What your reaction to a fight breaking out in a match says about you 3 years ago

What your reaction to a fight breaking out in a match says about you

It's heavy hitting, it's guts for garters, it's a GAA match.

Whether we like it or not, fights come with the GAA. Fights happen at top level sport.


Lads sacrifice lots, they dedicate their whole lives to their sport and when it comes to the big game day, it's no surprise that they won't be taking any prisoners.

Those big championship days can change a player's mood for a year, for better or for worse.

Those cold February league Sundays on the boggy pitch in the back arse of nowhere are just as important. They're part of the journey, and the likelihood  is that if you don't have fire lining the belly for one of those - You'll find it hard to just summon that fire in the mid-summer championship madness.

The opponents are the only lads who can take your dreams away from you. Who can condemn you to the desolate reality of a seat in a losing dressing room. The depressing drive home thinking about all the things you could have done to win that game. Years of going through this will teach you to leave every last ounce of yourself within the four white lines.

So it's you against them. It's your dream come true or their dream come true. They'll be doing everything to put you off and you'll be the same. It's no surprise that frustrations will boil over.

The result is a scrap. Scraps can go many different ways and all players will have different reactions.


It's different strokes for different folks.

1 The focused mouthpiece

We'll leave this to Colm Parkinson.

"I didn't get in fights on the field. I liked to talk a lot, I liked to get in verbal arguments, but I grew up playing in Portlaoise, who were always the strongest team in Laois," he said on The GAA Hour.

"We were always told, don't get involved in that shit, because other clubs would try and drag us down to their level. They'd hit us, and we were always told to go down. Any time I'd get hit, I'd go down, I wouldn't stand and fight."


"I refused to go in to them fights, because if I go in, I'll be followed by four lads off the other team. I was too smart to get involved in them. Because with my mouth, it's like, I can't go in. I'd say it to the lads, 'you know I can't go in' because the other team would just light on me. I didn't see any point in it."

Wooly's focus was on the game. He didn't need a fight to rev himself up, and many GAA players will feel the same way. They do their talking with the ball, and with their mouths - by getting under the skin of the opposition and they can actually instigate fights, but they will rarely talk with their fists and therefore won't get punished by the referee.

Crafty. Clever.

2 The lad who'd go to any lengths to stand up for his teammates


The scuffle could be at the other end of the field, he could have to jump off the subs' bench and leg it for 100 yards. He'll definitely have to risk being clocked by a razor-sharp opponent on the way in who'll blindside him when he gets there.

But he doesn't give a damn about that. He can't stand watching the other team, or even thinking about the other team hitting one of his teammates. He'll always be there, and he'll go through hell and high water to get there.

Mayo man and Kiltimagh footballer Conor Heneghan was that soldier in his younger days.

"If there's a young fella out there, and they're putting it up to him, don't let me see him being left on his own. Go in there and stand up to it, but of course nobody can stand up to it without throwing a few digs," he said on Thursday's GAA Hour Show.

"When I was younger, I would have been more inclined to join into that sort of thing."


Just like these two Derry lads.

They just can't help themselves. They just have to help their men.

3 The boys who are always planted in the middle of it all

A good old-fashioned GAA scuffle wouldn't be held without these lads. They're fiery, feisty campaigners. They're well able to fashion a blow, well able to give as good as they get.

They're wiry yokes on the pitch. Rising opponents gets their pulses racing, gets their blood flowing. When they meet their match, all hell will break loose and that's the start of it all.

Just like every one of these lads.

4 The lad who believes in and is proud of his teammate

He knows his comrades well. He's soldiered by their side in battles gone by. He's well aware of their capabilities. They've got it under wraps and he sees no point in getting involved and risking a card or losing his and the team's momentum.

"I avoid it completely now. I often find that the rows are started by the teams that are winning. If they've a comfortable lead, they just want to mess with the game and mess with the other team's momentum. You get dragged into it, a couple of cards and your gone," said Heneghan.

"Age has brought maturity."

Again, crafty.

5 The lad who knows where the pressure points are

Oh this boy will be involved alright. He won't make a big scene, and he won't look like a man who's done damage. But he knows what he's doing, and he'll target those weak points.

6 The wily peacemaker

This lad is clued in alright. Every facial expression, every glance over his shoulder towards the referee is one of innocence, is one of a many who's trying to put a stop to all of this mayhem.

You'll regularly see him raise his arms as if to say, 'come on lads, cop on here now.' Similarly he'll raise his eyebrows and shake his head at the linesmen.

He goes in to stop other lads from throwing punches, but often, does that by throwing a little dig himself. But he gets away with it, because, sure he's only here to put a stop to it all. He's actually the good guy.

7 The Tommy Walsh of lads

So revved up he even hit the referee.

8 The mouthy subs

These lads aren't good enough to get on the team but if they don't see you busting yourself to join the madness and throw a few skelps, they'll be ripping you to shreds.

They don't miss a thing.

"You have to go in though because there's a whole bench watching you," said Conan Doherty.

And if you don't you'll be slated in the dressing room after.

9 The last man standing

More impressive if you're standing without a shirt.

Derry's Mark Lynch, take a bow.