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Thu 22-Oct-2009 20:56
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Review: The History of Gaelic Football
The complete history of Ireland’s number one ball game
Eoghan Corry is a talented writer who can always be relied on to do more than justice to whatever topic he selects, writes An Fear Rua...
In his latest book
The History of Gaelic Foootball'
, Corry has taken on a monumental task but delivers on it in an interesting and compelling way. His book essential reading for fans of the 'big ball' game and even for those people who share the late Christy Ring's view that
'The best way to revive hurling is to stick a knife in every football in the country...'
Of those gathered at the founding meeting of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Thurles in 1884, it very likely that many were unsure as to what direction their fledgling organisation would take. They could not have known that Croke Park would develop as the third biggest stadium in Europe and a modern day sporting Mecca. Nor did they anticipate that Gaelic football would evolve from a casual catch and kick around the park to a major sporting industry and would be played in the four corners of the globe. Nor did they envisage that it would capture the imagination of the nation and contribute enormously to Irish culture.
The History of Gaelic Football
, Eoghan Corry traces the evolution of the game, from its humble beginnings to its present state and the challenges it faces in the 21st century, not only from within its own ranks but from other sports with their mammoth marketing efforts, competing to capture the attention of sports enthusiasts.
Moving through the decades, Corry looks at the rise and demise of great teams; from the Kerry teams of the earlier half of the century, trained by the iconic Dr Eamonn O’Sullivan; the Galway team of the 60s; Heffo’s Army of the 70s; and the 'Northern Rising' in the latter stages of the 90s and of course 21st century. In the race for Sam, no team’s efforts are left unrecorded.
The development of the game is charted, with a change in tactics from the traditional catch and kick to the hand pass and finally a return to the more tried and trusted method. Interspersed are the efforts made by various teams to stay ahead of the game, from blanket defences to the ‘two-man’ full forward line. As the game went global and social and economic changes afforded people greater opportunities to travel, new training techniques and tactics borrowed from other field games from the United States and Australia were adapted and modified for Gaelic football. The development of the ‘backroom’ team synonymous with contemporary teams is also recorded as is the role of team psychology.
Aside from the above,
The History of Gaelic Football
celebrates the respective roles of players, managers and supporters who have made Gaelic football the preferred game with the highest rate of participation at every age group and the role it plays in community life, both rural and urban.
is one of Ireland’s leading sports journalists. A native of Kildare, he has been working in print and broadcast journalism for over thirty years and has been writing sports books since his early teens. He is a former sports editor of the Sunday Tribune and a former features editor of the Irish Press and Evening News. He is currently editor of Travel Extra, travel correspondent on RTÉ Radio’s Today with Pat Kenny and a columnist with the Irish Independent.
The History of Gaelic Football, Published by
Gill & Macmillan
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