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02nd Jan 2024

The 17 people you’ll meet on every GAA freshers’ team

From the jersey stealers to the boy who keeps asking 'do you play county?'


Do you play county?

It’s September. It’s college ball time.

Where else are you going to get those numbered jerseys to wear around the place?

Freshers’ teams up and down the country are meeting up to form bonds that will last forever – at least until they get their drinking session away somewhere – and these are some of the characters that will yet again be infiltrating every squad.


1. The boy who keeps asking, ‘Do you play county?’

He needs to know what the team is going to be and he needs to know who his friends are going to be. The answer lies in a simple yes or no to this question.

2. The boy who is going to ‘get back out with the club’

He used to play full forward for the under-14s. He’s going to get back in shape now though and what better way to reinvent yourself by going straight into the deep end with third level football?

3. The one who says he played county minors

He’s fooling no-one. Not after two training sessions anyway.

4. The one who actually plays county minors

Mark Lynch 3/3/2007

Everyone remembers him from the success with his school. He plays hurling, football, and three different grades in club, college and county and it’s immediately clear that the boy who is ‘going to get back out with the club’ is out of his depth.

5. The ‘are we going for pints’ guy

He’s here for one reason.

6. The ‘are we going to Prague’ guy

He’s here for one reason.

7. The fat lad with a number 12 jersey

The drink found him.

8. The eternal student

Jim McGuinness 11/4/2001 DIGITALHe is not a fresher.

9. The superstar who’s there to play football

He probably won’t feature for your fresher team this year. He’s been roped in to do a diploma somewhere that falls under the college’s jurisdiction – either that or a dodgy masters – and he won’t exactly be put under pressure to keep his attendance up. Like some of the others, he’s there for one reason too and it’s not a degree.

10. The boys who are there because they’re friends with the superstar

Inclusion by association. They’re making ‘A’ panels left, right and centre and the only logical explanation for it is that they’re there to keep the superstar happy.

11. The lazy county star

After a fruitful freshers’ week, he lands down late to the first training session with no intention of taking part. The managers are just thrilled to see him though. He pisses off early and the pattern repeats several times. Starts the first game.

12. The boy who an minor B championship with his club

They don’t hand out those medals. He has no idea why he’s being overlooked, county players or not.


13. The boys who are there for the free gear

‘Can we keep the jerseys?’ Probably seen wrangling a starting number after the last game when they were nowhere near the side all year.

14. The ‘I play better when I’m hungover’ star

Unlimited drink, two hours sleep and, in fairness, it actually doesn’t seem to affect him. The bastard.

15. The injured guy

The UCC team celebrate with the trophy 5/3/2011

Loves his tracksuit bottoms. Loves lifting cones, helping out and general chit chat. Loves being there.

16. The fan

Just priviliged to be on the same training pitch as some of these guys. Can tell you about school games and club matches that the lads involved wouldn’t even remember. Awe-struck but likes to think of his role as the fountain of knowledge.

17. The really, really, really friendly guy who is just happy to be there

He’s getting roasted in the first training game and he can’t help but compliment his marker. An all-round nice guy.

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