Kevin McStay: Culture of machismo is greatest stain on the GAA

It is deemed better for a Gaelic footballer to be an assassin or a thug than soft or windy

Mayo and Meath players get acquainted with each other during the 1996 All-Ireland final replay. Photograph: Inpho

Mayo and Meath players get acquainted with each other during the 1996 All-Ireland final replay. Photograph: Inpho

I have had a week or so of holidays in Ballina. It wasn’t the best timing to return to the fatherland after the controversy of the Dublin-Mayo game. I made a mistake in my initial commentary on the John Small foul on Eoghan McLoughlin and I suppose I had a bit of a Mayo version of a Fatwa placed on me. It might have been wiser to holiday elsewhere. But back to the soft craggy boglands and tall majestic hills we went anyway.

There’s an old truism that Ireland is small. And it’s never smaller than when you want to keep the head down. As it happened, many of my old team mates were on a charity cycle around the clubs of Mayo when I was in the county. It was really the 1990s team led by Dermot Flanagan.

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