Which J1er Are You? GAA Isn’t Sport, It’s A Way Of Life For Galway Native Tadgh

Just like all J1 crews will have a Ross, an Aoife and an Aimee you can bet that ‘GAA Head’ Tadgh isn’t going to be far away…

Let’s just say that Tadgh’s interest in anything outside of making the Galway senior team is passive to say the least! Tadgh’s biggest worry of the summer is whether if all the GAA matching would be on ‘down the local’ in Boston. Of course, the first problem – getting his hurl onto a trans-Atlantic flight!

Hey Tadgh, so where did your J1 Summer start?

All my boys down in Waterford IT were signed up for last summer.  I wasn’t really interested at first, to be fair. Getting on the Galway minors panel back home is way more important! A course, that was before Declan hit me a whack on the knee with his hurl at training and near knocked it into the next field! I’m well used to the aches and pains and played on but the physio wasn’t happy with me and sent me for a scan. I was gonna be out for 3 months, my minor dreams shattered. 

I thought it best for me noggin to get away from the game instead so followed the boys in submitting my J1 application, heading to Boston.

It was a pretty sweet deal, USIT took care of all the dense stuff like flights and visas you know so I was pretty laid back through the whole process. I study Agricultural Science so I’m not too bothered by all that stuff, I let them do their thing.

How did you go about getting a job sorted?

It turned out that all that farm work growing up wasn’t gonna help me out too much when I went looking for jobs in Boston.

Luckily I worked behind the bar in Salthill GAA Club after matches, plus lashing out the pints at Electric Picnic for a couple of years. I don’t really do social media but heard that USIT were giving a J1 talk down in WIT, so I went along and got chatting to James.

James, the legend, plays for a Templeogue GAA club in Dublin. He may play for a different club but GAA is family. We look after our own so he found me a perfect Irish bar in downtown Boston. They had RTE and Setanta on some magic digibox so that was ideal!

What was your accommodation like in Boston?

Ah Boy, when I say sweet deal you have no idea! My mate for college has family in Boston and his great uncle or something owns an apartment block in the centre of Boston, a twenty-minute walk from the Irish Bar. There was three of us staying in the apartment and we all got our own rooms, pretty decent size, kitchen, living room and free wifi, I was able to stream all the GAA matches when I wasn’t working too, pure delighted!

And since we were all pally with the family he gave us like 20% off the monthly rate. All I had to do was teach him how to stick a 65 straight over the bar down at the Eagles GAA club. Easy when you know how, except the knee still wasn’t well enough to play any games.

What were the highest and lowest points of your summer?

The were so many unbelievable trips and nights throughout the summer! The only thing that could have made it better was togging out for The Eagles, who’s corner forward was cat compared to yours truly!

The last two weeks of summer myself and the boys headed to Cali, the US is only ginormous by the way! We got involved in some water sports, surfed and that and there was still time to snare a couple of birds with some hurling trick shots. they seemed more concerned about me going round with ‘a massive spoon shaped weapon’ then shooting stones into the bins but whatever, their loss!

I’ve got to mention the food.  Oh god the food! You think your granny over feeds you? Think again! Portion size in gigantic! the whole experience is phenomenal, even just learning to get by without mammy’s dinners is a life lesson!

Can’t say their were many low points aside from hearing the boys back home were dumped out of the Galway Minor Football Championship by Corofin in the quarters. Those boys are tough to beat but we’ll get them next year!

Getting refused from a Boston nightclub for wearing me Tribesmen colours the weekend of the All-Ireland Semi Final was really annoying (especially after we lost) but the lads warned me a million times to put a shirt on! 

If you could give future J1ers a bit of advice what would you tell them?

Don’t bust your knee open 2 months before flying! Make sure you contact the airline or USIT to tell them about the hurl, it avoid a disaster of having to part with Ashley (it’s not weird she has a name, tis more than just a lump of timber you know!).

Other advice I’d give anyone going over to the US this summer is to take advantage of any contacts that ya have out that direction. Getting to know the boys at Eagles GAA club through Declan’s uncle was what made the summer so special. Was grand having a knock about in the sun rather than wind and rain back home in July!

Last thing, the knee is back 100% and I’m already making waves at Salthill this season. Hopefully come September I’ll get to Croker and if ya need tickets just email me Thegalwaygamechanger@gmail.com. H’on the Tribesmen!

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