Friday 6 December 2019

'I've often seen rugby players drinking and smoking at 4am' - Former Tipp star slams GAA culture

Kieran Bergin of Tipperary lifts the trophy in 2016
Kieran Bergin of Tipperary lifts the trophy in 2016

Former Tipperary hurler Kieran Bergin has hit out at how modern day GAA players are treated, claiming if he was 18 again he would not choose to be a hurler.

In a no-nonsense interview with the Irish Daily Star Bergin, who retired from the Premier panel last month, said that the level of commitment is "ridiculous" and that some of the rules around drinking and socialising made him feel like a child.

"The level of commitment they are asking is basically give up drink for the entire year," he told the Star.

"No other sport is asking you to do that. If I was 18, you want to socialise, and someone says we have a game in eight or 10 weeks, we have to get off the beer.

"Sure, it's absolutely ridiculous."

Bergin added that he regularly sees rugby players out drinking and smoking just days before they have a big match while GAA players are told no drink weeks ahead of a fixture.

"Rugby players, I know they are full time. They can afford to go to the sauna in the morning and sweat it (alcohol) out of them," he added.

But, I've often been out in Dublin and seen the rugby players out to four and five o'clock in the morning, and a Heineken Cup game the next week - drinking and smoking."

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2016 All Ireland winner Bergin also highlighted his own run ins with management during his career.

"Numerous times I was approached by the management and they said, 'Kieran, we are after hearing your car was parked outside Coppers'.

"To which I'd replay, 'yeah, you have a great source there because one, there is no parking on that street, and two, why would I drive over to Coppers'?

"I don't know, are they trying to cod you, or is there a lack of trust between 'em. You are treated like a complete child."

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