for everyone else at the moment that it's in their era."

Listen to the full interview below from 21:11.

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