It’s the story the entire country is talking about and podcasting duo, The 2 Johnnies have ensured everyone is fascinated by the GAA catfish saga.
Over the course of two podcast episodes, the Tipperary natives issued a cautionary tale, revealing the details of a serial catfisher who is believed to have been in contact with over 30 men, including host Johnny B.
A catfish is someone who sets up a fake online profile in order to trick people – usually those looking for love. Often, this is a way to scam people out of money but that does not seem to be the case with the GAA catfish.
In episodes 222 and 223 of, Johnny B O’Brien, better known as Johnny B, shared his catfish story with listeners in what the pair dubbed ‘the story of the GAA catfish’.
Johnny B explained he had been messaging a woman he met online last year, detailing a complex web of connections, Instagram accounts and stories from other men in the first half of the two-part series.
After sharing their first podcast on the topic, more people got in touch, alleging that they had also been catfished by the same woman under a number of different names.
Just listened to the @the2johnnies’s incredible GAA Catfish story on their podcast. Just wild stuff.— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) May 25, 2022
In the second episode of 'the GAA Catfish,' Johnny B revealed that he has recently spoken to 12 men from the world of sport and entertainment who allege that they have also been catfished by this person through different fake social media accounts.
"One of these men is also a member of An Garda Síochána. To varying degrees, these men have been emotionally exploited by these fake accounts. Three of these men confirmed that they went to the guards and the PSNI,” he said.
Johnny B added that they have “numerous" third-party sources of "well over 30 men" from the world of GAA and entertainment, who have said they have been catfished by the same fake Instagram accounts.
Explaining how it all started for him, Johnny B said: “Last year, I became single. It's never easy, no matter what way it goes. And in January, around Christmas time, this girl follows me on Instagram.
“She's absolutely stunning. Drop-dead gorgeous. She's from Limerick and has 15,000 followers, and it's followed by a few people I know personally.
"So, one night I'm looking at her stories and I said, go on. I'll send her an old DM.”
After a lot of back and forth with the woman, who said she was 27, they arranged to meet in Limerick.
“I'm driving through Pallasgreen on my way to Limerick one Sunday morning when I get a phone call. She's upset, very upset, her aunt has just died…she's very apologetic but I said don't worry about it. I'm so sorry to hear about your aunt.”
After more failed meetings, Johnny B and his podcasting partner, Johnny Smacks delve a little deeper into the woman's Instagram account and her story begins to unravel.
The lads came to the conclusion that it was a fake account set up by a woman who was running a network of fake profiles. After sharing this much, more and more people begin to share their stories- including some well-known GAA players.
“Here's the thing. This is something that you see on Catfish the television show and you think 'that only happens in America'. This has happened in Ireland to a lot of people and a lot of people that we all know in the entertainment industry in the GAA, everywhere,” said Johnny Smacks.
In their second episode on the GAA catfish, the story becomes even more astonishing with a well-known GAA player revealing that he believes he was also catfished by the same woman while another person was in touch with a similar story that occurred eight years ago. They said it appears that a number of different Instagram accounts are linked to the same person.
The podcasting duo said they felt compelled to speak out and issue the cautionary tale as a warning to other people.
"We're never going to reveal the identity of anyone that’s connected to this story. All we can hope is that this catfishing stops and anyone who is tempted to do something realises how wrong that is,” added Johnny Smacks.
“And also there was nothing illegal in this, there's nobody who has been asked for money or tried to be scammed from these accounts. We need to state that but look, these people have been affected by this, their lives have been affected and it needs to stop.”
The 2 Johnnies Podcast is released every Monday.