The All-Ireland Finals are edging ever closer, and with them the sweet scent of GAA glory. With some of the biggest days out in the Gaelic Games calendar still on the way, we wanted to share with you some associations with the GAA brought to you by Pundit Arena.
1. The Sunday Game
Ah the Sunday Game. You know the championship has well and truly begun when the show of the summer returns to the television. Whatever about the games, we’re guaranteed entertainments from Brolly, Farrell and co. The Sunday Game also signals that school’s out and if you’re from the country it’s almost silage season; sure what else would you be at?
2. Sunshine supporters
The championship brings out the best (and worst) of people. You’re one of the dedicated followers of the local or county GAA team, attending matches regularly all season. Then you have those who come out of the woodwork around All-Ireland Quarter-Final time. Where were they all year? They’re the very ones then who will land themselves with tickets to the All-Ireland Final. Bandwagoners!
3. Hang Sangwidges
Often seen being consumed on the side of the road from the back of a car; a regular sight in Thurles on match day. The ham sandwich is an important ritual for some to bring to a game. There is normally a flask of tea floating around and maybe a KitKat or two.
4. Getting there
By some miracle you’re county team has made it to Croke Park. Where will you park? Will I park as near as I can to the gate so I can get out quicker? Or will I park five miles away so that by the time I walk there I’ll get out no bother? Sure we might take the train altogether, save us the hassle.
Ok, so you’ve decided to drive to Dublin from the country. You’re on the motorway and you remember the toll. Cue scrambling for change in your pockets while still trying to drive, and asking everyone in the car have they got any change. After sorting out the toll you then realise it may not have been the only thing you forgot about. DID WE BRING THE TICKETS!? Yeah, they’re sitting in the glove compartment, calm yourself. Panic over.
5. The Championship haircut
It’s a week before the championship, you’ve sorted the gear, you know the jaffa cakes will be on hand at half time and there’s only one thing left to do; go and get the championship haircut. This is a ritual to many GAA players. The championship haircut signifies that an important time is coming and you must look your best. Short back and sides; leave a bit on the top. Often a tight haircut.
6. The Announcements
No matter what Gaelic ground you find yourself in nine times out of ten on the big match days there’s an announcement that goes like this: ‘Attention please, we have been notified that there is a lost child. He is 9 years old, wearing a Mayo jersey and answers to the name of John.’ There’s always one.
On the supporters bus, on the streets and most importantly on the terrace. The Hills of Donegal, the Fields of Athenry and the Green and Red of Mayo are all common to the ears of the GAA public. It’s almost compulsory that you join in for a verse or two.
8. The Referee
The ref puts up with a lot on match day. Sentences such as ‘go to Specsavers ref’, ‘save a few cards for Christmas’ and ‘ah ref, would you throw on a jersey there’ can all be heard on match day. If the public think he’s done a particularly bad job or made one or two rash decisions then he might have to be escorted off while listening to the losing teams cursing and jostling at him.
9. Things you hear aul lads say
The list is endless for this one. The things you hear at a GAA match, whether that be championship or Junior C league matches, will never be forgotten. You then have the post-mortem of the game and this has been known to last at least an hour on the way home. Favourites include;
‘Milk would turn faster than him’
‘He’s taking his time with that kick out, any longer and he’ll be over age!’
10. Hats, flags and headbands.
This one pretty much explains itself. There’s always someone selling the county colours.
The Dublin Skylon Hotel is within walking distance to Croke Park Stadium and we offer on-site parking for all guests of the Skylon. For more information please visit www.dublinskylonhotel.com for more information.