In recent times, it has become apparent that there has been a huge increase in GAA players setting up and indeed interacting with their social media accounts.
Facebook and Twitter, in particular, have been to the fore, with stars such as Colm Parkinson of Laois involving themselves in heavy discussions with fellow county supporters, as well as general fans or critics.
However, such is the effect that social media has on player performance and subsequent distractions, Galway boss Anthony Cunningham has imposed a strict ban on social media in the lead-up to his side’s All-Ireland final clash with Kilkenny this Sunday in Croke Park.
In what has the potential to be quite an explosive encounter between two fiery teams, Kilkenny will undoubtedly be seeking revenge following their defeat to the Tribesmen in the Leinster final earlier this year.
It has become so much simpler to interact with your favourite county heroes through the introduction of Facebook and Twitter, with most GAA players possessing one, if not both of these popular social media accounts.
The Irish Examiner recently reported that one particular Galway hurler was subject to much criticism from his manager following the posting of celebratory pictures of him and another team-mate after their All-Ireland semi-final over Cork.
Galway star Joe Canning was also forced to block tweets from a parody Brian Cody account in recent times.
Kilkenny, on the other hand, seem to shy away from social media, with only one of their senior hurlers believed to possess a Twitter account – Cillian Buckley being the sole user of this social media site.
Some may ponder the issue with intercounty hurlers and footballers interacting with friends and fans on these social media pages, but it does also bring some problems – many GAA players become the subjects of scathing criticism if their team is defeated in championship, with many of these viral attacks quite personal on the players in question.
This then poses the question of whether these stars should indeed go to the effort of setting up these accounts, but then again, it gives them the opportunity to become involved with their friends and supporters in a friendly and engaging manner.
I guess the jury is still out on the issue of GAA players and social media, but although it can be pleasant and enjoyable at times, it also poses huge risks with players become distracted and the aforementioned criticism can then unquestionably affect their performance on the pitch.