Sunday 15 December 2019

Movie industry missing a trick by ignoring Gaelic Games

Chairman of the Gaelic Players Association Dónal Óg Cusack
Chairman of the Gaelic Players Association Dónal Óg Cusack

Donny Mahoney

For all the teeth-gnashing about the GAA selling its soul to Rupert Murdoch and Sky, it is my sincere hope that the extension of the GAA's parish boundaries via online streaming will have some role in rekindling Hollywood's long-lost interest in Gaelic games.

The sports film is a dying animal, made redundant by nostalgic documentaries which allow the characters in sports drama to tell their own stories. Yet the fact that no one has tried to make a modern GAA film is enough to give one hope.

It's surprising to learn that Gaelic games – primarily hurling – popped up in American cinema, first seemingly as evidence of Ireland as a violent, backwards place and then eventually as an audio-visual tourist reel.

But after the George Cookson's 1958 film 'Rooney', which features scenes shot at the 1957 All-Ireland final, Hollywood seems to have given up on the GAA.

Contemporary films surely do Gaelic games no service. The hurling match played at the beginning of 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' is an insult to the gam in Cork and would surely have Christy Ring spinning in his grave.

Most recently in the film 'Blitz', action thug Jason Stratham likened hurling to a "mixture of hockey and murder" before levelling a pair of car thieves with his stick.

There are potentially great films to be made about the GAA: dramas like the Donal Óg Cusack story or horror movies like how Louth lost the 2010 Leinster final.

These stories simply require the vision of an auteur. If you stream it, they will come.

Irish Independent

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