G.A.A. Publications - 2008

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2009, pp 93-94


The major publication event in the county has to be the pictorial history of the Mid board. Promised in 2007 it grew so big that it took much longer to produce than compiler, Martin Bourke, anticipated but is now scheduled for publication at the end of November or early December. It's a monster production in two volumes and will contain about six thousand pictures. Martin has scoured the highways and byways of Mid Tipperary and beyond to make the book as comprehensive and complete as possible. It is divided into sections and as well as including a large number of club team photographs, it also includes a large number of intercounty teams featuring Mid players. I understand it will retail for €50, which is cheap for about one thousand pages. It's the first part of the official history of the G.A,A, in Mid Tipperary. Already work is in progress on the volume containing the written history.

The Final Whistle

This is the story of referee, Paddy Russell of Emly, written in association with sports journalist, Jackie Cahill, and it has received more publicity than any sports book on the Christmas market. About 300 people turned up for the launch by President Elect of the G.A.A. Christy Cooney at the Thatch, Emly on October 16. Not only was the crowd huge but it was a great night as well. There were some very funny speeches, starting off with club chairman, Tom Joe O'Brien, who regaled us with stories of Paddy's prowess in football and revealed that Paddy might never have been a referee had his attempts with a band 'Radiation' been more successful. Another very funny speech was made by Pat McEneaney, a good friend of Paddy, who travelled all the way from Carrickmacross for the occasion. Having listened to all the compliments paid to Paddy he stated he was going to retire to Emly because he was regarded only as a b-----xs where he came from!

The occasion was as much a celebration of Paddy as the launch of his book, Particularly moving tributes were paid to him as a great family and club man as well as a referee by Munster chairman, Jimmy O'Gorman, and President Elect Christy Cooney. And, the book itself reveals this very ordinary man who became an extraordinary referee. Part of his strength as a referee comes from the kind of man he is who 'wouldn't do a wrong to anybody.' What also comes across is how hurtful the abuse of referees can be

The book is a wonderful read, a great tribute to the writing skills of Jackie Cahill, who got Paddy to reveal more than he did to anybody, and it gets us right into the controversy of the Paul Galvin affair in the Prologue, the last paragraph of which is: 'After the Galvin sending off, Kerry midfielder Darragh Ó Sé trotted past and remarked, 'You're having a stinker. You're evening is up.' That was the final straw as far as I was concerned. I rarely, if ever, engage in chat with players, and my quick reply surprised even me: 'You're having a stinker yourself.' Sometimes there's only so much that one can put up with. I had reached the end of my tether. Gaelic football was no fun any more.'.

The book is published by Mainstream Publishing, has 287 pages, an inset of 8 pages of pictures and retails for the incredibly low price of €13.99. A must buy!

A recent conversation with Seamus McCarthy gives the impression that the long-awaited, Galtee Rovers history is still on the way. 2009 is the 125th anniversary of the founding the the Gaelic Athletic Association and it might be a good year to publish the book. If Galtee were to win the county senior football championship there would be an even greater reason.

Next year is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of Clonmel Commercials. Well, it partly started as a 'flag of convenience' in 1932 but didn't enter championships until two years later. The club have spoken about doing something but no work as such has yet been done.

In fact clubs are encouraged to do something on their history for the 125th anniversary, just as many clubs did in 1984. It would be true to say that histories produced in the latter year now need to be updated. One of the initiatives suggested by the County 125 Committee is that clubs, who have websites update them, and those that haven't set one up. The committee are sending a template outlining the required information and if any club completes it and returns to Croke Park, it will get a website set up.

More Than a Sporting Experience

This is the title of a recently published book on thirty years of Gaelic Games in Luxembourg. The book tells the story of a most unusual G.A.A. club, which came into being through the goodwill of a growing Irish community and its friends in the city of Luxembourg 'who wished to have a sporting organisation that reflected ancient and deep-rooted traditions of the homeland.'

This is what makes it unique because the Gaelic Sports Club Luxembourg (GSCL) is much more than a sports organisation, catering for the games of hurling and football. The club has introduced European audiences to a much broader Irish cultural context bringing them Irish music and dancing as well as historical associations and links that resonate in places such as Fontenoy, Wurtzburg, Auxerre, Tournai, etc.

The authors, Eoghan Ó hAnnracháin and Cathal Davey, reveal a succession of Irish links with the Grand Duchy since the time of Willibrod. The parish priest of Saint Michel Church in 1712 was a Reverend Michael Corcoran. In the 19th century there were Irishmen in Luxembourg whose activities brought recognition to some of them. One of these was Thomas Byrne (1822-1884), an engineer who built bridges and tunnels of the northern Luxembourg railway line and was a co-founder of the Rodange smelting works. He is commemorated as a public benefactor by a street bearing his name in Hamm in the northern suburbs of the city of Luxembourg.

However, it was in the years immediately following Irish accession to the EEC in 1973 that substantial numbers of Irish men and women arrived in the Grand Duchy. Many of these worked in the services of the various EEC institutions. Ó hAnnracháin was a financial comptroller in the European Parliament. Others were employed in the wide range of banking, financial and related establishments. Still others set up their own enterprises.

