The fingers behind the keyboard of Trinity GAA’s Twitter account have garnered quite a cult following since they sent their first tweet in October of last year. The style of comedic tweeting, often featuring tongue-in-cheek comments about the match, the performance and the players, has seen the team’s followers rise from just a few hundred to over 2,600 – and counting. The hilarious tweets haven’t gone unrecognised either, with Joe.ie commenting that “Whoever is in charge of @TCDGAA is in flying form indeed”.
SportsJoe.ie also covered the account, running with the headline: “GAA Twitter accounts take note, this is how it’s done”, and Independent.ie pleaded “Will the anonymous comedic genius please stand up?” The account has also been tweeted to by RTE’s Joe Brolly, retweeted by several well-known county footballers and even tweeted to by an English teacher of Loughrey CBS School, who one student on Ratemyteachers.com calls a “gr8 english teacher”. This teacher does have a more serious role in the GAA world; she is also the well-respected Vice-Chairman of Cork GAA. Somehow such a senior figure in the GAA found herself tweeting to our own @TCDGAA about certain members of the team’s antics in Coppers after games.
I kid you not, Tiarnan Daly has just sent me to the dressing room and asked me to bring him the bag of jelly tots in his gear bag
— Trinity College GAA (@TCDGAA) November 23, 2015
Although none of the publications ever knew who the person behind these tweets was, it didn’t take much journalistic investigation to find out. A glance at any one of the Trinity footballer’s team sheets shows the team’s backroom staff, namely the Bainisteoir, the Runaí and just below, a quite important sounding title of “Tweeteoir”. One Darragh Finneran is the name given to the man who carries out this important backroom role. Despite employing some of the country’s finest and most well-respected detective journalists, the Irish Independent were never able to unmask the man behind the machine. It took a team of Gaelgóirs, headed by The University Times’s own hurl swinger with more than just the cúpla focal, Cólm Ó Néill, to crack the code that a “Tweeteoir” might actually have something to do with tweeting the live updates.
I found myself on Tuesday in the Buttery face to face with the man himself. We then fled from the Buttery to the Atrium to try and steer off any other publications who may have been following us in an attempt to steal our exclusive scoop. We settle down comfortably in the Atrium – satisfied that no-one could have followed our intricate movements – and he tells me that his name is Darragh Finneran. The man behind the jokes is, yes, as you’d expect, doing a masters in mechanical engineering. He tells me of how he has increased the page’s followers from just players and associates of the GAA club to actual people who seemingly have no connection whatsoever with the club but tune in just for Darragh’s live updates. He explains to me how it was surreal seeing his silly jokes about his teammates appearing on quite serious publications such as Independent.ie.
Rob Lynch gets the go-ahead from the gf not only to play, but to join us on the beer later too. A great victory for all whipped boyfriends
— Trinity College GAA (@TCDGAA) November 9, 2015
The national media attention didn’t add any pressure on Finneran, but he did have to start doing prep work for his tweets, including a bit of songwriting – as the team now has its own remix of Wonderwall and a very sacrilegious but equally hilarious remix of The Lord’s Prayer. Despite the increase in followers, Finneran’s style of tweeting has stayed consistent. He still feels comfortable to slag the lads on the team. You would be forgiven for thinking that Finneran is just there for the laughs and the craic of being about the team, but when he talks, it’s clear that he has passion for the team. He talks seriously about the state of the team, and he describes feeling sickened when he knows he can’t make a game. This team really is his passion and it seems that being able to have a laugh with them or, perhaps more accurately, at them, in many of his tweets is just an added bonus. He is most definitely a supporter first, Tweeteoir second.
No. 7 is Rob White. If he can land himself under breaking ball as often as he lands himself under women's bed sheets, a TCD win is ominous.
— Trinity College GAA (@TCDGAA) November 9, 2015
I asked him whether, with such success on Twitter, he now sees his future maybe turning out a little differently. I’m sure the world needs mechanical engineers, but doesn’t it also need a laugh or two? He tells me that the level of recognition and praise he has received for his tweets has made him have serious thoughts about a job in PR. An ideal role we both agreed would be something like Paddy Power’s mischief department, whose prime objective is to gain publicity for the company through their edgy and often controversial humour. And Finneran sure has gained a lot of publicity for the team, with his tweets about the players often proving controversial in the dressing room – exposing their antics in Coppers for the nation to read. Despite his future PR prospects, Finneran is enjoying the here and now, focusing on his masters and the team.
Since the cat is out of the bag, you can now openly ask Finneran any time you see him around campus for autographs and selfies. Be sure to follow @TCDGAA because, regardless of your GAA knowledge, it will certainly give you a laugh.