From father to son

The GAA has lots of quirky things in its make-up. Topics and questions that make people quiz themselves and smile and wonder aloud.

Over the past 125 years there

have been many thought provoking

questions that have done the rounds;

One is to name the players who won all-stars in both the backs and the forwards? Another is to name the fathers and sons that have both won all-stars?

There have been quite a few in both those categories, however, a more unusual situation is one where a father and his son or sons both line out in the championship on the same team.

It would have to be a club team obviously.

Any county side that has to resort to playing a father and son in competitive action might as well throw their hat at it and pack it in. They won’t be winning anything, unless it was in darts.

One such combination of a father and son at club level this summer will be Brian Silke (40 ) and his son Cathal (18 ) who will see action together for the Corofin (Co. Galway ) Intermediates this summer.

Unless the younger, not the elder, is promoted to the senior ranks before then.

They have already played four or five league games this year and according to Cathal, playing with your father is; - “Ahem. Well, kind of un-usual. It also means a lot of extra covering behind him, as Dad’s pace is not what it used to be”.

In the league games that they have played at Intermediate level this year, Brian who won an All-Ireland for the Galway minors back in 1986 and added a senior medal to his collection in 1998, has been lining out at centre back, with Cathal who sits his Leaving Cert in St Jarlath’s college next month lining out at full-back.

If things get hot during a game at least Cathal can say, “Daddy, daddy, help me out here!”.

It might psyche the full-forward out a bit if he saw his marker’s daddy coming in to have a wee quitetword.

"Pops" is not impressed with such a scenario or possibility.

“You obviously wouldn’t like to see any of the young players on the team getting into any hassle and as an older member of the squad you have to keep things calm and don’t let anything boil over.

“As a parent of one of the players, you see things in a different perspective, however all you try and do is to go out and play as well as you can in your own position. The team has a team manager to make the calls and make whatever decisions are required. Once you cross the line you are just another player, the same as anyone else.”

At 41 next birthday, how long more does he see himself playing at senior adult level with the club?

“As long as I can and am still enjoying it, I’ll stay playing. We are finding it hard to get numbers at Intermediate level, so there is still a place for me on the team. We also have a Junior team, so you can re-grade to that level too, if needs be”.

Brian’s second son - of four - is 16 this year and he has asked him to stay playing so that he can play on the same adult team with him too.

“It would be nice to stay injury free and keep your place, however you can’t take anything for granted so you just take it one day at a time. With the four lads all involved in gaelic football and soccer it is hard to be at all the different games they play and keep yourself in shape too. It can be very busy going from game to game and training to training, however it is all good”.

There is a history of playing longevity in Corofin and when one considers that Gerry Burke and Ollie Burke won All-Ireland senior club titles in 1998 - 22 years after they won All-Ireland minor titles in 1976 - elder players have a very high standard to live up to in the club.

Brian is quick to point out how some of the most important members in the club also do some magnificent work many years after they first started doing so.

“We are fortunate in Corofin that we have terrific men like James Collins, - former chairman of the club, John Joe Forde - our top Lotto ticket seller every week who still do Trojan work even though they are slightly over the pension age”.

“Playing is a pleasure, and it is great to still be able to do so. Playing with your son in the starting fifteen is nice too and something to look back on with family pride. I have probably felt like an old stager for the past few years even before he arrived into the same dressingroom.

“I was Cathal’s manager this year too at U21 level, however to be out there playing with him is far better than being on the sideline. There is no point in making any long term decisions, only to enjoy the moment.”

Footnote:

Other father and son combinations that have played with their clubs at adult level in Galway include, Seamus Glynn (Father ) and his sons Rory and Eanna from Caherlistrane. And Stephen Joyce (Father ) and his son Eoin who played together in an Intermediate county championship final a few years ago.

If you know of any other father and sons who played on the same adult team, email [email protected] with the details.

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