Soon, small groups of Irish, as well as friends from other nationalities, assembled for céilis, for music sessions and for some hurling and gaelic football practice. Camaraderie and relaxation were the keynotes of the get-togethers which took place in fields near the airport and on land to the west of the city. As numbers grew and as a sizable Irish presence took root in Luxembourg, the need for a formal association became evident. Thus GSCL came into existence. The club's first competitive outing was played in Rome against the Irish Colleges on May 12, 1978.

The visit to Rome set the pattern for future visits by the club to other parts of Europe. While playing a game of hurling or gaelic football was the ostensible reason for a visit, the occasion was extended by visits to places with links to Irish saints and travellers. In the course of time, in association with the Luxembourg branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, these visits were expanded to ensure a comprehensive cultural presentation in many European towns.

The book is peppered with accounts of these links to Ireland. For a small country the Irish connections are many and diverse. As part of the official celebrations GSCL played a hurling match at Fontenoy in 1995 on the occasion of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the battle. Irish army pipers also attended. The book recounts the many other places visited, old historical links renewed, occasions when Irish culture was exhibited on a broader stage and, above all, the story of our expatriate brothers and sisters, proud of their heritage, of the Irish contribution to the nations of Europe and confident of what they can contribute in the future.

On a local note the first winner of Poc Fada na hEorpa was Cathal Reddan, son of the famous Tony, who played with the Paris Gaels, and the second winner was Patrick Ryan, also from Tipperary, what part I don't know. The book is lavishly illustrated, many of the pictures taken in the brilliant sunshine one associates with the continent. For a copy contact Michael McLynskey michael.mclynskey@europarl.europa.eu

Hurling World

This is a new magazine that has made its appearance. A monthly, two editions have appeared to date. The man behind it is Frank Burke of Galway, who has been very involved in the production of video histories of many of the hurling counties, including Tipperary. He is also the author of 'All-Ireland Glory' pictorial histories of the senior hurling and senior football championships. These are beautifully illustrated magnificent achievements.

Through his work on these projects he has travelled the country, listening to a lot of people and learning much on the state of hurling. He believes there is a place for such a magazine in spite of the knowledge that the fate of magazines relating to Gaelic Games is not a happy one.

In the editorial to the first issue he states: 'We hope that this magazine will help in some small way to promote the game in all those parishes where it is played and also help it expand and grow in every parish where Celt and non-Celt appreciate the skill, courage and dedication required to play our national game.'

The magazine is a top quality production, professionally done and distributed by Eason's. It is illustrated with photographs from Sportsfile. In the first edition it had Ollie Canning reflesting on Galway's year, Paul Flynn reviewing his career, John Power warning Kilkenny against complacency, Brendan Cummins on the Poc Fada, a look back to the Quigley family in Wexford, and much more. In the second edition P. M. O'Sullivan has an excellent analysis of Kilkenny's hurling strengths, an interview with Johnny Dooley, who is the Westmeath hurling coach, a profile of Liz Howard by Gerry Slevin, John Mullane looking back aghast at Waterford's performance in the All-Ireland, two articles on Antrim hurling, what Mackey said to Ring in the famous Justin Nelson photograph, and more.

There is plenty in it to appeal to hurling followers everywhere. But, to survive it will have to be purchased. It's a monthly retailing at •5 an issue. There's a special introductory offer of •50 for the eleven issues that will appear in the year and it will be delivered post free through your letter box. Send your subscription to Hurling World, Knockdoebeg East, Claregalway, Co. Galway. It might be a handy present for the Christmas.

Through the Thatch

It's a long time ago since we made a subscription for 'Through the Thatch', the history of the famed Thurles Sarsfields club. Well, it appears there is white smoke at last and years of work are coming to fruition. Liam Ó Donnchú informs me that the first of two volumes will be ready during 2009 and will cover the history of the club up to the 1930s. The history of this club is much more than a mere club history as it impinges on the history of the county in a major way as well. It is a book that will be received with great interest.

Another book to look forward to is a history of the first All-Ireland hurling final by Paul Rouse. Paul, an Offaly man and a researcher with RTE, is passionate about the game of hurling and has spent a lot of time researching this topic. I understand the book contains thirteen chapters so it will probably leave very little to learn about the first All-Ireland after its appearance. I don't have the expected date of its publication.

I should like to mention two match programs. The first was produced by the Thurles Sarsfields club under the editorship of Ger Corbett, for the county senior hurling final. A top class production in full colour, not only was the content outstanding but the layout was superb. A definite candidate for a McNamee Award.

The second is the program produced for the Ladies Football All-Irelands. Again a very well produced program with all the necessary information on the six teams involved. It has great local interest because Tipperary were involved and won the intermediate final. The only crib I have is that it includes pictures of not only the Tipperary intermediate team, but of the under-14 and under-16 teams teams also that qualified for the All-Ireland B finals, and in no case does it name the players in the pictures. No team picture should ever be produced without names the players. The program was published by the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Cusack Stand, Croke Park, Dublin 1 and may be purchased for €6.35 inclusive of postage.

Finally, two further publications, one from Shannon Rovers and a second from Roscrea. They are annual publications, mainly devoted to juvenile matters and they are due in time for the Christmas market.