National Forum

'The People's Game'

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Replying To PoolSturgeon:  "Far fetched? It's a self evident fact! We have had over 130 years of the GAA and half the country is hurling wasteland. Ye haven't actually embraced the sport in Monaghan anyway! Barring a rich sugar daddy (and theyd want to be of the billionaire class) coming in to bankroll the promotion of hurling and building a bit of hype round it, rugby has far more potential to grow in Ireland than hurling. The young are already hooked in terms of interest...the professional organisational abilities of the IRFU could without too much effort change that passive interest into an active one over the medium to long term."
Sorry I don't see Rugby overhauling hurling any time soon. Hurling is the poor relation to gaelic football across most counties including my own. That doesn't hand rugby the initiative to outgrow hurling if you like. Gaelic football and hurling are part of the same body. They go hand in hand along with camogie and ladies football as our national sports, our identity etc.

Rugby is riding high at the moment as the Six Nations captures the public imagination as will hurling come the summer with the new super 8 style All Ireland hurling championship. The young will be hooked then as well...

Monaghan is seen as a 'gaelic football only' county where hurling is neglected but we are doing fine with the fourth smallest population in the country.

bananaskin (Monaghan) - Posts: 47 - 07/03/2018 17:30:12    2082511

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It is easy to just blame the media for rugby's disproportionate coverage, but in fairness the professionalism of the IRFU versus the amateurism of the GAA really comes through in the quality of the respective media offerings.

From experience, media outlets will pretty much run with what they are given to generate content. In this regard the IRFU are manna from heaven for journalists in the slow mid-week days between match rounds. Listen to it from Tuesday onward... Jack Conan picked up an ankle injury in training...Jordi Murphy was given the all clear for a place on the bench etc, etc. All non-stories, but they fill up the column inches and make the outcome of even trivial Pro12 league matches seem important. Its all designed to drive pre-match interest. The post-match stuff is less pervasive because they want to move on to the next round of ticket sales. And anyway nobody really cares about the result when it comes to it.

Contrast that to your typical GAA interview on a Wednesday..bull***t teams touted, being quiet in the camp seen as the ultimate virtue, the painful attempts by managers of elite counties to talk up the Div4 cannon fodder facing them on Sunday. 'Tis all on the day Marty, we have huge respect in this 50-50 game, there are a few niggles but sure we'll see.' You couldn't make a story out of it if you tried. But when its all over the bones of the match will be picked over for weeks, winners are elated and losers embittered. What else would you do, sure isn't the season nearly over by then?

Eddie the Exile (Monaghan) - Posts: 597 - 07/03/2018 17:31:16    2082512

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The sad reality is the GAA is closed off to unionists. At least rugby is open and welcoming to anyone regardless of politics. Soccer is split between the 26 and 6. So in the sense that the National Team is representative of all people of all backgrounds on the island rugby is actually the The Peoples Game.

bad.monkey (USA) - Posts: 4400 - 07/03/2018 17:31:25    2082513

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Replying To ormondbannerman:  "
Replying To WhyTheLongFace:  "Soccer is the highest participation sport among young people in Ireland

Soccer sits atop the pile with 340,070 participants across the country in 2,500 clubs.

The GAA finds itself in second place with 294, 577 registered players across 2,359 clubs.

Rugby, though growing, is a distant third with 158,685 registered players and 236 clubs.

Problem with the Gaa sport is its the only one out of the 3 that's not growing ...its decreasing in numbers and clubs. But in Dublin and other leinster areas the numbers are growing by a small fraction ! And yet the sport has grown incredibly in terms of popularity in Germany. Stuttgart, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Darmstadt and Munich are all cities which now proudly have a GAA club, with ten clubs situated around the country.

Were as Soccer is growing player numbers and new club registration.

Lets take Rugby and Gaa players ratio to club numbers .
______________________

294, 577 registered players and 2,359 clubs...would be 124 players per clubs

158,685 registered players and 236 clubs.....would be 672 players per clubs

interesting ..well kinda"
That number for rugby well not all are linked/associated/play with a club. They only play in school. Many in big rugby schools are not members of a club at least not as a playing member anyway. Like when you look at Leinster club competitions at under 14/15/16/17/18.5 and you won't see a lot of Dublin clubs competing associated many kids play in school (both fee and non fee paying schools) so much that they don't also play club Rugby"
Adult Male Players
Women Players
Secondary Schools Players
Youth Players
Mini Rugby Players
Primary School

That would be more or less correct...but i am doing the ratio out of interest more than Fact.

