THE past decade or so has been an eventful one for Bandon GAA Club on the field and their four county championship successes in six years serve as a fitting centre-piece of the conclusion of a new history club.
Launched in November, the book covers the playing of Gaelic sport in Bandon from 1892-2020. The recent county IHC (2011), JAFC (2015), Premier IHC and IFC (both 2016) victories all receive deserved attention while there are special sections on club stalwarts who went above and beyond the call of duty in the name of the famous Lilywhites.
A weighty tome, the hardback is well produced and features plenty to entertain and inform as each year’s highs and lows are catalogued. The fortunes of every team’s exploits are covered in a chronological format, with a multitude of photographs sure to bring back memories.
Ian Doyle, who stepped down as club chairperson after four years at the end of last year, is delighted to have seen the project become reality as it is the culmination of a half-century’s work on behalf of a number of tireless club people.
“Back in 1971, there was a booklet made for the official opening of Charlie Hurley Park,” he says.
“Monsignor Kevin O’Callaghan – then Fr Kevin O’Callaghan – wrote a piece about the history of Bandon GAA Club.
“He started putting together stuff on that and what happened after that was that Denis Burke took on a project to go back looking at the history of the club.
“For 25 years, basically, he went up and down to the Southern Star in Skibbereen and also in to the Examiner offices in Cork, patiently gathering information and photographs on teams and meetings.
“He recorded a whole lot of stuff over the years and when he passed away a number of years ago, his wife Aileen had all of the stuff and Don Desmond approached her about continuing Denis’s good work and putting it into a book. That had always been Denis’s plan.
“After that, Don and the rest of the people on the committee – the likes of Mickey Kelly, Lar Connolly, even the late Kathleen Canty, Joe Crowley – started gathering more information and putting the various chapters together.”
All of the research has been put to good use as the book could never be accused of lacking in content, ensuring that as much of the history as possible is there in black and white. If and when a new volume appears, those charged with producing it will be able to start from 2021 without fear of having missed anything before that.
“The book is 650 pages,” Doyle says, “and there are over 300 photographs, from 1892 up until 2020.
“We stopped at 2020, obviously that was just before Covid started and it felt like a natural break. Don, to be fair, had a lot more information and we had to call a halt to it!
“It’s fantastic to have it and people can pick it up and put it down as they go along.
“As a reference, you can go through each year and see how each team did, from U14 up to adult, and then are articles on certain key figures involved with the club over the years.
“There are also little stories of what was happening around Bandon at a particular time, so there’s a good mix.”
Demand has been strong and that’s why Doyle is keen to remind those who have not yet bought the book to make sure to do so before all of the copies are sold.
“The response has been fantastic,” he says.
“We had our launch back in November and Teddy McCarthy, who had a previous association with the club from coaching the intermediate hurling team, came down to launch it.
“It was a great night with a big crowd there, a lot of past members came back.
“We’ve been very happy with how things have gone and sales have been good around the town – Bandon Books Plus and Hickey’s and O’Farrell’s have been selling it away and then obviously people have been ordering it online, too.
“It’s important too though to bear in mind that there won’t be any extra print runs – when they’re gone, they’re gone.”