The Hurling Snob And 19 Other Irish Sports Fans

Sports fans come in many different shapes and sizes. Here we give you 20 different kinds of sports fans who make up our beloved sporting public…

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1. The Nostalgic lad

Worships at the altar of Kerry 1975-86, Muhammad Ali and George Best. Finds it hard to believe that Messi could possibly be better than Pele. Mike Gibson and Dick Milliken keep Brian O’Driscoll out of his all-time Irish XV. Thinks that Con Houlihan is the greatest writer of all time. Has repeated that quote about Paddy Cullen running back to his goal-line in ’78 “like a woman who smells a cake burning in the oven” approximately 1,450 times.

Reads: Always asks for The Irish Press in the newsagents only to be told it shut down in 1995. Ends up getting the Indo, though as far as he’s concerned it’s shite.

Quote: “Mick O’Connell/ Jack O’Shea/ Sean Purcell/ Mikey Sheehy was a mighty player. That Aidan O’Shea/ MacCauley/ Colm Cooper/ Bernard Brogan lad isn’t a patch on him now”

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2. The Cynic

This man is fond of blaming everything on officialdom. He rolls his eyes knowingly whenever (and I mean whenever) there is a draw in a GAA match. He is generally obsessed with money and the salaries of people within sport, namely, John Delaney, Giovanni Trapattoni, all footballers in the Premiership and all GAA inter-county managers. He is also suspicious of high profile GAA players who go around to clubs handing out medals, believing that there “must be a few pound in it for them.” He believes that the Kilkenny hurlers were the dirtiest team in history and that Brian Cody had all the refs in his pocket. Did not take a side during the Saipan business preferring instead to blame the whole thing on the FAI in general.

Reads: Nothing

Quote: “It’ll be a draw now, wait til you see”

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3. The Corporate Lad

Miraculously always manages to end up at the big matches. Divides his time between Celtic Park, Old Trafford, Croke Park, the Aviva and the K Club. Usually knows at least two or three people intimately involved in the banking scandal. He owns about 25 golf umbrellas all of which are sponsored by various building societies and financial institutions. He loves the Ryder Cup Weekend more than anything else in the world.

Reads: All the Sunday papers, the Irish Independent during the week

Quote: “Look, no one forced anyone to buy a house”

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4. Sky Sports Lad

Has Sky Sports News on the TV the way Wall Street types have Bloomberg on. He appears to be under the impression that the game of football began in 1992. Has developed an increasing respect for Gary Neville over the past couple of years and will even comment on YouTube videos saying something like: “I have to say, Gary Neville is talking a lot of sense here and that’s coming from a Liverpool fan.”Doesn’t tend to watch the GAA until the Dubs get to at least an All-Ireland semi-final. Is unaware of the hurling or football League as an entity. He is aware of the League of Ireland but has no time for it.

Reads: The Star

Quote: “We’ve (United) the Scousers coming up this weekend…imagine listening to that lot if they beat us” (in a broad Dublin accent)

Where From: Has colonised a large part of the country but is particularly prominent in the commuter belt around Dublin.  Interestingly, there is a huge overlap between Sky Sports man and Breakfast Roll man, the man who helped Bertie Ahern to three successive election victories.

5. The League of Ireland Fan

A romantic, almost heroic individual, he is sensitive to the slights of those who are not League of Ireland people. Advances the claims of League of Ireland men wherever and whenever possible. Frequently (over)uses the phrase “real football people”. Speaks about the old Shamrock Rovers ground in Milltown as if it were a cross between the San Siro and the Maracana.

Reads: The Extratime.ie website

Quote: “They should never have gotten rid of Brian Kerr”

Where From: Particularly prominent in Dundalk and Derry

Gets misty eyed thinking about this old place

6. The Spanish Football snob (Busily morphing into the German football snob)

This man hates nothing more than middling, mediocre Premiership teams. Frequently alludes to simple, harmless English clubs like “West Brom”, “Stoke” and “Middlesborough” in pejorative terms, using the very names of these clubs as a byword for all that is “ignorant” and “cultureless” in modern life. By contrast, he will speak about a club like “Rayo Vallecano” with something approaching reverence. He pronounces the team name ‘Espanyol’ “Ethpanyol.”