WhyTheLongFace (Meath) - Posts: 776 - 07/03/2018 17:38:28    2082516

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Replying To bad.monkey:  "The sad reality is the GAA is closed off to unionists. At least rugby is open and welcoming to anyone regardless of politics. Soccer is split between the 26 and 6. So in the sense that the National Team is representative of all people of all backgrounds on the island rugby is actually the The Peoples Game."
Plenty of protestants have and are playing GAA. Some have even won All-Irelands.

lilywhite1 (Kildare) - Posts: 2810 - 07/03/2018 17:42:28    2082517

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Replying To lilywhite1:  "
Replying To WhyTheLongFace:  "Soccer is the highest participation sport among young people in Ireland

Soccer sits atop the pile with 340,070 participants across the country in 2,500 clubs.

The GAA finds itself in second place with 294, 577 registered players across 2,359 clubs.

Rugby, though growing, is a distant third with 158,685 registered players and 236 clubs.

Problem with the Gaa sport is its the only one out of the 3 that's not growing ...its decreasing in numbers and clubs. But in Dublin and other leinster areas the numbers are growing by a small fraction ! And yet the sport has grown incredibly in terms of popularity in Germany. Stuttgart, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Darmstadt and Munich are all cities which now proudly have a GAA club, with ten clubs situated around the country.

Were as Soccer is growing player numbers and new club registration.

Lets take Rugby and Gaa players ratio to club numbers .
______________________

294, 577 registered players and 2,359 clubs...would be 124 players per clubs

158,685 registered players and 236 clubs.....would be 672 players per clubs

interesting ..well kinda"
Many of these soccer clubs have little or no facilities apart from a metal container to tog out in with no showers or toilets and some are little more than Sunday morning pub teams. I'm not being disparaging towards Soccer but this is simply my own observation. Rugby clubs like GAA clubs have far superior facilities to them. If this is replicated across the country then those that have decent facilities are few and far between."
you left out galvanized bucket and dock leafs :)

WhyTheLongFace (Meath) - Posts: 776 - 07/03/2018 17:49:08    2082518

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Surely every sport that people partake in are literally 'the peoples game', what else are they supposed to be?

Htaem (Meath) - Posts: 7948 - 07/03/2018 17:59:34    2082521

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Replying To lilywhite1:  "Plenty of protestants have and are playing GAA. Some have even won All-Irelands."
Sport is sport. Religion and politics should be left at the door, ideally. Sharoize Akram is a Muslim with a minor and U21 All Ireland's and rightly everyone is happy for him and pay no heed to his religion. This in a time when many have issues with that religion. I think the anti-Protestant feeling isn't so much that it's anti that religion but more that it's seen as a British religion.

GreenandRed (Mayo) - Posts: 4812 - 07/03/2018 18:58:59    2082527

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Some unionist have played GAA games in the North right thru the troubles without any difficulty- in fact the last Down team to win an All-Ireland had their full forward from that community- nobody cares what religion or politics anyone is within the GAA (although others outside may). Rugby is played by a small number of the population and it is no more the People's game than Cricket is, or indeed rounders. The GAA have the biggest playing membership and the most playing facilities (football, hurling, camogie, handball & rounders).

browncows (Meath) - Posts: 1905 - 07/03/2018 19:59:24    2082540

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I like rugby and I'll be supporting this weekend but I see a lot of parallels with Burittos - It's become more popular in recent years, its something that you can talk about at work, it has a confusing pricing system and if it all stopped in the morning, it really wouldn't make much difference to my life.

Morty (Westmeath) - Posts: 54 - 07/03/2018 20:50:24    2082556

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If the GAA continue to sit idly by and let one team absolutely swamp the rest in every facet , more and more GAA people will become alienated and bet your bottom dollar the IRFU recognises this and won't hesitate to take advantage and take over rural Ireland

37thHeaven (Kerry) - Posts: 102 - 07/03/2018 22:01:54    2082576

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Replying To 37thHeaven:  "If the GAA continue to sit idly by and let one team absolutely swamp the rest in every facet , more and more GAA people will become alienated and bet your bottom dollar the IRFU recognises this and won't hesitate to take advantage and take over rural Ireland"
Spot on. Then many GAA people will blame rugby for that. Even though setting up the Super 8s, proposing to set up a tiered intercounty system won't exactly discourage people outside the top counties to lean towards rugby.

