‘Sing a Powerful Song’: the Saw Doctors, sports and singing Irish identities

John Nauright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sport and popular music have ever-increasing connections. Most major sporting events and teams now use popular music as official theme songs. Other popular music is expropriated by sports fans as a way of expressing their collective identities. Less common is the incorporation of sports-specific references within the lyrics of most songs in popular music. An exception is The Saw Doctors, a band from Tuam in County Galway, Ireland, led by Davy Carton and Leo Moran. This contribution analyses the links between popular music and sport, particularly sports sanctioned by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) as represented in the songs of The Saw Doctors and their temporary offshoot group The Folk Footballers. I first typify three categories of sport and popular music arguing that The Saw Doctors case study fits into a category of deeper connection between sport and popular music that is worthy of exploration and understanding. I examine the cultural context out of which their music has arisen and suggest the particular ways in which the GAA organizes sport in Ireland and the cultural embeddedness of music in Tuam explains the deep connection between sport and popular music and identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-401
Number of pages14
JournalSport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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