G.A.A. Publications 2007
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2008
Pride of place among the books published during 2007 must be taken by South Tipperary G.A.A. 1907-2007 by Micheal O'Meara. The title tells it all, the story of the G.A.A. in the South Division since it came into existence one hundred years ago. As early as 1901 the county had been split in two, orth and South, for the organisation of championships. In the days of the horse and brake it was a long journey from Carrick to Lorrha! Then in 1907 there was a division into three parts as Mid joined the other two, This situation continued until 1930 when the West came into operation, the situation which continues to this day.
On June 8,1907 the South Board was formed in Ryan's Hotel, College Street, Clonmel. The proprietor was, according to the author, Martin Ryan, an uncle of Sean, who became President of the Association in 1928. James Meehan, Clonmel, became first president, and Martin Brennan, Grawn, Ballingarry, who had been county secretary from 1899-1908, became the first secretary. From that year the board gathered strength and celebrated its century this year with pride and a great sense of schievement.
In another part of this book there is a fuller review of this huge book, which covers close to 800 pages. It is a great tribute to the work and dedication of Michael 0 Meara, for many years secretary of the board, who has a knowledge of clubs and G.A.A. affairs in the division equal to none .. He was helped in his task by a committee that included Seamus Leahy, Eddie Maher, oel Byrne, Vincent O'Meara, Tom Cusack and Sean O'Donnell.
The first chapter covers the period in the South before the board was formed. Whereas every chapter in the book has important information to offer, two, in particular, I found fascinating. Chapter twenty-three is entitled 'Club Profiles' and will be a blessing for future compilers of match programs, containing as it does vital information on the achievements of clubs. The second is chapter thirty, which contains profiles of players and administrators, a Mister Who's Who of the G.A.A. in the South over one hundred years. The author had to depend on individual contributors for most of these profiles and, unfortunately, there is an uneven quality about them, some of them even omitting to mention the club of the individual and a huge number of them forgetting about the individual's years.
But this is a small crib in a book of such size. It will take its place as the essential reference book for the South Tipperary G.A.A., joining the histories of the West and the North, which are already in existence, and the Mid, which is expected to appear during 2008. Printed by the Kilkenny People, the book retails at € 40.
The Mid Board are also celebrating their centenary in print. The approach is different. They are bringing out two volumes, the first devoted to a pictorial history of the division over one hundred years. Martin Bourke is the editor of this productionand it is to be launched in the Templemore Arms Hotel on December 11. Printed by the Leinster Leader it is another massive tome and it should be a unique collection of photographs, divided into sections devoted to different aspects of the division's history. Martin is a beaver when it comes to work and there is no doubt that this book will be the total pictorial record. Side by side with this production a special history committee are working away on the history of the board. Martin himself is involved and the book is expected to be published at the end of 2008.
The only club production this year, 'A Year in the Red', by Roscrea club is not yet to hand but is expected to be out by Christmas. It includes an account of club activity for the year. A look back twenty-five years to 1982, and other bits and pieces. For more information consult with PR.O. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anybody interested in the schools' and colleges' scene will be delighted with Fifty-Five Years of The Croke Cup by Gerry Buckley, which was launched in the Anner Hotel, Thurles in January. The cup is presented to the All-Ireland Colleges A hurling winners. It was first presented in 1944 and continued to be presented until 1948. It was resumed again in 1957 and the book covers up to the 2006 competition, which makes up the fifty-five years of the title. Originally it was hoped to bring out the book after the fiftieth staging of the competition in 2001, but the author had to postpone the publication for various reason. (Incidentally, this competition is not to be confused with the Croke Cup competition in Tipperary.)
The book is a model for this kind of publication. The account of each year commences with the date and venue for the final, the referee and the lineout of the teams and the scorers together with the final score. There follows an account of the year's semi-final and final through the words of the captain or, in the case of five who were deceased, another player on the team. Each account includes a photograph of the captain, and the team with the players in it named.
On the day of the launch at Thurles all the captains or their replacements were invited and made a presentation. The very first captain, Fr. Jim Monigue of Bodyke, who captained St. Flannan's in 1944, was present, as was the last captain, Conor Connolly, who captained Dublin Colleges in 2006.
Unfortunately, Tipperry has a poor presence in this book. St. Kieran's, Kilkenny lead the way in the Roll of Honour with 16 wins, followed by St. Flannan's, Ennis with 14. The only Tipperary school to win honours was Templemore C.B.S. In 1978 and their captain, Martin Borke, was present at the launch. For the record the team was as follows: Pat Hassett (the only Laois man on the team), Martin Bourke, Peter Brennan, Richard Stapleton, Pat Cormack, Mick Ryan, Jim Maher, Pat McGrath, Mick Ryan, Brendan Russell, Pat Treacy, Noel Fogarty, Joe Bourke, Eamon Cotty, Bobby Ryan. The book retails at €20.
Another book of general interest (as well as personal, I might add!) is Classic Munster Hurling Finals by Seamus J. King. Published by Gill and Macmillan it was launched on October 19, it retails for €16.99. The book is about nineteen of the greatest finals since 1952, commencing in that year when Cork deprived Tipperary of four-in-a-row. Tipperary feature in eleven of the finals. As well as the one mentioned they are 1960, 1963, 1971, 1973,1984,1987,19901991,1997, and 2002. The book not only covers the final proper but gives the lead up through the other games in that year's championship, which helps to put the final in perspective. In the preface to the book the author explains that his choice of finals was determined by his belief that the games chosen were above the ordinary, in some way exceptional, contests that he considered to be somewhat memorable.
Also worth mentioning are a number of publications from Collins Press, Cork. There is a definitive biography of the greatest hurler of all time, Christy Ring, by Tim Horgan. It's a hardback and retails at €24.95. Also, the same publishers have brought out an updated paperback edition of @Croke Park: a History' by Tim Carey. It retails for €20. They also have a new book, 'Princes of Pig Skin', a book of interviews on Kerry football by Joe 0 Muirheartaigh and T. J. Flynn, which retails for €24.95.