GreenandRed (Mayo) - Posts: 4812 - 07/03/2018 22:28:39    2082587

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Rugby is the national sport of Wales. Everyone there supports their successful national rugby team massively yet playing numbers have been declining for years. The Peoples Game? Go figure.

keeper7 (Longford) - Posts: 3764 - 08/03/2018 01:41:05    2082603

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Replying To GreenandRed:  "Spot on. Then many GAA people will blame rugby for that. Even though setting up the Super 8s, proposing to set up a tiered intercounty system won't exactly discourage people outside the top counties to lean towards rugby."
Green and Red, the scenario you outline is even more likely to happen under the old provincial system. If year after year, we end up with one sided or predictable quarter final and/or semi final results (as has been threatening to become the norm), if Leinster remains uncompetitive and predictable etc , the ordinary Joe Soap will only get interested at the very latter end of the championship (say at the semi final stage if they games hold promise to be competitive). As an ordinary Joe Soap myself (who admittedly does not find the modern style of Gaelic football entertaining) that's where I am myself -- generally don't give my full attention to any Gaelic football championship game until the All Ireland semi final stage. It will be different with me this year cos our 2 counties clash on 13th May certainly is mouthwatering. I am not particularly a fan of this Super 8's idea either but if it leads to a more balanced and competitive situation later on in the championship it will improve on things. It would be wonderful if that sense of anticipation and excitement could be bottled from the old days, where 26-28 counties had dreams of winning championship silverware and of reaching an All Ireland semi final (they might have been far fetched dreams in many cases but they were dreams with some hope of realisation). But those days are gone because the gap between the strong and the weak has got too wide and it will never close. The tiered championship is really the only way to go. I have no interest at all in rugby so my heart and mind is not for turning in that direction anyway. But if the championship were to evolve from this Super 8's idea to one where the championship was more reflective of current league structures. where every team has a prospect of achieving real and tangible championship success at their level, here is one Joe Soap at least whose interest in the championship would be whetted from the start of it. I might not be your typical Joe Soap but I'm certain I'm not unique either!!!

PoolSturgeon (Galway) - Posts: 1110 - 08/03/2018 02:00:59    2082604

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I do love these threads, So many bitter anti rugby posts full of either laugh out loud nonsense or bitter illinformed nonsense

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 08/03/2018 02:23:52    2082606

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Cool story.

The point stands though.

Rugby playing numbers are miniscule in comparison to the 2 big football codes.

It's interest levels have increased it seems but way behind the big boys in terms of players and members.

MesAmis (Dublin) - Posts: 11537 - 06/03/2018 22:10:39
well you have to build interest levels to build playing numbers and members of associations.... thats basic marketing 101.
Rugby numbers are smaller but theyre growing year on year especially at age grade level through work of development officers in schools and helping clubs

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 08/03/2018 02:25:27    2082607

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While it is massive and well supported here even at club level, in terms of playing numbers soccer would be far bigger in city (limerick city soccer has around 80 adult teams) and in county hurling is king Around 70 gaa clubs versus around 14 in rugby,
weird thing about club rugby mentality in limerick when a guy moves to different area (get married etc) in rugby the kids tend to play for the dads club, in GAA more likely the local club.
As a county sportswise we are pretty ecumenical -the guys who support limerick in hurling will support munster as well and follow soccer
youngmunstersman (Limerick) - Posts: 7 - 06/03/2018 22:35:59
soccer will always have more players as its easier to play, easier to run. less physical. less specialised training required etc etc

No, not nonsense, I hear lads talking about rugby in recent years that wouldn't have spit on the game when we were the underdog. Yes GAA has bandwagon fans, especially in my own county. But mostly the core of the fanbase nationally has always been there.
I know you are defensive when it comes to rugby, but I think its pretty obvious around the towns of Ireland that GAA is far more popular.
I have been watching rugby as long as I have GAA, and I love it, but to call it the peoples game this stage, is actual nonsense.
realdub (Dublin) - Posts: 6578 - 06/03/2018 22:43:53
you use bandwagon in such a negative fashion. its ridiculous. there is no such thing as a bandwagon fan. you are either a fan of a team/sport or you are not a fan of them/it.
there is no categories. like you are not measured by your ability to support your team before you enter a ground. ive never said that GAA isnt more popular than Rugby i just disagree with the nonsense people spout about rugby here. i havent actually said that rugby is the peoples game and tbh i think phrases like "the peoples game" are just empty statements.

