Tomás O'Sé and Colm Cooper can add their name to list of players who have been disciplined by their Countys for apparently breaking rules regarding drinking. So the names of one the most famous families in GAA history & the name of one of the most celebrated players in a generation go alongside the names of pretty much in the entire Donegal panel in the Naughty Boys Club.
Attitudes towards drinking by GAA players during the Championship season is something that rears its head every season. But usually the Kerry stars steer well clear of that type of behaviour. This is an issue which seems to effect some counties more than others. Keith Duggan, in today's Irish Times, writes about the sensational reports about the the social dimension of Donegal teams have dogged them throughout the decade. The tales of a Behanesque pub-crawl in Dublin after a draw in the quarter final in 2002 are legenardy. Yet again though to Donegal players have been dropped from the panel for breach of discipline Neil Gallagher & Ciaran Bonner have been suspended by John-Joe Doherty for boozing it up.
Knowing Donegal as I do, and having witnessed first hand some players enjoying themselves thoroughly on nights out during the Championship I can understand where this reputation comes from. But it is hard not to feel sympthay for the squad. I mean Letterkenny has five massive niteclubs. The Grill, The Pulse, Voodoo, Milan, The Orchard and numerous late night bars all competing with each other to get the crowd in. Plus with the streams and streams of hen parties that flock to the town on a weekend from all over Northern Ireland, it must be hard for a young impressionable GAA star not to use his local fame to good effect.
Also it begs the question, if the GAA players were professional would this trend cease or just grow? Players would be less inclined to down pints in Voodoo Lounge if they were to be docked a few weeks wages.
When questioned about this recently a former Donegal County star said; "Jeez hi, i dunno sir, but that doll over there is fine." She wasn't.
Anyway Kerry take on Antrim this weekend without Cooper & O'Sé, while Donegal play Galway in Sligo. Both should be pretty tasty encounters with places in the All-Ireland Quarter Finals up for grabs. There'll be serious celebrations tonight in the towns and villages of the winning Counties. The losers will just drown there sorrows and dream of Sam coming home next year.