A condition known as Gaelic’s Disease is taking hold of populations in Cork, Clare, Mayo and Dublin. Usually dormant throughout most of the year, Gaelic’s Disease reaches a threatening intensity from July until September. There are two unique strands to the disease known as McCarthy-Gaelic’s (currently highest in Cork and Clare) and Maguire-Gaelic’s (currently most prevalent in Mayo and Dublin); although very few counties have both strands of the disease as one strand is usually stronger than the other.
By Sean Rothar
Research into the disease has grown over recent years, but scientists have yet to discover an exact cause. The earliest signs of the condition appear to coincide with the Club Championships and GAA National League games between February and April. However, scientists believe that these figures represent the most extreme sufferers of the condition. Reported cases also coincide with events like Non-Uniform days in schools or Casual Wear days in workplaces around the country, as well as a high year-round condition persisting in Copper Face Jack’s.
Scientists are struggling to identify the cause of the current spike, mainly due to the counter-spike in other counties where the condition has been completely eliminated – for example; Kerry, Tyrone, and Limerick. Also, researchers are uncertain that the condition is ever fully eliminated, given the curious resurgence of Gaelic’s Disease in some counties in late July following a decline in reported cases of the condition earlier in the month. Scientists consider this a unique strand of the disease, which they have branded BGD or “Back-door Gaelic’s Disease”.
Symptoms are subtle at first; patients begin to transition from normal clothing choices towards the colours of their native county or make occasional, unwarranted outbursts of inter-county sporting references. However, this is the mild – perhaps even common – form of the disease across the country. Throughout August – particularly in the latter half of the month – the condition spikes in select areas of the country.
At this stage of the condition, sufferers display a varied and alarming array of symptoms; from over-wearing of a county jersey, inability to discuss topics that do not involve their county team for even brief periods of time, an utter loss of objectivity with regards to their county team, and further colour-oriented displays ranging from painting houses, vehicles and even animals in the native county colours. One researcher noted, “We’ve even witnessed patients that attach miniature county flags to their car windows, which are both abnormal in appearance and significantly reduce the efficiency of the vehicle in motion. The only explanation for this behaviour is some kind of sickness.”
Further Symptoms and Side-Effects
Some symptoms of the condition continue to baffle researchers. After September in the four most affected counties, patients in two counties show feelings of elation and often behave in a rather smug, self-entitled manner for the following year while the patients in the remaining two counties become despondent and – in a majority of cases – overly defensive and rather irritable. After prolonged exposure to Gaelic’s Disease, research shows that patients become dependent to the positive side-effects of the disease.
In counties such as Kilkenny and Donegal, elimination of the McCarthy and Maguire strands respectively this year has totally incapacitated many patients. As for Galway, the disease rarely survives beyond August – except at a minor or intermediate level. Alternatively, there has yet to be a reported case of either strand of Gaelic’s disease in Carlow, Down, Laois, Longford, or Wicklow since the turn of the century.
Gaelic’s Disease presents further anomalies to researchers attempting to link the condition back to GAA wear. A majority percentage of test subjects in the Dublin area – brought in for study as they were wearing Dublin GAA jerseys – were found to be completely devoid of Gaelic’s Disease.
Of this group testing negative for Gaelic’s, a high proportion were instead found to present symptoms of Barclay’s Disease, a condition that researchers in the UK are attempting to connect with the English Premier League. Symptoms of Barclay’s Disease range from occasional viewing of Match of the Day to management of a fantasy football team all the way to full-blown hooliganism. Researchers have labelled this selective suffering of Gaelic’s Disease as “Bandwagon Gaelic’s” and do not expect the condition to last far beyond September 22nd.
Research into the condition of Gaelic’s Disease is on-going and The Potato would like to urge all readers to be aware of the symptoms and to take precautions. The simplest approach is to avoid anyone you know from Clare, Cork, Mayo or Dublin until October.