Inter-county management can look a lot easier than it actually is. While most of us will never get the chance to take the reins of a county team — as much as we might like to — there is now an opportunity to get a taste of the real thing.
A new venture, Fantasy Gaelic, is giving people a chance to try it out and test themselves against some of the big names in Gaelic football, like our own Colm O'Rourke, Joe Brolly, Paul Galvin and Eoin Cadogan.
The interactive game launched a couple of weeks ago is proving popular amongst the GAA community and the Sunday Independent is now on board to monitor their progress.
Each week we will publish an experts’ leaderboard showing how GAA stars past and present are faring against each other.
There is also an opportunity to pick your inter-county fantasy football team and enter the Sunday Independent League to take on Colm O’Rourke and our team of Gaelic games writers, Damian Lawlor, Dermot Crowe and Marie Crowe. (The Fielder has been making the most of the fine weather last week, but he too took time out to enter.)
And if you can take on, and beat our team, you may well be in line for a fabulous prize. Because the person who tops the Sunday Independent league table* will win two tickets to the All-Ireland football final and an overnight stay in a Dublin hotel. There will be three other runners-up prizes, including signed county jerseys.
All you need to do to join our league and challenge our team is register on fantasygaelic.ie, select Dublin in the county menu and Sunday Independent in the club section. To date, almost 10,000 people have signed up to play this free game, including players from international clubs in the United States, Australia, China, Singapore, Europe and South America.
Fantasy Gaelic is a simple concept loosely based of the popular Premier League model.
Each player picks 15 footballers — no more than two from any one county — and although it's tempting to pick all forwards, the players can only be selected in their designated positions: one goalkeeper, six backs, two midfielders and six forwards.
A substitution window will open for one week before the All-Ireland quarter-finals when unlimited changes can be made, and then it's game on again.
Predicting the All-Ireland finalists early would be a savvy move as appearing in Croke Park on the fourth Sunday in September yields 20 points. Notably the All-Ireland qualifiers don't count so unless a team are a sure thing to get past the first round, they are best avoided. As with the Premier League version, team captains are awarded double points. All scoring information can be found on fantasygaelic.ie.
There are prizes of two tickets to the 2013 All Star awards, a signed All Star jersey and an Azzurri team kit for the overall individual winner on Fantasygaelic.ie — and when you enter the Sunday Independent League, you are automatically entered into the overall Fantasy Gaelic league too.
And the top club also gets a team kit and an All Star jersey. The winning club team will be determined by the highest points accumulated by a GAA club over the course of the season. It's the combination of all the club representatives' points, so players support their clubs by playing in their club league. Office, private and charity leagues can be set up.
So, join our league before 1.30pm Sunday, May 19 on fantasygaelic.ie to make sure you’re in time to have the three games included.
* The winner will be the person who is top of the Sunday Independent League when the tables are published by Fantasygaelic.ie on Tuesday, September 3, two days after the second All-Ireland football semi-final. The All-Ireland football final does not count in this league. If one of the semi-finals is a draw, and the replay is fixed for a date after September 3, the League cut-off date WILL be extended to include the replay. The competition rules are outlined on Fantasygaelic.ie. In the event of a tie, lots will be drawn. The sports editor’s decision is final.