TWELVE stories from Cork have been selected to appear in a fascinating new book on the GAA – written by people at the heart of the association nationwide.
‘ Grassroots: Stories From The Heart Of The GAA’, is a treasure trove of GAA memories, tales and incidents spanning over 150 years.
“The book generated an incredible response from every county in Ireland, as well as from the Irish abroad,” said author and journalist, PJ Cunningham, who collaborated with Croke Park on the publication.
“I have included stories not only since the GAA’s foundation in 1884, but from before, through to the Civil War and up to modern times.
“The collection is, in essence, the first time that this rich oral tradition of sideline and on-field stories have been put together and published in this form.
“It provides snapshots into the history of the GAA, recounted by the people at the heart of the action, whether those stories are happy or sad, dramatic or ordinary.”
Volume 1 has just been published and such was the response from the GAA community that work has already begun on a second collection.
The first edition includes stories from the rich history of Cork GAA – none more unusual than the account by Kildorrery native Mike Monaghan of how a ‘Fine Gael club’ planned to ambush a Fianna Fáil team and delay them from appearing in a local final.
There is an embarrassment of riches in terms of Rebel tales, with memorable stories of how a soccer man in the city nurtured a hurling destiny for eight players to experience All-Ireland glory.
Tim Horgan’s beautiful vignette saw him attend a match in which Christy Ring scored 6-4 against Wexford - and he didn’t see a single puck from the great man.
How could a driver end up in court for giving 20 Cork fans a lift to the Munster hurling final in Thurles in the mid-1940s? The milk-run-turned-sour tale was written in a gripping narrative by the late Donal Herlihy, remembering every nuance of the day as a 16-year-old.
Other contributors to the book include former Irish soccer international Niall Quinn, Meath legends Sean Boylan and Bernard Flynn, Tony O’Hehir, son of the legendary Michael O’Hehir, former Galway hurling captain Joe Connolly, Dublin star of the nineties Keith Barr, ex-Armagh player and manager Joe Kernan and RTÉ hurling analyst and former Offaly star, Michael Duignan.
“The folklore and stories that built up around our games are part of the reason that the organisation occupies such a special place in Irish society,” said GAA President, Larry McCarthy.
“The GAA has always been about more than just games, it is part of what we are.”
GRASSROOTS: Stories From The Heart Of The GAA (Volume 1), priced at €19.99, is available now in all good bookshops.
If you have a GAA anecdote or story you would like to share for Volume 2, contact PJ Cunningham at 086-8217631 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org.