Alan McCrabbe shows how WhatsApp culture has gone too far in the GAA 7 months ago

Alan McCrabbe shows how WhatsApp culture has gone too far in the GAA

Things have gone beyond the beyond.

When you're taking pictures of your dinner, taking pictures of yourself at the gym and taking pictures of a ball-wall - all to prove you're doing what you were told to do as a GAA player - you know there's something wrong.

It hints at a blatant lack of trust in GAA teams. Managers don't trust their players, players don't trust their fellow players.

How is a good team ethic supposed to form when one of the fundamental aspects of a team, in trust, is brought into question so, so often?

Every GAA team in the country has a WhatsApp group. It's almost as important to the team as a set of jerseys at this stage.

WhatsApp groups are important; they're convenient for a team in organising training sessions and in reminding players what time matches are on at.

That's where the importance of these WhatsApp groups should end.

It has got a bit ridiculous, as Conal Keaney, Damien Hayes and Colm Parkinson all agreed on The GAA Hour Hurling Show on Thursday.

Hayes is a traditional GAA player and every action he performed in his Portumna or Galway jersey was done with passion and pride. He was a fiery individual, he lived for the battle. He can't stand the direction these WhatsApp groups are bringing to the GAA.

"I always say that the WhatsApp group should be for training purposes, for management purposes and for having the bit of craic. They'd drive you cracked, the thumbs up, the smiley faces, putting up their muscles and all that," said Hayes.

As Paul Galvin said earlier in the year, players are hiding behind 'emojis'. Real communication is lost.

"It’s all smiley-faces, thumbs-up and virtual high-fives from the couch nowadays. Honest, frank, face-to-face exchanges on the training ground or dressing room feel like a thing of the past. This is where team culture should be created and driven and points made, not on an app," said Galvin in an interview with The Sunday Times.

It doesn't make sense. Lads are no longer used to the reality of being honest and speaking out.

On top of all of that, in a virtual world, it's so easy to con your team-mates, just like Alan McCrabbe did during his career with the Dublin senior hurlers.

Conal Keaney spoke of how the WhatsApp culture took over the Dublin senior hurling panel during his playing career.

"When I was involved with the inter-county panel there a couple of years ago, we had to post up what we were eating, and show at certain times a day that you were eating a certain type of food and everyone was posting up, and updating that you were at the gym, taking a picture to prove it," said the Ballyboden St Enda's man.

Alan McCrabbe found an ingenious way to dupe his bosses.

"I remember Alan McCrabbe was getting slagged so much that he basically went to the gym one night, he brought four or five t-shirts with him and took a picture with each of the different t-shirts on him and then he used to post it up."

Classic stuff from McCrabbe and we've all done something similar before.

"Conal is 100% right, there are lads taking photographs there, and then they're changing their tops and they're taking other photographs and they mightn't do a gym session and then they're putting up 'gym session done.' It's very easy to lie about it," said Damien Hayes.

"You had to post yourself up if you were doing a gym session, and if you were being delayed you had to post up why you were being late. For example, if you caught behind a herd of cows, you had to put up 'lads, being delayed, there's cows on the road.'

"I think it's a load of rubbish, if there isn't trust among a squad of players, and between players and management, well then you're going nowhere from the very start," claimed the Portumna man.

In the heat of a championship battle, trust is what it's all about, trusting that the man lining up beside you will perform with bravery and honesty, trusting in yourself to perform so as well.

"I think that's the way it was going; a lot of it was down to the managers not trusting the players enough to say, 'just go to the gym, if you go to the gym, I'll believe you'," said Keaney.


Listen to the lads Whatsapp debate from 1:30" here.