Reads: Sid Lowe, Raphael Honigstein and various intellectual tomes on Spanish sport

Quote: “No, you were watching West Brom and Swansea I suppose?”

7. The Girl who only likes Rugby

A devoted follower of the Irish rugby team and the Heineken Cup since about the year 2000. Her favourite player is invariably Tommy Bowe. Doesn’t like soccer players, often remarking that they go down too easily. She doesn’t object to the GAA in quite the same way but her interest is only sparked if her county is doing well or if one her work colleagues/ college friends is on a team.

Reads: Twitter and Facebook posts

Quote: “Who’s Simon Geoghegan?”

Where From: The cliché here would be to say Dublin 4 but, in truth, this creature has spread like wildfire across the whole country since the around the turn of the millennium

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8. The Lad Who Sticks His Head Into Interviews

This individual’s favourite hobby is standing militantly beside the Man of the Match when he is being interviewed after the game. Whereupon, he will either roar loudly in approval at everything his hero has said or stare blankly into the camera as if he has never seen one before. Entirely a creature of the GAA and one whose day may have come and gone thanks to GAA safety regulations. Blindingly partisan and generally a bit of a “yahoo” merchant, his analysis does not usually rise above the ‘Up For The Match’ levels. He is the type of insane local clubman who referees live in mortal fear of. He is the bane of the RTE sideline reporter’s life.

Reads: The match programme, but only the middle page where the team lineout is printed and occasionally, if the ref is, in his eyes, making a bollocks of it, he will check to see who he is so he can abuse him more personally. After about 20 minutes the programme is rolled up and stuffed in his back pocket, never to be read again. He’s not interested in the nostalgic shite in it.

Quote: “Aaahhh Boy Seanie McMahon Boyyyy!!!”

9. The Left-winger

Is a supporter of every Spanish club that comes from a region with secessionist ambitions. The more obscure the club, the better. Has a special love of Athletic Bilbao. Used to like Barcelona more but they’ve gone a bit mainstream. Makes a point of supporting Boca Juniors against River Plate. Admires hurling from afar without ever really immersing himself in the game. Is baffled by the rise of rugby in the last ten years. Despises Real Madrid.

Reads: Books on Basque culture, anything by Jimmy Burns

Quote: “I see Franco’s men are trying to buy the League again.”

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His brethren, the oppressed folk of Bilbao

10. The Real Dub GAA fan

Arguably the most fanatical GAA creature on the island and extremely anxious to prove he is different from the stereotype of Dublin fans. Parnell Park is his second home and he usually coaches about three kids teams. An increasing number of this category are now fluent Irish speakers. Never fails to remind everyone that he would prefer to see the hurlers do well than the footballers.

Reads: The Hogan Stand website

Quote: “There’s people getting tickets who haven’t been to a game all year”

Where From: Fairview/ Marino/ Castleknock

11. The Anti-Nationalist

His favourite hobby is reminding everyone at every available opportunity how little he cares about Celtic. He also thoroughly despises the GAA and enjoys being loudly pessimistic about the fate of the Irish football and rugby teams. Will tend to watch the BBC coverage of sporting events rather than RTE because you get “a more balanced, impartial view”. Will usually leave a status update on the eve of an England World Cup game saying something like: “People go on with this anti-English shite when it comes to the World Cup yet they support English club teams. Pathetic.”

Reads: The Daily Telegraph

Quote: “I wouldn’t be a fan of Rangers either now”

12. The Barfly

Only a sports fan because that’s what happens to be on the telly in the pub the whole time. Ends up watching a lot of ‘At The Races’ by default. Doesn’t tend to have much interest in saying anything insightful but likes to drop in a few commonplace observations to prove he’s still there and still alive. Sport is only useful as a crutch for conversation. Once had an All-Ireland ticket and was all set to go but decided half an hour before the throw in that he was happier at the bar.

Reads: Will ask the lad sitting beside him to give him a look at the paper. If it’s the Star or the Indo he’ll squint at it for a few minutes. If it’s The Irish Times, he’ll realise his mistake and hand it back to its owner immediately.

