It was around this time last year we looked forward to the GAA’s first true summer of Twitter.
Sure, we had seen one or two wild pulls in 2010, but it was the great influx of players onto the network last spring that saw hashtags and retweets threaten to rival the grand old GAA spectacle of a transistor radio pressed to an ear.
We wondered then when the first screenshot of a loose tweet would be pinned on a dressing room door. And while we’re still waiting for news on that one, in the meantime a rich culture of GAA tweeting has developed, putting live match reporting, score updates, speculation, rumour, insults and injuries at our fingertips.
Here’s our selection, then, of the top 50 GAA-related accounts — taking into account your nominations at #top50gaa, as well as follower numbers and sheer entertainment or information value. It’s a shemozzle of players, journalists and other resources that might help half-time slip by that little bit quicker. But remember — like the All Stars — any list is mainly notable for the couple of glaring and inexplicable omissions.
So feel free to hit us hard but fair at @examinersport.
2@pgal10: The merits of Yelawolf, polo shirt buttoning etiquette, the explosive potential of cherry tomatoes — and the odd bit of football talk.
3@conmort: Has the return to the Mayo panel broken Conor Mortimer’s Twitter stride? He’d have been top dog this time last year.
4@darransull86: The Kingdom flier is a prolific tweeter. Should be a solid source of championship insight now he can forget about United’s fortunes for a few months.
5@GAAScores: Some say they should cut the banter and keep it to scores. But they’ll never see you stuck for a match update.
6@sportsdes: Des Cahill (above) turns his attention to most sports, but should have his hands full dealing with GAA grousing now The Sunday Game is back.
7@AaronKernan: The nicest man on Twitter? Dispels all stereotypes with a keen interest in Ulster rugby.
8@saveciaranmurph: Newstalk’s sideline funnyman might put the odd free wide but won’t miss much come championship.
9@aindreasdoyle: For services to research alone: "Can any mothers who participate in sport confirm if a physio using their elbow in your glut compares to child birth! #MustBeClose."
10@evannenic: Can RTÉ’s ratings survive a summer with Evanne (above) off the air being a mammy? Their loss is Twitter’s gain.
11@anfearruagaa: Regular links to some of the more thought-provoking topics at the home of GAA discussion.
12@JohnFogartyIrl: You might have to deal with some angst — Liverpool have his heart broken — but our own news-breaker will keep you informed this summer.
13@dubmatchtracker: A standout results service from the big smoke’s championship. See panel for more county-specific accounts.
14@killeavy13: Still hard to believe Stevie McDonnell is gone. Though it should make his tweets even more interesting when things hot up in Ulster.
15@brendandevenney: Good value. D nly prob u ned a dgree n txt spk 2 unstd him.
16@gaa_beo: Popular aggregator of news from all the main media sources.
17@wicklowgaa: Everything is rosy in the Twitter Garden, judging by the number of votes this account received. Excellent service.
18@MartyM_RTE: Can the real Marty catch his Twitter imposter in follower numbers? As the man himself might put it after a point from a tight angle: "Just like Barack Obama, yes he can."
19@HurlingFacts: Hurling’s answer to Opta. When was the last time Kilkenny conceded six goals in a championship match? They’ll tell you.
20@tonyleen: He’s the boss, he’s the gaffer. Whatever he says goes.
21@bernardbrogan: Followed as closely on Twitter as he will be this summer by markers. He’ll lead you to @EamonFennell, @Flinto23, @MDMA_9 and the rest of the Dubs.
22@daithi_regan: From the state of hurling to Spurs to politics; still getting in hip-to-hip and pulling as hard as he ever did.
23@dickclerkin8: The Monaghan stalwart and columnist of this parish has been quick to use his profile to air the gripes of club and county players.
24@action81: Emmet Ryan’s Tactics Not Passion column is one of the most astute in the GAA blogosphere.
25@shanesaint: Freelance journo and reputed hurling snob. Keeps a close eye on the Tipp camp.
26@efitz6: Now Eamonn Fitzmaurice is back in Jack O’Connor’s Kerry set-up, is he the only current senior inter-county selector on Twitter?
27@DonalOgC: The most followed hurler on the network. Sadly, he’ll have plenty of time to tweet this summer.
28@AOMTHECAT: Cavan keeper Alan O’Mara is a journalism student and blogger. Some vivid recollections of last year’s Ulster U21 campaign.
29@Jamie_Clarke10: The stylish Armagh man has slid down the list as he becomes embroiled, like most GAA tweeters, in the tyranny of the retweet request.
30@murphm95: Donegal’s talisman provides the occasional inspired moment amid a collection of otherwise dour, defensive tweets. Only joking, Jim!
31@podzo21: Padraic Maher is the ringleader of the Premier posse which features @GrathNoel, @BennyMaher and sometimes @Lar40. Will keep you posted on events in Home and Away.
32@CiaranLen: Meath’s Ciarán Lenehan is the self-styled ‘Archbishop of banterbury’. Sample sermon: "Turns out ‘Are ya finished calving?’ is not appropriate when Dell ask if you’ve any other questions at the end of a call."
33@EwanMacKenna: Another freelance scribe and biographer of Darragh Ó Sé and Oisín McConville. Likes a stat.
34@PaddyB14: Paddy Bradley is a man with a manifesto: "Hate bluffers. hate those who can’t train midweek but are grand at weekend. i hate those just happy to have a number. 100% effort all the time."
35@TalkingBallsGAA: Casts an acerbic and sometimes provocative eye on our games, particularly in Ulster.
36@Ben_Brosnan: The Model’s blond bombshell is, he claims himself, "the coolest geek you’ll meet".
37@pat_nolan: GAA man in the Mirror and Michael Duignan’s biographer.
38@gergilroy: Newstalk’s sports editor will believe, as he always does, that this is Kildare’s year.
39@JeromeQuinn: Ex-BBC man is now a superb source of footage from schools, colleges and other matches where his will be the only camera.
40@Coulter12Benny: Another Ulster man who keeps the ball hopping. And another sidelined for the start of the summer at least.
41@okmick: Former Dubs forward and current PR guru Mick O’Keeffe provides sharp insights on the commercial side of the GAA.
42@mossyquinn: A popular Dub. Likes to gently unwind with a little bit of UFC of an evening.
43@DarraghMaloney: Will be torn between his soccer and GAA work this summer and tweets interestingly on both. Great man to engage with his followers.
44@anspailpin: Twitter account of An Spailpín Fánach blog. GAA is far from its only brief, but invariably hits the mark when the occasion demands.
45@sundaysport: Con Murphy and Jacqui Hurley control the twitterbox. Gained listeners recently and the follower count is swelling too.
46@dsully3: The Rock still dispensing his brand of justice. "A shovel down the back of the neck that Barton could do with."
47@Begz_17: The Laois captain’s profile pic is a fascinating soap opera in itself. Living the dream. Or a dream anyway.
48@gaelicstats: Did you know that the first and second halves of last year’s All-Ireland football final were exactly the same length; 37mins 10secs? You do now.
50@cads3: Dual tweeter Eoin Cadogan — brings the likes of @rayryan6, @PKerrigan86: @Aidan9Walsh and @kellympatrick into the game.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved