5 sporting bores to avoid

Fans watch Erik van Rooyen tee off the 2nd hole on the final day of the 2018 Irish Open, at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co. Donegal. INPHO/OISIN KENIRY

By Dave Hannigan

The League of Ireland bore. Also known as the long-suffering League of Ireland fan. Usually to be found traversing the highways and byways on a bus to the Sligo Showgrounds or to Derry, proclaiming loudly and almost convincingly that he’s having a great time and much more fun than the saddoes who fly to Manchester and London and Liverpool every weekend to watch the Premier League. Often to be found fighting his corner on behalf of his heroes online, and basking in the reflected glory now that half the Irish squad are players he first saw as young fellas in Dalyer or Turner’s Cross or Oriel Park. Ownership of a season ticket to any of those venues permits the holder to pontificate about the appalling standard of international football, the idiocy of barstool fans, and to talk (mostly legitimately) about how their beloved league is mistreated by those who run the sport in Ireland. Which he does, endlessly.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

[caption id="attachment_98531" align="alignnone" width="300"]

Shelbourne's Wes Hoolahan, left, with Keith Fahy of St. Patrick’s Athletic in 2005, before they were signed by English clubs and capped for the Republic of Ireland. INPHO/MORGAN TREACY[/caption]

The Gaelic football bore. Also known as the Gaelic football modernist. This sad, deluded character will insist to anybody who listens that the game is somehow better now than before. In his mind, those great Kerry teams of the seventies and eighties weren’t all that great. No, this current edition of the sport, the one in which passes back and across the field for minutes at a time represents serious progress because the players are now thinking more about what to do with the ball. When you point out that this thinking rarely involves kicking a ball forward anymore, the Gaelic football bore will tut-tut and point out that you don’t understand how sophisticated (another word for impossible to watch) that the game has become. He may then hit you with a ream of statistics (the last refuge of every bore) and also add that players of other eras were fatter and smaller and slower and that the high-speed handpass festivals of today are actually far superior entertainment.

[caption id="attachment_98532" align="alignnone" width="300"]

Kerry captain Jimmy Deenihan lifting the Sam Maguire in 1981. INPHO/BILLY STICKLAND[/caption]

The hurling bore. Also known as the hurling snob. Spends a lot of time looking down his nose at other codes, especially those within the GAA and, generally, carries a supercilious air about him as he pontificates about the greatness of the stick and ball game. When not lambasting others, he likes to tweet or write or shout about how magnificent hurling is. This is usually done in the immediate aftermath of a Munster championship match or an All-Ireland final and involves simply repeating phrases like, “Hurling, there’s nothing like it in the world!” The only thing that riles up this character is when you ask him why it scarcely exists in most of the island of Ireland and has never grown outside the eight or nine counties who take it seriously. Not to mention asking him what’s the point of something as ridiculously self-indulgent and plain crass as the Fenway Park version of the code.

[caption id="attachment_98533" align="alignnone" width="300"]

Galway's Johnny Coen, left, and T.J. Reid of Kilkenny during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final Replay in the summer of 2018. INPHO/JAMES CROMBIE[/caption]

The rugby bore. Also known as the alickadoo. Or at least that was the popular term back in the days when there were four serious rugby internationals per calendar year, the inter-provincial series was watched by 300 or 400 people in sheepskin jackets with hip flasks built in to the lining. Nobody calls them alickadoos anymore, probably because there are too many of them, rugby now creaking under the weight of supersized players and a bandwagon that is overloaded with chancers who discovered an oval ball game existed sometime around the invention of the European Cup in the late 1990s. The rugby bore has a rather Trumpian distinctive speech pattern. Every single player to wear the green of Ireland, the red of Munster or the blue of Leinster in the past two decades is a legend or an icon, every fixture involving any of those teams is the “biggest” ever.

[caption id="attachment_98534" align="alignnone" width="300"]

Munster’s Andrew Conway in possession in a Pro14 game against Leinster at Thomond Park, Limerick, in December 2017. INPHO/BILLY STICKLAND[/caption]

The golf bore. Also known as….actually, there’s no other way to describe him because he’s too dull to deserve any other description. The golf bore can while away days of his life watching televised tournaments from every corner of the planet, telling punters in pubs to shush when an important putt is about to be taken. As if the lad with the club in his hand in Dubai or Augusta can actually hear the noise. This chap has spent so long watching golf that he believes himself to be on first name terms with the greatest players, peppering his comments with references to “Sergio,” “Rory,” “Dustin,” as if they were guys who he tees it up with on a Sunday morning (caution: never, ever; ask him about his own performances on the course unless you are looking to fall asleep). Once a year, he puts on his best golf outfit to attend the Irish Open to meet with his fellow bores.

Dave Hannigan writes about sports each week in the