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 08/03/2018 02:29:49    2082608

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I think the biggest advantage GAA (and to a lesser extent football) have over rugby is in the number of female players. The IRFU estimated female playing numbers as 4,500 (personally heard it to be closer to 3,000 but we'll stick with the IRFU's figure). The LGFA claim to have 1,000 clubs / teams in Ireland alone - a massive difference, and one that helps promote GAA clubs as more a family type environment. Especially when you factor in programmes like Gaelic for Girls and Gaelic for Mothers.
One of the main arguments for rugby being so popular and one being put forward on social media is the idea that Irish rugby produces winning teams.
We've produced European and World champions in athletics, swimming, golf and cycling among others and each has higher participation rates than rugby - you'd be laughed at if you tried to claim any of those and the number one sport in the country though.
Even in football our best performance at a World Cup is no worse than it is in rugby, in fact I'd argue there's a strong case for saying we've underachieved on the world stage in rugby over the last 2 decades.
The 6 Nations will bring in big viewing figures but no more so than the national team would at the Euro's or at a World Cup, and no more than the All Ireland's would.
In terms of professionalism in the way it's administered, financed / sponsored and promoted though, along with the positive spin that seems to be very prevalent in almost all forms of media rugby is way out in front - you have to give them credit for that.
if_in_doubt (Kildare) - Posts: 3518 - 07/03/2018 00:01:06
You make an excellent point on womens rugby and from my experience of/involvement the sport playing figures would be about 4000 or so
Dont think rugby clubs arent seen as family like because they dont have womens teams but more and more clubs are fielding girls teams or at least have started girls tag/training.
GAA does have some excellent initiatives for increasing female participation in camogie/ladies football. tag rugby has slightly helped numbers in womens rugby
very good post. no hysteria or bullshit unlike many others. well reasoned and well debated post.


Every year we have this debate. Last year there was a thread on "Can GAA survive the rugby onslaught". It is getting harder to sell the GAA to the youths. But there are some things they could do:
An Gaeilge: GAA should have more Gaelic language on their site and in their clubs. One thing rugby does well is sell the idea- that they are "different". Look at the good work TG4 does for the GAA. Next Sunday 5 matches, on tv. None on TV3 or RTE.
GAA clubs should try and become hubs for Irish culture: music, coel, caint agus craic. And dancing.
galwayford (Galway) - Posts: 1118 - 07/03/2018 09:38:07
GAA clubs do that through scor. Cant see what more you want them to do in that regard.
tg4 show the games as they have the rights to show those games on sunday. rte/tv3 cant because they legally cant show them live. rte have league sunday do they not??

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 08/03/2018 02:48:59    2082609

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If by 'The People's Game' you mean the toffs of south Dublin and smatterings of the population around the island and those with the stony faces during the anthem........then yeah, it's the peoples game alright

ramor101 (Cavan) - Posts: 254 - 07/03/2018 11:07:58
why is it always cavan posters with the biggest load of nonsense in threads like this?
you've never met many people from south dublin who like rugby if you think theyre toffs and its far more than smattering of population and who gives a shit about an anthem anyway??

Ah and if you go to the club games you will find it very difficult to get in with the huge numbers of supporters trying to gain entry.
You say it is the peoples game. You could also say cricket is a peoples game!!
browncows (Meath) - Posts: 1665 - 07/03/2018 11:23:06
why so bitter about rugby? did a rugby ball hit you in the face as a kid??

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 08/03/2018 02:51:20    2082610

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I don't have a clue about playing numbers for hurling but to say Rugby has far more potential for growth than it nationally seems a bit far fetched.
bananaskin (Monaghan) - Posts: 42 - 07/03/2018 12:18:47
why is that? How much will hurling ever develop in tyrone? donegal? Rugby is far more similar to gaelic in many aspects than hurling and more transferable skills so the many gaelic playing areas are great growth for rugby.

A sport that has one professional outfit in the east of the country, one in the west, one in the south and one in the north. And at the same time it's own club scene is collapsing.
Seems to me like the GAA is trying to follow the IRFU model instead of being threatened by it.
Greenfield (Meath) - Posts: 279 - 07/03/2018 12:30:05
club game in rugby isnt at all collapsing. care to expand on that??

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 08/03/2018 02:53:41    2082611

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