Recent G.A.A. Publications (2005)
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2006, p 65
Quite a number of good G.A.A. books were published during the year. Probably the best of the crop is 'Last Man Standing' by Christy O'Connor. Not the same person as the golfer, but a goal keeper from Ennis, who played in two All-Ireland Club finals. He knows what he's talking about, and the title of the book is superb. The goalkeeper is the last man standing in defence and he is built in heroic proportions. Think of the courage shown by Brendan Cummins in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Cummins features in this book as do twelve contemporary goalkeepers. O'Connor succeeds in getting into their minds, their souls, and his book is outstanding. Published by O'Brien Press for €14.95, it contains over 300 pages.
Another book that is highly recommended is 'Foreign and Fantastic Field Sports : Cricket In County Tipperary ' by Patrick Bracken, who is a librarian in the County Tipperary Libraries. Bracken trawled through the newspapers of the nineteenth century and found that cricket was a very popular game, not only among the gentry, but equally so among the ordinary people. The high point was in the 1870s when there were over forty clubs in the county. Had the G.A.A. not come along it is likely that Tipperary would have become one of the outstanding counties in the game of cricket. On the other hand it might be said that the reason that Tipperary took the title the Premier County in hurling was because there was such a tradition for a stick game here. Published by the author the book costs €20 and has 200 pages
Eoghan Corry has written a book of unforgettable G.A.A. quotations called 'God and the Referee'. In more than forty sections, covering everything from the ancient games and literary lions to rough-ups and ruffians, the book encompasses the G.A.A. There are quotations from players and coaches, journalists and commentators, balladeers and mentors, and from hurlers on the ditch, who know the game better than anyone. One to give you the flavour of the book. The one about the Cork woman at the funeral of Christy Ring: 'It's a mortal sin to be burying a man like him.' The book, published by Hodder Headline Ireland, retails for €8.99, and has over 300 pages.
‘Making Connections: A Cork G.A.A. Miscellany' by Jim Cronin is what the title says a collection of pieces, mostly about the many people who have made a huge contribution to the G.A.A. and especially the G.A.A. in Cork. There are also pieces like 'Cork and Tipp', 'The Meat Tea', and 'Hurling in the Himalayas'. Published by the author, it retails for €20 and has 365 Pages.
A completely different kind of offering is a short account of the life of P.N. Fitzgerald, the Cork Fenian and G.A.A. Pioneer. Published by the P. N. Fitzgerald Commemoration Committee 2004, it is written by Tomas O’Riordain, has 72 pages and retails for €15 . Fitzgerald was the President of the G.A.A. at the famous convention at Thurles in 1887 that led to a split in the Association. Chairing the proceedings that day he refused to take a proposal from Fr. Scanlan of Nenagh. After plenty of arguing, Fr. Scanlan and his followers withdrew from the meeting and called their own.
Damien Cullen, a journalist with the 'Irish Times', and a man with impeccable Loughmore Castleiney connections, brought out a unique book during the year. It was called 'The Penguin Ireland Guide to Championship 2005', and it was all of that, a guide not only to the hurling and football matches that were to be played, but also a guide to the towns and the stadiums to which the fans travelled. We don't travel to Clones often but if a follower has a ticket for a match there this 'bible' will tell him not only where the stadium is located but in what area of the stadium his seat is located. There is much, much more in this fascinating publication, which is in pocket size, has 250 pages and retails for €7.99 . Let's hope it's an annual addition to the library.
A similar book was published by DBA, the company with the franchise for producing all the programmes for the All-Ireland hurling and football championships. Called the G.A.A. Supporters Handbook, it is literally that. It includes maps of the various towns where the supporter may find himself, lists of hotels and restaurants, not forgetting the pubs either, how to get there if you haven't your own transport, and where to stay if you intend to make a week of it. Again a great addition. The book also includes all the senior county panels in hurling and football. It's publication was delayed because of the difficulty the publishers had in getting the panels out of reluctant county boards and team managements. Pocket size, the book sells for €6.99 and has 180 pages.
Mention should also be made here of Brian Carthy's annual publication, which should be in the shops in time for the Christmas market. It will be called 'The Championship 2005' and will be the most comprehensive record of all the games played in the senior hurling and football championships. This book has been appearing since 1995 and it's a credit to the author.
The next book to mention is one of mammoth proportions. It is 'The Gaelic Athletic Association in Dublin 1884-2000' edited by Willie Nolan. It contains three volumes in hardback in slipcase , 1440 pages, 360 photographs, and it sells for €90. It has to be the biggest G.A.A. book ever produced. Tipperary players played with Dublin. Two that immediately come to mind are Tommy Treacy and Jimmy Kennedy. Among the many fascinating details it contains is a detailed account of the events of Bloody Sunday and the identities of the casualties.
A new revised and updated edition of 'A History of Hurling' by Seamus J. King will be published by Gill and Macmillan in time for the Christams. First published in 1996 in hardback, a paperback edition came out in 1998, and this edition brings the story up to 2005.
Another book launched in November was the official biography of Davy Fitzgerald, the Clare hurling goalkeeper. Written by Cashel journalist, Jackie Cahill, who is Gaelic Games correspondent for the 'Irish Mirror', it is called 'Passion and Pride' There is no player takes such passion and pride out of playing for his county as Davy. The book has to be of interest
to Tipperary readers, who were often put off by the over the top shenanigans of Davy on the field of play. Published by Blackwater Press, the book retails at €14.99
In May 'Tipperary's G.A.A. Story 1985-2004' was published by the county board. Written by Seamus J. King, it updated the history of the county to the present. The achievements of the period are modest in contrast to the previous volume which covered the history from 1935- 1984. These achievements are reflected in the dust cover of the book which features the three senior winning captains, Bobby Ryan, Declan Carr and Nicky English, the two successful managers of the period, Babs Keating and Nicky English, as well as the county's star footballer, Declan Browne. Extending to nearly 700 pages, it sells for €20. (The book is reviewed elsewhere.)
Gerry Slevin, the former editor of the 'Nenagh Guardian', who has written so lovingly and comprehensively about camogie for years, has produced a book about the Tipperary senior team's achievements over the past seven years. Called 'Years of Plenty' it tells the story of 1999-2005 in a heavily illustrated production. Printed by the Nenagh Guardian Ltd. it extends to 200 pages and sells for €20.
'Hurling: The Revolution Years' by Denis Walsh covers the period marked by the arrival of Clare in the mid-nineties and sets out to explore how the game of hurling changed since then. He focuses in on how Ger Loughnane and Liam Griffin revolutionised the preparation of teams, which became more and more professional under their managerial regimes. In the preparation of this book, Walsh did thirty-five original interviews with the people and players who were involved.
Denis Walsh is the chief sports writer with the Irish edition of the 'Sunday Times.' A native of Cork, hurling is his first love. The book, published by Penguin Ireland, has over three hundred pages and retails for €1 4.99.
'A Year in the Red - A Publication by the Roscrea GAA Club' reviews the year and is the first publication to appear since "The Red Years" in 1984.