Bizarre nicknames are common place in the GAA world. Some are from childhood, some originated from their playing skill, and some are extremely far from politically correct. However, they’re all memorable and nothing short of original.
We’ve compiled a list of our top fifteen nicknames that stood out from both codes. There are many, many more out there, in fact, this list could almost be endless but we had to draw the line somewhere! In no particular order….
1. Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh
After acquiring the nickname in school, the talented Waterford hurler insists it wasn’t due to his strength or brawn. However, it’s stuck and he accepts it.
2. Páidí ‘The Pony’ Ó Sé
Former Kerry footballer Páidí Ó Sé was nicknamed ‘The Pony’ after he succeeded the position of center-back by Tim ‘The Horse’ Kennelly in the 1970’s. ‘The Pony’ continued his involvement with Kerry up until 2012.
3. John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer
This has got to be the funniest one of the lot. John’s mother revealed that he was quite a hairy baby, and people likened him to Michael Jackson’s pet chimp Bubbles!
4. Shane ‘Cake’ Curran
The Roscommon goalkeeper got his nickname because of his immense skill. He made everything look as easy as pie, a piece of cake if you will!
5. Colm ‘The Gooch’ Cooper
6. Ger ‘The Sparrow’ O’Loughlin
A school teacher bestowed the nickname on a young Ger when his older brother started school and he wanted to follow to join him at the same time, and that was it. The name stuck!
7. Diarmuid ‘Gizzy’ Lyng
Another name that started circulating from a young age, was ‘Gizzy’ Lyng from Wexford. Apparently he had trouble sleeping as a youngster after watching the film Gremlins, which has a character called Gizmo in it. His father then shortened this to ‘Gizzy’ and it stuck.
8. Kieran ‘Star’ Donaghy
The Kerry player got his name ‘Star’ from his second cousin Aidan, long before he ever dawned the green and gold jersey.
9. Diarmuid ‘The Rock’ O’Sullivan
The Cork hurler was an asset to the Rebels during his time playing, putting in great tackles and showing sheer determination and strength at all times, earning him the nickname ‘The Rock.’
10. Paudie ‘Pebbles’ O’Sullivan
Brother of ‘The Rock’, the nickname ‘Pebbles‘ was just following a pattern really! He was smaller in stature than his brother, but just as skillful.
11. PJ ‘Fingers’ O’Connell
As opposed to many of the obscure names on this list, PJ got his nickname for a very literal reason. The Clare man could often be seen giving the two fingers to his relations and neighbours, it just became common place. So did his nickname.
12. Michael ‘Babs’ Keating
Former Tipperary hurler Michael Keating was awarded his nickname in primary school, because there were three boys by the name of Michael Keating in his class, and he was the youngest. The name caught on so much that he is almost exclusively known as Babs now.
13. Eugene ‘Nudie’ Hughes
Although we’re unsure why, Monaghan footballer Eugene Hughes became known simply as ‘Nudie’ from a young age. It stuck from the time he was a young boy, all the way through his playing career. We’ll just go with it!
14. Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton
This Antrim hurler got his nickname because he was known to eat sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
15. Dan ‘The Man’ Shanahan
Undoubtedly one of the most charismatic hurlers of his time, Waterford’s Dan ‘The Man’ Shanahan has still got it! His scoring record was incredibly impressive and he is still held in high regard as he now acts a selector alongside Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath.