G.A.A. Publications 2016

Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2017, pages 50-52


A number of club histories were published during the year. One of the most impressive was Kilruane MacDonaghs 1970-2013 – Heirs to a Proud Tradition by Gilbert Williams. Canon Whyte published the club history in 1985 and brought the story up to 1970 so this work takes the story almost to the present.

It’s a big book of almost 550 pages and is produced in hardback, retailing at €30. It was printed by the Nenagh Guardian.

It covers that great period in the club’s history, which saw it win four senior hurling titles between 1977 and 1985 as well as an All-Ireland club title. The latter success becomes an even bigger achievement as the years go by. Kilruane club stands with Roscrea and Borrisileingh as the only Tipperary clubs to achieve the highest honour in club hurling and no other club in the county has emulated their achievement since the eighties.

Also in the period covered by the book is the senior football title won by the club in 1975, a rarity in North Tipperary and, perhaps, not among the priorities of the club, but a nice addition to the club’s escutcheon.

The book is a detailed account of club activity in hurling and football during the years covered. There is a logical progression in each chapter, starting with the club AGM and giving an account of the fate of all teams from senior down to under-12 in hurling and football. It is easy to follow and the information can be clearly sourced.

There is a good Roll of Honour section at the end of the book, which includes not only championships won but also individual honours won at county level in every grade, and an impressive list it is also.

I understand there are 400 pictures in the book and the author has recognised the importance of the visual in including so many. It will give people the chance to see how they looked at the club dance thirty or forty years ago!

Gilbert Williams has done his club a great service. His article on Christiaan de Wet, the Boer general after whom the club was named in 1901, is an interesting addition to the publication. The book is a valuable record of achievements over the period and will be an importance reference work not only for members of the Kilruane-MacDonaghs club but for outsiders as well.

Betwixt the Arras and Lough Derg: A History of Gaelic Games in Portroe 1884-2015 by Seamus J. King was launched in the Parish Hall by Fr. Seamus Gardiner on October 30. A large book, extending to 600 pages, it was printed by Guardian Print and Design and retails for €20.
The parish is a small place with one church and one school but the Portroe G.A.A. Club makes up for lack of size with a huge dedication and commitment to success. As the author says of the club players ‘When they wear the green and gold they are lifted to a higher plane and driven to greater heights of endeavour.’ And the supporters are no less passionate.

The book traces the successes and failures of the club over 130 years and gives prominence to two major years in that history, 1990, when they achieved senior status after many years, and 2012, when they won their first North senior hurling championship.

As well as an account of club activities in hurling and football, the book gives generous coverage to juvenile games, Scór and camogie, as well as to an interesting athletic involvement in the 1950s.

There is also a comprehensive statistical section in the book as well as a number of articles on the industrial past of the parish. In fact quite a bit of the social history of the parish is covered, making the book much more than a sporting record. There’s a good selection of pictures and thirteen profiles of prominent individuals and families who contributed significantly to the story of the G.A.A. in the parish of Portroe.


Another Update

St. Mary’s, Clonmel have updated their club history. The original volume was published in 1990 and the updated version, which was launched in the G.A.A. Centre, Clonmel on November 12, includes the untouched earlier volume of 244 pages plus an additional 200 pages covering the years 1990 to 2015.

The title of the book is St. Mary’s Hurling & Camogie Club 1929-2015. It is printed by Naas Printing Ltd and it retails for €25. The author is Sean O’Donnell, who was also author of the original book and who is also the author of two historical works on the town of Clonmel.

The original work opens dramatically with the arrival of Charles Stewart Parnell to Clonmel on 21 January, 1891 ‘only two months since the O’Shea case came to court, six weeks since those M.P.s in Committee Room 15 had ousted him from party leadership and less than a month since the crushing defeat of his candidate in the North Kilkenny by-election.’

The  rest of the story isn’t quite so dramatic with more triumphs than failures rising to intermediate success in the early seventies. The seniors had a period in the limelight in the early eighties but they were desperately avoiding relegation at the Millennium. The following extract gives the flavour of the time as well as the author’s succinct style: 

‘We lost to Cashel at New Inn at the end of October and the following Sunday we travelled to the Ragg more in hope than confidence. Our players dug deep, however,  and to the surprise of many, we played with great resolve and beat Kilruane, who only a few years earlier had been All-Ireland club champions, by 3-10 to 1-13. For the second year in succession we had avoided relegation by a whisker.’

Probably the best part of the story is in the final chapters, the titles of which give one the flavour. There were Signs of New Growth between 2008-2010, Better Times 2011-2013 and New Heights 2014-2015. Unfortunately the cut-off point is the end of 2015 with the result that the retention of the county title by the minor hurling  A team  couldn’tt be included. Also deprived of mention is Seamus Kennedy’s winning an All-Ireland senior medal in September, when he joined Donncha Fahey, who won in 2001, in the winner’s enclosure.

One of the great strengths of this book is the inclusion of club panels of club teams in senior, junior, under-21 and minor, as well as juveniles, in addition to mentors between 1990 and 2015, Also included is a list of St. Mary’s players, who were on Tipperary hurling teams for championship matches from 1930 onwards. As well as the year and grade, the position played in is included and the outcome (win, lose, draw). This section includes those who served on the club committee during the period of the book, as well as club players who featured in teams outside the county.

Sean O’Donnell has done a great service to the club in bringing the St. Mary’s story up to the present. He has brought to the work his renowned historical skills and all players, mentors and supporters of the club will be grateful to him for the result.

At the end of 2015 the Kildangan G.A.A. Club published A Centenary History, too late for inclusion in last year’s article. It appeared in its centenary year and told the story of the club’s ‘humble origins its growth to maturity, its triumphs and its failures.’ It also gave recognition to now defunct junior teams in the parish, Ballycommon, Carney and Lahorna, ‘teams that operated on the lowest rung of the hurling ladder but nevertheless brought immense pleasure and satisfaction to many people.’

The most successful period in the club’s history occurred since the Millennium when they won three North intermediate titles, plus a county in 2004, and three North senior titles. However, the county senior remains elusive.

Among the club’s county senior medal holders are two of the best forwards to ever play with Tipperary, Martin Kennedy, who was an outstanding goal-getter and who, according to one rival ‘never scored the same goal twice.’ and Jimmy Kennedy, one of the greatest point-getters that ever lined out for the county.

In chapter 3 we read about the birth of Kiladangan Club, the form of the name preferred by the authors,  Danny Grace and Seamus Hogan, to the more common, Kildangan. The event took place in Kiladangan Boys School on November 18, 1915 and a list of the people associated with the foundation is given. We are told that ‘King (Ned) McGrath was the last surviving founder member of the club’ and he died in November 1984 at the age of 87 years.

In their account of the earlier years the authors give a list of Kiladangan players, who played in senior championship matches over a period of five years, rather than giving an account of individual matches. This system does have its advantage as it enables to reader to see at a glance how many games a player played over a period of time.

Overall the authors have given and extensive account of the story of Gaelic Games in the parish over the period covered, with the information given in the later years the most comprehensive, An important addition are the lineouts given in Bord na nÓg finals, with the townslands of the players included. An important record for the future.

The book was printed by Guardian Print and Design.. It contains 400 pages in flexicover and retails for €20.

Just barely arriving in time for mention is Dermot Kavanagh’s, The Story of Interprovincial Hurling. This is a great addition to one’s G.A.A. Library, being the history of the now dead, and waiting to be buried,Railway Cup competition, but also the long disappeared Railway Shield and Tailteann Games provincial competitions.

The strength of this publication is its record section, containing as it does the dates, scores, and teams that participated in the competitions. The pictures are fascinating particularly that of Munster, Railway Cup champions 1976 with the tall Noel O’Dwyer, dwarfed in the back row by the likes of Pat Hartigan, Joe McKenna and Ray Cummins. The book was launched in Langton’s Hotel, Kilkenny on December 8 and retails at €20


Annual Publications

A few clubs publish annual accounts of their activities. These can vary in size from simple newsletters to more ambitious productions. 

Roscrea Club have produced A Year in the Red for a good number of years and this year feature the Spooner brothers who gave distinguished service to the club. 

Liam Hogan produces and ambitious account of activities in the Shannon Rovers Club, called the Shannon Rovers Review and thgis year’s production has 56 pages.

Moycarkey-Borris Club  produce an annual newsletter.