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Clubs, Closets and Catwalks: GAA Stars and the Politics of Contemporary Irish Masculinity

  • Michael G. Cronin
Chapter

Abstract

In October 2009 Dónal Óg Cusack published his autobiography, Come What May. In the following weeks this event received exponentially greater coverage in the Irish media than would usually be accorded to a sports memoir. There were several salient reasons for this. Since 1999 Cusack had been goalkeeper with the Cork hurling team, one of the few teams considered capable of challenging the dominance of Kilkenny in the national championship; they had won the All-Ireland Final in Cusack’s inaugural year and again in 2004 and 2005. But along with their success his team had also become noteworthy for their disputes with the governing board of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) in Cork. The team had twice gone on strike to demand better conditions for players and to protest at what they saw as ineffective management. The second of these strikes, in the winter of 2008–9, had been particularly protracted and bitter, and Cusack, along with his colleague Seán Óg Ó hAilpin, emerged as the chief spokesperson for the players. This role augmented his ongoing advocacy for GAA players on a national level through the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), of which he is Chair. Hence Cusack had an unusually high profile, not only as a leading player, but also for his engagement in GAA politics. Nevertheless the publication of his book mainly generated such widespread interest, far beyond the usual confines of sports coverage, because he spoke publicly for the first time about being gay.

Keywords

Emotional Labour Hegemonic Masculinity Irish Medium Irish Time National Championship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 8.
    R. W. Connell, Masculinities (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2nd edn, 2005), 76–7.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    See Rosemary Hennessey, Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism (London: Routledge, 2000).Google Scholar
  3. See also Nancy Fraser, ‘Feminism, capitalism and the cunning of history’, New Left Review 56 (March/April 2009), 97–117.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (London: Routledge, 1990), 1–34.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Kevin Floyd, The Reification of Desire: Towards a Queer Marxism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 88.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    On the gender politics of consumerism see Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity (London: Harvard University Press, 1995), 61–90.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Dónal Óg Cusack, Come What May (Dublin: Penguin Ireland, 2009), 137.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    For a useful discussion of the relationship of gender to prose style see Scott St Pierre, ‘Bent Hemingway: straightness, sexuality, style’, GLQ 16 (3) (2010), 363–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 22.
    Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, The Epistemology of the Closet (London: Penguin, 1990), 2.Google Scholar
  10. 25.
    Eibhear Walshe, ‘A Trojan Horse for unsettling Irish male identities’, Irish Times, 29 October 2009, 13.Google Scholar
  11. 31.
    ‘In naïve, or pure, Camp, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails. Of course, not all seriousness that fails can be redeemed as Camp. Only that which has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naïve.’ Susan Sontag, ‘Notes on Camp’ in Against Interpretation (London: Vintage, 1994), 283. The essay was originally published in 1964.Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’ (London: Routledge, 1993), 124–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael G. Cronin 2014

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  • Michael G. Cronin

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