Recent G.A.A. Publications - 2001
Some very important books were published during the past year. There was an update of the Munster Council History. Two divisions had their histories written up. The Lattin and Cullen club produced its club history. And there was more.
First of all, though, I want to mention 'The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Gaelic Football and Hurling' by Martin Breheny and Donal Keenan, published by Carlton Books and retailing at £19.99. This is a splendid looking book, in large coffee table format, containing just under two hundred lavishly-illustrated pages. It is divided into twelve chapters with the headings giving a good idea of the contents. They are: The Origins of Gaelic Games, The All-Ireland Championships, The Legends of Gaelic Football, The Legends of Hurling, the Great Dual Players, The Great players, The Great Managers, The Famous Stadiums, The Great Matches, Controversies and Scandals, The History of the Rules of Gaelic Games, The Records. The book also includes a chronology and an index.
In the chapter called 'The History of the All-lreland Championships', only the highlights feature. For instance we get Wexford's famous Four in a Row, Cork's Four in a Row, The Polo Grounds final 1947, First Across the Border, Galway's Three in a Row, Heffo's Army, Kerry's Golden Year, Famous Firsts - Offaly 1971-81, Meath 1949, Waterford 1948 etc.
This chapter illustrates one of the shortcomings of the book, the many omissions. Probably too much was attempted in very limited space so something had to go. The only quibble I would have is with the title, which makes the claim of 'the ultimate encyclopedia." This it definitely is not and its records section is very limited but, within these constraints, it is a very fine production indeed and will made a wonderful Christmas present, if only for the photographs. Incidentally, it was printed in Dubai!
Munster G.A.A. Story, Vol II 1985-2001
If the previous book is short on record, the Munster G.AA Story is as comprehensive as it is possible to be. Published by Munster Council and containing 524 pages, it retails for £15. It is a follow-up to Munster G.AA Story Part I, which came out in 1984 and there's no need to go any further if you're looking for any information on Munster games. It doesn't only cover the events from 1985 to 2001, it also includes all the results from the beginning. Two chapters give an idea. Chapter 5 lists all the winning teams in the Munster championships, hurling and football, all grades, from 1887-2000. Chapter 6 gives all the railway Cup teams and the results and chapter 7 gives the complete scoreboard 1887-2000. Other chapters deal with camogie, handball, primary schools, second level schools, third level colleges, scór, ladies football and interfirm. There's a chapter listing all the club and county publications in the province. There's a chapter in which prominent players from the counties - Paul Flynn, Michael Keating, Gary Kirby, Tomas Mulcahy, Jamesy O'Connor, Michael Sheehy - reminisce on the fortunes of their respective counties over the last twenty years. And, there's more! It's the ultimate reference book on the province. And it's a snip at £15.
Two Division Histories
The ultimate book of reference for the West Tipperary was launched at Dundrum in May. Written by division P.R.O. J.J. Kennedy, it's a monument of a book. Extending to over 500 pages, it contains nearly a half-million words and hundreds of photographs. It costs £20.
Although a history of the division, which was formed in 1930, the book begins in 1884 with the first two chapters devited to the state of play in the area before the formation of the division. During that period teams from what was later the divisional area played in the other three divisions. The next four chapters cover the divisional history on a decade by decade basis with the emphasis put on teams that dominated the respective decades. Chapters 7-12 cover the remainder of the period on a five-year basis as the number of competitions and games increases. Chapter 13 is devoted to players from the division who won All-Ireland senior titles. Many people will find this section particularly interesting with many fine profiles. The next two chapters deal with profiles of chairmen of the board and divisional referees. The final chapter is devoted to handball.
The book is completed by six extensive appendices, which contain a wealth of records. Appendix 3 is particularly impressive, containing as it does all the teams, hurling and football, in all the grades, that won divisional titles. Club officials, program producers and all kinds of researchers will be forever grateful to J.J. Kennedy for th is very important work.
