G.A.A. Publications - 1990

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 1991, pp 32-33


The year saw the publication of two more club histories, bringing to 22 the number written to date. I'm including in that selection a production from 1978 entitled: 'Kilcommon My Home: Mountainy Men at Play', which is as much a short social history of the Sean Treacy's country as a history of the G.A.A. in the area. 

Roscrea are also included even though they haven't a club history as such but they have two written accounts of events in the club's history. In 1980, a commemorative programme was produced in honour of the new developments in St. Cronan's Park. It contained 112 pages of essays on the club's history and was edited by George Cunningham and Tom McCarthy. Four years later Seamus O'Doherty produced a 32 page magazine effort, devoted to the club's juvenile success in the eighties. Boherlahan also, have two productions: Philip Ryan published the 'Tubberadora-Boherlahan Story 1885-1975' in the mid-seventies and then combined with John Maher to write 'Boherlahan and Dualla: A Century of Gaelic Games' in 1987. 


The 'Cappawhite G.A.A. Story, 1886-1989' was launched in the Parochial Hall by Archbishop Clifford, Patron of the G.A.A. on December 18, 1989. It was the culmination of nearly four years work under History Chairman, John Kelly, former county senior hurler and headmaster of Cappawhite V.S. Initially, the research was done by a number of club members and particularly Tom O'Shaugnnesssy, who spent a day or two weekly, reading back numbers of 'The Nationalist' in Clonmel. Then in July 1987 a Teamwork Project of six people, under John Kelly, was commenced and they bought the book to completion. 

The book contains 368 pages and was published in a hardcover edition of 1,000 copies. It has a dustcover in the club's colours. It sells for £10 and over half the copies have been sold. 

The book covers the history of the club on a year by year basis. The opening chapter gives an interesting account of Cappawhite at the time of the foundation of the G.A.A. The population of the parish in 1880 was 2,461. The club came into existence in 1886. There was a major tournament in the parish in September, 1887 and about 10,000 people attended. The first photograph to appear is of Dr. J. Fitzgerald. He was President of the 'Cappawhite Bicycle Races and Athletic Sports' held in 1895 under G.A.A. Rules. 

As the book progresses accounts become more detailed, reflecting the greater coverage of G.A.A. affairs as we get well into the twentieth century. Whereas 1953 gets half a page, 1987, when the club made the great breakthrough to win the county senior hurling championship, is given nine pages. The photographic coverage improves greatly as the book progresses, with the eighties being particularly good. 

For a person from outside the club the statistical section at the end of the book is particularly satisfying. This includes a very comprehensive Roll of Honour, lists of club officers, championship final results, etc. A fascinating section is simply entitled, 'Snippets', covering unusual things about people and events and extending for 16 pages. There are sections on camogie, the Vocational School, Cappawhite Tennis Club and athletics, with a profile of international athlete, Liam Hennessy. Overall, a very comprehensive account of the club and the G.A.A. and the people who made it all happen over 100 years. The book is a credit to the research team and to John Kelly. The club can feel justly proud of this production and happy that the work was undertaken. 

St. Mary's Hurling Club

A different kind of production is 'St. Mary's Hurling Club, Clonmel, 1929-89' by Sean O'Donnell. This saw the light of day on May 11,1990 when it was launched by County Board P.R.O., Liz Howard at the G.A.A. Centre, Clonmel. 

This book is completely the work of Westmeath born, Sean O'Donnell, who has lived in Clonmel for nearly thirty years and teaches in Rockwell College. Its publication coincided with the sixtieth birthday of the St. Mary's Club but the author does not confine his attentions to that period. In an opening chapter, covering over twenty pages, he gives a general account of the G.A.A. in the town, prior to the formation of the club. During that period football was the predominant game. At one stage, in 1897, there were. no less than seven football clubs in the town. One of these was the famous Clonmel Shamrocks, who were suspended by the G.A.A. in a dispute over expenses. 

Even more fascinating is the account of the famous Clonmel man, William Prendergast, secretary of the G.A.A. and chief organiser of the American Invasion. The author corrects the general impression that Prendergast remained in the U.S. after the 'invasion', informing us that he arrived back with the main party after the invasion. He later returned to New York, became prominent in the G.A.A. and was involved in the development of Gaelic Park in New York. 

But the book is predominantly about the St. Mary's club and its fortunes over sixty years. Whereas success wasn't generous to the club it did have its moments. One of these was in 1936 when it won its first championship, the south junior hurling title. A south intermediate title came in 1972 and the much desired senior championship in 1981. In between and since, there were lesser successes, especially in the juvenile grade. Also, at minor and under-21. 

Sean O'Donnell peppers his story with the portraits of personalities and one of the most interesting must surely be Joe Butler, who played for St. Mary's between 1939 - 43. One of the most itinerant of hurlers he played for five counties and for two provinces and played in an All-Ireland senior hurling final. 

One of the unusual aspects of this book is the appendix of names at the back. Nothing unusual about an appendix, but it is in a G.A.A. book. Naturally, the book is all the better for it. The book is divided up into 16 chapters which reflect the rise and fall and rise again of the club's fortunes .through the years. There are also four appendices on Championship titles, Tipperary County Players, Feile na nGael, and other county players. The photographic content is impressive and the reproduction of the pictures, in a wideformat book, is very good. As well as the content the production of the book is very good with very clear print and good headings. 

Sean O'Donnell can be proud of his production and the St. Mary's club are lucky to have had a man of his calibre to undertake the task of producing this book. Anyone who has got a copy should hold on to it because it is already a collector's item. The print run of 500 copies is completely sold out which is as good an indication as any of the quality of the product. 

Rockwell Rovers

In 1988 sporting arrangements were organised between Rockwell Rovers and St. Davogs, Aghyaran, Co. Tyrone. In that year both teams were intermediate football champions in their respective counties and the connection was established by John McHugh, an Aghyaran man living in New Inn. St. Davog's visited New Inn, Rockwell Rovers returned the visit in 1989 and St. Davog's returned to New Inn again this year. In honour of the occasion the local club produced a souvenir programme, which contains many interesting pieces on the history of the game in Rockwell Rovers including their history in the Rural Schools Hurling in 1955, their first county junior football title in 1963 and their great Centenary Year in 1987 when they amassed two county titles. Much of the material is taken from work in progress on the club's history by Tom O'Connor and the booklet can be had from club officials for £2, as long as copies remain. 

Two Kerry Books

I would like to draw your attention to two new G.A.A. books from Kerry which made their appearance in the past year. Many of you will be familiar with one of them, the biography of Mick O'Dwyer by Owen McCrohan, available at £7.95. This is a very fine account of one of the greatest G.A.A. personalities of this century. The second book is called 'Trail Blazers - A century of Laune Rangers, 1888-1988' by Pat O'Shea. It covers the history of the G.A.A. in the Killorglin area, where football reigns supreme. However, there is a tiny hurling interest in the club being cultivated by one Bill Herene, who works in Africa for six week periods and during his spells at home brings teams of young lads to the hurling heartlands of Tipperary. 


In conclusion I should like to tell you about two publications from the Centrefield Research Unit in Thurles. Part of Centrefield Museum, this unit, under the direction of Josephine Quinn of Clonoulty, has been beavering away at G.A.A. records for the past eighteen months. It has now made a list of and collected information on all All-Ireland players in the country. This material is being compiled county by county and Limerick and Tipperary are the first two to be completed. So, if you want a book that will tell you the name of every All-Ireland player in the county, where he was born, his date of birth and his roll of honour, you should get a copy of this production. It will put an end to all the usual pub arguments of when and where he won the All-Ireland.