Quote: “Kilkenny are hard beat. Great hurlers”

13. The Pessimistic Mother

Predominantly a western phenomenon. Women in the West of Ireland born between 1800 and 1965 have a claim to being among the most fatalistic people on the planet. They never believe that Ireland will win. Spain/The All Blacks will hammer them and Liechtenstein/Namibia are just waiting in the long grass to surprise them. Moreover, whenever the opposing team strolls across the halfway line with the ball (even with the Irish defenders all in position), she will hiss and groan as if a goal is imminent. Intriguingly, the males in her family often regard her as bad luck, believing her negativity impacts upon their team’s performance. In more superstitious households, she has even been blamed on occasion for Ireland conceding goals.

Reads: Does not “read” anything sports-related and more than likely never will

Quote: “They’ll lose it now, wait til you see”

The  Pessimistic Mother was happy with a point from this game

14. The Yank

Likes baseball, basketball and American football. Only watches sports on dodgy streams on the internet. Pronounces the word defence “dee-fence” with the emphasis on the first syllable. Uses the word “clutch” with incredible frequency. A fiend for statistics. Usually good with computers, oddly enough.

Reads: Sport Illustrated, Grantland.com, anything Bill Simmons writes

Quote: “Le Bron is a great player but Kobe is more clutch”

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15. The Armchair Director of Football

Has great faith in the power of formations and throws them around liberally like mathematical equations, the more exotic and byzantine sounding the better. All that a manager has to do to prove that he’s an imbecile in the Armchair Director of Football’s eyes is play 4-4-2. Relentlessly counter-intuitive and always plugged into the zeitgeist. He fires around terms like ‘catenaccio’, ‘regista’ and ‘trequartista’ with bewildering regularity. He is usually a Europhile with no time for the likes of David Moyes and has a complete disdain for the reputation of Martin O’Neill. Regardless of stats, achievements or trophies he will always believe that a European manager is better than a British or Irish manager.

Reads: The Guardian, Zonal Marking

Quote: “Ferguson only won two European Cups in 20 years. That says it all”

16. The Gambler

A brilliant collector of insider tittle-tattle. Is often crestfallen if a team gets a late goal to put some respectability on a scoreboard and feels a flash of anger when the co-commentator expresses his satisfaction that the losing team salvaged some consolation from the game. He is always quick to give minority sports their due. For instance, has become a big fan of 20/20 Cricket and Snooker in recent times.

Reads: The Racing Post, All bookies websites, The Star

Quote: “It’s a Wicklow Junior quarter final. They’re priced at evens but I know for a fact that half of the lads on the team they’re playing were struck down with food poisoning the other day. You know what to do.”

17. The Man United Kid

Often a son of Sky Sports Lad, the kid is impatient for success. His 1980s equivalent was a Liverpool supporter. Could be facing an identity crisis in the next few years. His lowest moment in all right thinking people’s minds was when he and his ilk packed out the Aviva for this match (below), one of the worst, most shameful sporting events in history, and I include the 1936 Olympics in that. His Dad brought him to this game. The Dad is worse again.

Reads: The Manchester United Facebook page

Quote:“The League of Ireland is shit, isn’t it Da?”

 

18. The Computer Game Nut

Is unable to watch a football match without referencing how well one or more of the players on the pitch has done for him in Championship Manager. Similar to the Armchair Director of Football, he believes that there is no football problem that can’t be solved by a snazzy new formation. Will frequently insist that Championship Manager is as difficult as managing in real life but in the next breath will inform you that he has just won his third Champions League in a row with Barnsley.

Reads: Cheat manuals

Quote: “Your man is awful slow in FIFA”

19. The Fantasy Football obsessive

Will scream out in frustration when the team he ostensibly supports rams home the fourth goal in a 4-0 win because he left the scorer of said goal on the subs bench the evening before the game. Has no time for patient, subtle midfield players who don’t either score heavily or lob balls into the box excessively thereby claiming an assist.

Reads: The Premier League website statistics page

Quote: “I had the fucker as captain for five straight weeks and he didn’t score. Soon as I drop him…”

20. The Hurling Snob

An individual who’s been attracting a lot of comment recently. Never fails to remind everyone at every available opportunity that hurling is the greatest game in the world. Unafraid of using superlatives after games. Engages in contests with fellow hurling people to utter the most extreme superlative after a good match. Uses the word “manly” a lot.

Reads: Donal Og Cusack on the GAA website and Vincent Hogan in the Irish Independent

Quote: “We need a different rulebook for hurling than there is in football”

Where From: All hurling counties but the Cork branch of this brigade is the most vocal

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