Recent G.A.A. Publications 2011
Probably the most satisfactory thing to report in the area of publications during the year was the winning of a McNamee Award for the best G.A.A. Programme. The Tipperary senior hurling final programme ' was chosen as the winning entry as it showed effective planning, design and layout on top of its excellent content which would have been of great interest to GAA patrons at the game'.
Congratulations are due to Ger Corbett for this excellent production. While one is delighted with his achievement one has to ask why the honour has taken so long to come his way. He has been producing county final programmes of the highest quality for a number of years. They are all exciting productions in content, colour and layout and, may I say, so much more exciting than the monotonous productions that we get when we attend All-Ireland finals, Keep up the good work, Ger!
And, of course, Ger did that with another super production for this year's senior hurling final. One of the things to note about this production was the glimpses into the past. For instance there were six pages devoted to the Kilruane-MacDonagh's team that won the 1985 final. There was also a piece on the fiftieth anniversary of the county senior hurling All-Ireland of 1961
While on the subject of programs it is important to mention the West senior football program, which was produced for the final at Golden on September 25. This was a 32-page production masterminded by former secretary, Jerry Ring, and the Golden-Kilfeacle club and it was the first time that a program of such size was produced for the final
Pride of place among G.A.A. productions in the county must go to Toomevara G.A.A. 25 Glorious Years 1986-2010, which continues the story begun in The Green and Golden Years of Toomevara G.A.A. 1995-1985, published in 1986. This is a more substantial volume than the original with 350 pages. It covers the great modern period of the club when they won 11 county senior hurling finals since 1992, as well as numerous other finals. Written on a year by year basis the information is very accessible. Each year starts with the officers elected for the year, then progresses to senior hurling, followed by all the other grades, adult and juvenile and finishes with any ballads or poems composed during the year and obituaries. Program makers of the future will thank the history committee under the chairmanship of Paddy O'Brien, who did the work. The book was printed by the Nenagh Guardian and retails for €15.
One of the publishing events of the year was The Rattler Mickey Byrne Tipperary Hurling Legend by Michael Dundon and the Byrne Family. This book attracted huge publicity and brought an overflow crowd to the Anner Hotel for the launch in May. The book does justice to Mickey because it's as much about the man as it is about his hurling. The earlier part is devoted to his litany of quips and stories and this drags the reader into the nitty-gritty of his hurling story.. It will be of interest to readers to learn that the name 'The Rattler' was not earned from the sound of ribcages rattling as a result of contact with Mickey on the hurling field but rather from the name of a contemporary baddy in cowboy films, that Mickey used to side with, when he was growing up. One of the strong features of this book are the pictures.People of Mickey's vintage were not well-served with cameras and photographs are few and far between. However, the editors must have scoured the highways and byways to come up with the large number of images that pepper this production. All of them may not be of the best quality but they make a big impact in the book and add to the larger than life subject. Micheal O Muircheartaigh, another larger than life character, was along to launch the book, many hurlers from the period also attended and all together made it a night to remember. The book is a fitting tribute to the hurling legend, who has a record of achievement that is unlikely to be ever equalled in having won 14 county senior hurling medals, as well as many All-Ireland, Railway Cup and others. The book retails for €20 and the proceeds of the sale went to charity.
The sub-title of this book by Susan Max on Tommy Barrett is '50 Years of G.A.A. Memories'. It was launched to a full house in the Sarsfields' Social Centre, Thurles on November 11, coinciding with Ireland's play-off game with Estonia in the European Cup! The launch was done by the very eminent, past president of the association, Peter Quinn, who developed a good rapport with Tommy over the course of the years. The book emphasises Tommy's republican side from his birth in Killenaule in 1924 and his great love of the G.A.A., expressed in his close involvement with the association since he arrived in Thurles in the early fifties. This is a beautifully produced book, with an outstanding photograph of Tommy on the front cover, very readable print and well-told by Susan Max. If I have any complaint it is the shortage of photographs. There is a good representative sample but I thought there should be more. The proceeds of the book, after expenses, will go to the hospice movement. It retails for €20.
Ardfinnan Club G.A.A. History
It's always the same around Christmas. Books come thick and fast and we had two in one week during the last week of November. The first of these was the 'Ardfinnan G.A.A. History 1910-2010' by Micheal O'Meara and it was launched by G.A.A. President, Christy Cooney in Ardfinnan Community Hall on November 23. The hurling side of the parish, Ballybacon-Grange, recorded its history in a slim volume in 1984. This is a much more substantial production of 360 pages. and it traces the football history of the parish over the century. It also recognises the achievements of the hurlers over the period because there is always a big overlap of players. The front cover of the book features the 1910 football team, the first photograph of any team from the club, and a good clear picture it is also. There are many great stories in this book and one of the greatest is the first county senior final in 1935. Like all clubs there are plenty of famous families who had contributed down the decades and the two most prominent players to wear the jersey were Babs Keating and Brendan Cummins. The book retails for €45 and is only available from the club.
The Greatest Hurling Story Ever Told
This is the sub-title to the biography of John Doyle, written by John Harrington and published by Irish Sports Publishing for €15.99. It contains about 300 pages. It was launched in the Anner Hotel, Thurles on November 24 by Michael Maher, the only one left of Hell's Kitchen without a biography. I heard of a Kilkenny man who saw the blurb on a poster about the launch in Phil Murray's pub in Upperchurch and exhaled in disdain at the arrogance of the claim! I suppose it does hurt black and amber followers to hear such claims from the natives of the 'Home of Hurling'. Incidentally Upperchurch is the home of the author, John Harrington, and he brought his professional training as a journalist to the writing of this book. It is all the more readable for that. It was a brave task to take on the writing of the biography of a hurler who strode the stage of Tipperary hurling like a collossus for over two decades. On the other hand it was most important that such a figure be written about and we must thank John Harrington for his fine achievement. The book retails for €15.99.
I would like also to mention two annual publications, the Shannon Rovers publication on the year just past and the Roscrea production called The Year in Red. Both are important in recording the achievements of the club and continue to exhibit a high standard of production.
One of the biggest books to come my way during the year is Clare G.A.A. - The Club Scene 1887-2010, a massive tome of close to 900 pages. Compiled by Seamus O'Reilly, a regular photographer at matches in Semple Stdium and the owner/editor of the Clare County Express, it covers the Clare senior hurling and football championships from the beginning. A compact book it tells the number of teams that participated in each championship, the progress to the final and a detailed account of the final, including the names of the finalists. There are also pictures of the winners, where these exist, and other interesting club photographs. This is a great reference work, the product of many hours of research and a tribute to the author. The book is available for €20.
The People's History
Last year saw the publication of one of the most stunning books on the G.A.A. entitled The People's History. It outlined how Gaelic games and the social world which revolves around the Association, has shaped the lives of generations of Irish people at home and abroad. If you didn't buy a copy at the time, do so before it goes out of print. It retails for €29'99.
This year there is a sequel to this book called The G.A.A. County by County. People and place, sport and identity lie at the heart of this book, telling the story of how the GAA has left a unique imprint on every Irish county and Irish communities overseas. Organised county by county, the highs and lows of on-field activity are charted and the various forces that have shaped the personality of the GAA across each county – social, economic, geographic and political – are examined. With a compelling mix of text, images (many previously unseen) and first-hand accounts from participants in the GAA Oral History project, this is a seamless blend of the scholarly and the popular, providing fascinating insights into why the GAA has developed as it has in different places. It contains 432 pages and retails for €29.99.
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2012, pp 92-93