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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 19 June, 2019

10 major memories of being a Minor at 17 in Ireland

How many do you remember?

1. Prioritising the football and hurling over the exams

You can repeat the Leaving but you can’t repeat the last year of Minor. We’ve all been there.

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2. Ducking out of your debs early

The ultimate definition of dedication at 18; walking away from your date and your friends at the debs. Just ask some of the Clare hurlers and footballers.

“The week before Clare played the 2010 All­Ireland minor final, their joint managers, Gerry O’Connor and Donal Maloney, found themselves on the horns of a dilemma,” Damien Lawlor writes in Fields of Fire.

“No fewer than 25 of the squad were graduating from St Flannan’s just days before the big match. The clash of dates ­­ sporting as well as romantic ­­ had the coaches in a tizzy. It was [Podge] Collins who came up with the compromise: let the lads collect their dates at eight, sup mineral water all evening and be tucked up in bed by half past midnight.”

3. The support of your family

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They’ll drive you to training, wash your gear, wait for you in A&E and have the dinner on the press when you get in late. Parents should get a medal too.

4. Coming up against a lad a lot bigger than you

Gulp.

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Source: Denis Hurley

5. Giving the ball to that bigger player as often as possible when he's on your team

"Give it to Mikey!"

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Source: Paraic English

6. Listening to a manager who thought he was Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday

The parish, the town, your families are expecting victory. No biggie.

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7. Swapping jerseys to boost the collection at home

Kerry players celebrate after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Source: INPHO/James Crombie

8. Getting carried away in celebrating your first title win with the county

The Kerry team celebrate Source: James Crombie/INPHO

9. The ritual of it

Tightening the studs, cleaning the boots, packing the bag the night before, the smell of Deep Heat, your teammates’ superstitions.

A view of some kit bags Source: Tom Honan/INPHO

10. Being part of a team

Win, lose or draw, you’ve gone through the minor championship rite-of-passage together.

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The Electric Ireland GAA Minor Championship is anything but Minor. These players are embarking on their adult life, many are about to finish school and start college, they have hopes and dreams and ambitions, but for this one moment in time, the Electric Ireland Minor Championships is the major thing in their lives.

Source: Electric Ireland/YouTube

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