Emigration Hit GAA Clubs Turn to Alternative Genders, Species

Middleton, Cork – As the recession begins to bite with over 150,000 people expected to emigrate next year, local GAA clubs nationwide are facing a crisis as many of their best players head off to a better life in Canada, Australia, India, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Given the alarming shortage of fit young men aged 18-36, many clubs have been forced to turn to some rather unlikely GAA players to fill gaps in the ranks.

On the plus side, massive emigration is making gaelic games very popular in the Middle East.

On the plus side, massive emigration is making gaelic games very popular in the Middle East.

“The GAA is a very forward thinking organisation,” said Chairman of the Cork County Board Frank Murphy as he hooked a cart up to his aging horse in order to go into town to buy some leeches for his sick wife. “We have always adapted and survived when battered by the winds of change and this current crisis will not find us wanting.”

“You need look no further than Middleton GAA to see the spirit I’m talking about.”

Middleton GAA club has been particularly hard hit in recent months, so much so that the club considered withdrawing from this year’s county championship.

However, at a tempestuous meeting, 8 year-old Gemma Hegarty said that if the ould lads of the village weren’t men enough to tog out and do it for the parish, then the schoolgirls would have to provide the balls needed to get to a county final.

The Middleton team accordingly features eight members of the all-conquering U-8 camogie team.

“Oh, Gemma’s our own Joan of Arc,” said manager Matty Stakelum proudly. “You should have seen her the other day against Ballyvourney. By God, don’t they have the same problems that we have – at least half their team signed up for the French Foreign Legion last month. So who did they have at full-forward only a donkey?”

Gemma Hegarty (back row, third from left) with the other seven girls on the Middleton senior hurling panel.

Gemma Hegarty (back row, third from left) with the other seven girls on the Middleton senior hurling panel.

“Jaysus, when I saw that hoor galloping around I thought we were fucked rightly. With his pace and strength, sure, how could we hope to stop him?”

“But I sent Gemma back full-back to see what she could do, and didn’t she just climb onto his back and start ridin’ him? Then she galloped down the field like Alexander the fuckin’ Great and straight into the opposition goal.”

“Those pensioners in the Ballyvourney midfield just couldn’t keep up with her, even the one with the motorised wheelchair.”

Stakelum shook his head in amazement at the memory. “God, what I remember most about that day was her father standin’ on the sideline, roarin’ away, ‘Go on, Gemma, ride that bollix, ride him like the big fuckin’ Ballyvourney prick he is!’ That kind of close-knit family spirit is the real strength of Middleton GAA.”

Middleton has also been quite energetic in recruiting new players for its Gaelic football team.

“Yeah, we looked fair stuck, all right,” admitted Joe Walsh, manager of the senior football team. “I mean, to play football in a county championship you need big strong athletic lads, someone who can jump in the air and take a catch, then hold off the opposition tacklers long enough to get away a hand pass to a team mate.”

"They're harmless, really, but it's not a good idea to puck them in the ribs," said Stakelum.

"They're harmless, really, but it's not a good idea to puck them in the ribs," said Stakelum.

“Then, didn’t I have the idea of borrowing a couple of orangutans from Fota Island? Jaysus, those things can jump like a frog getting’ a boot up the hole from a kangaroo. And you can teach them the basic rules of the game pretty quickly with the aid of a few bananas, which is more than you can say for some of the other lads.”

“Of course, there was that incident against Kilmacross,” he added, in the low tone reserved for whispered comments at a funeral. “In fairness, that Kilmacross lad shouldn’t have tried to elbow an orangutan in the ribs while the ref wasn’t looking, but there was no call for that kind of response.”

“And trying to hand pass yer man’s head to his wife afterwards was a bit too much, even by GAA standards.”

Despite some setbacks, Middleton GAA thinks the immediate future is bright. “The country is hard hit by the emigration of its young people, but as long as we have U-8 camogie girls and orangutans, the GAA will survive,” said Matty Stakelum.

“I just don’t know what we’re going when all the girls grow up and emigrate,” he added with a sigh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: