Galway players ditch smartphones for charity

In an era when trolling on social media has become the norm for GAA players, the Galway senior ladies football team are taking matters into their own hands.

The Tribeswomen have pledged to give up their smartphones for the month of June in order to raise awareness about the negative effects of social media while also bidding to raise €10,000 for Pieta House.

The challenge was the inspiration of star forward Edel Concannon, who managed to persuade her teammates to avoid social media on their mobile phones for the first four weeks of the championship season, beginning on June 1.

The players’ smartphones will be replaced with Nokia-style phones – which were sponsored by former Galway coach PJ Fahy of ECC Timber – and they will only have the option of texting or calling, meaning all mobile social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat will be inaccessible.

“People aren’t really living in the moment anymore, and we’re too busy updating Snapchat stories!,” revealed the 13-year intercounty veteran.

“I can’t deal with my mother asking me to leave my phone down again to talk to her,” Concannon laughs, “but a lot of our parents are delighted we’re doing this. I think they’re looking forward to getting to know us again!”

In recent weeks, social media and the GAA have been further aligned following the heavy criticism Cork goalkeeper Anthony Casey received online in the aftermath of the EirGrid All-Ireland U21 final.

Concannon, a secondary school teacher based in Athlone Community College, convinced her Galway teammates to take up the challenge in a bid to further highlight the negative impact social media can have.

“I think there’s a link between overuse of social media and depression.

“Obviously trolling is the big thing, but there have been times when I’ve felt down coming off social media myself when I see all the amazing skydives, holidays, and nights out people are having. It paints an artificial picture of people’s lives.

“Unless you have an incredible Snapchat story, you’re apparently not living!

“We chose Pieta House because it helps people with mental health issues, depression and suicidal thoughts, and also because they have a base in Galway. It might also be an incentive to the younger generation to limit their social media use.”

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