The North division celebrated its centenary during 2001 and did so in style with a large number of events, which are detailed elsewhere in this publication. One of these was the production of its history and this work was taken on by this writer. Again, the book begins in 1884 and takes the story up to the formation of the division in 1901, highlighting the role of Peter Carroll of Kilbarron in the formation. The main part of the book is divided into twelve chapters taking the story up to 2000. The accounts of matches are not as detailed as in the West book.
Then follows eleven chapters with headings like All the Results, Club Profiles, is which a snapshot of all the clubs is given, Profiles of Players and Administrators, in which club members, prominent in administration or on the field of play, are profiled, The North Board Trophies, on the origin of the trophies presented for all the championships. The Playing Venues of North Tipperary, in which the history and facilities of club venues are presented, and after that there are chapters on Bord na nÓg, scór, handball and primary schools. The final two chapters are devoted to board officers and a bibliography of books relating to the division. The book retails for 420.
The Lattin-Cullen History
A history of Gaelic Games in Lattin - Cullen was launched by President of the GAA. Sean McCague, at the Golden Thatch, Emly on May 3. The club came into existence 1886 and the book is a labour of love by Jackie Hannon, who spent a good number of years researching the work. The result is a pleasure to read. It is about the struggle of a small club to survive through thick and thin to the present. Two of the chapters relate these struggles. Chapter 2 on the period 1913-1948 is entitled Troubled Times and chapter 6 is entitled Leaner Times. but the club survived and there was a huge turnout to celebrate the publication of their achievements. These achievements were a source of pleasure and pride to all present. Sean McCague was high in his praise of such clubs as Lattin-cullen, who are the backbone of the Association. Available for £20 the book recalls not only the contributions of Lattin-Cullen's best-known player, Nicky English, but the lowliest player who donned the green and white.
The GAA. History of Burgess by Bridget Delaney was launched on November 22. Too late for inclusion in this review it is a very large work of over 700 pages.
I want to mention a few other publications that have come my way. The highlight of the year in any division is the senior hurling or football final. Usually an effort is made to produce a program worthy of the occasion. The South was unique this year in that both hurling and football finals were played on the same day. Of the four final programs produced I want to single out the North. Produced by Liam Hogan, who is the most prolific producer of divisional programs in the county, it is a credit to him and sets a new standard for such productions. Produced in full colour, in A4 format, it is a wonderful production and a credit not only to Liam but his printers at the Nenagh Guardian. It quickly became a collector's item and it's to be regretted that a few hundred more weren't produced.
Feile Peil na n6g 2001 was held in the county the first weekend in July. the first time to be held in Tipperary, it was a great success particularly due to the efforts of Michael Ryan, chairman, and Michael Power, secretary of the local committee. One of the committee's task was to produce a program for the event. This was a fine production, running to seventy-two pages, and is a wonderful record of the holding of Feile Peil in the county. Copies of this program are still available from Michael Power for £5, including postage.
The last publication I wish to refer to is "Off the Ball - Waterford's Re-Emergence as a Hurling Force", which came out last year. Written by Patrick J. Power from a supporter's point of view, it has 170 pages and retails for £7.99. The second last chapter is entitled "Hurling's ABC of '98". For instance: C=Cannon; Like a cannonball. Paul Flynn's 20 metre free which rattled the Clare net to level the scores in the last minute of the Munster Final. Unfortunately, there's been little progress since and we look forward in anticipation to what Justin McCarthy can do with them in 2001. In the final chapter the writer sounds off. The following is a flavour of what he is at. 'Neil Diamond has played at Croke Park more times than half the 32 county teams (including ourselves) but the G.A.A. won't allow the Republic of Ireland Soccer team to play there!' And: 'The GAA. received £20 million from the Minister of Finance for the development of Croke Park, and then spent some of the money on 'research' into finding a 'plastic' replacement for the caman. I wouldn't blame The Irish Guild of Ash Hurley Makers to be a little upset, would you?'
Anyhow, happy reading and a happy Christmas. If you are stuck for a present remember there are plenty of other G.AA books available in the GAA. shop in Lár na Pairce, including 'Tipperary's G.A.A. Ballads', already a classic!
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2002, pp 219-220