In an era where GAA players are expected to live like professionals and have the diet of elite athletes, Tony Scullion’s attitude is a throwback to a forgotten time.
The joker in Antrim’s pack is convinced football has become “far too serious” and he wouldn’t be upsetting his Saturday night feeding pattern because tomorrow happens to be an Ulster championship assignment.
“Oh aye, the Chinese! That’s a cert,” promised the 32-year-old defender ahead of tomorrow’s SFC first-round tie with Fermanagh. “I’ll have dessert after it as well. It could be apple crumble or honeycomb ice-cream, it depends.”
Scullion does his own thing — and at this stage of his life has no intention of adhering to the deadly dull diet plans and training regimes demanded of the modern-day player.
“They (Antrim) would give you eating plans and all that, but there’s no room on those for Diet Coke and Kinder Bueno. I would eat the rubbish, and plenty of it, so I’m not into all that.” The Cargin man cared enough to quit the squad in 2013 in protest at how previous boss Frank Dawson was handling things. And he cared enough to return last year, despite having a busy job in construction, a wife and three children, and commit to Antrim again — even if he’s disillusioned with the defensive game he sees before him now.
“Sometimes football is taken far too serious and maybe that’s what’s wrong with it. People are losing interest in watching football and everything is over-thought with all these defensive systems.
“It’s all orientated towards nonsense now! When I started playing, you used a bit of speed to get up the field, get past a man, and there was 50 yards before you would meet another.
“You are only wasting your time doing it now. If you beat one man and get past him, there’s another four waiting on you. It’s rugby league.” And what of Antrim’s chances in Brewster Park tomorrow, one year on from their shock win over Fermanagh? “It’s a big ask with the personnel we have here at the minute, and Fermanagh are well gelled, well schooled and will be hurting from last year too. But then, you have to turn it around the say all the pressure is on them. Antrim is in a win-win situation because nobody is expecting us to come away with a victory.”
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