Three Roscommon stories included in landmark GAA grassroots book

Three stories relating to County Roscommon are included 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”.

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 Roscommon GAA.

Creator of the term ‘the Rossies,’ Paddy Joe Burke’s contribution revolves around his sporting theatre of dreams – Dr Hyde Park. It was there, as one millennium was in its death throes, that he arrived to make history that would last another thousand years. As they might say, only Paddy Joe would come up with such a great idea as to straddle millennia.

Tommie Kenoy wonders, like many in the county, whatever happened to the Fahey Cup after it was won for the one and only time by Kilmore back in 1983. It was central to the club’s celebrations for the week after the final and for a while afterwards. Then, when the County Board asked for it to be returned in 1984, it could not be found. These past 38 years, the new ‘Fahey Cup’ is presented, but the trail has long since run cold on the whereabouts of the original.

  A bonus for ‘Rossies’ is the story by the incomparable former Galway All-Ireland winning captain Joe Connolly on how he ended up playing Féile for a club in Roscommon, and how he was almost unmasked when he couldn’t remember the name under which he was playing!

Other contributors include former Irish soccer international Niall Quinn, Meath legends Sean Boylan and Bernard Flynn, Tony O’Hehir, son of the legendary Michael, ex-Armagh player and manager Joe Kernan, and RTÉ hurling analyst and former Offaly star, Michael Duignan.

‘Grassroots: Stories From The Heart Of The GAA (Volume 1)’, is priced at €19.99. If you have a GAA anecdote or story you would like to share for Volume 2, contact PJ Cunningham on 086 8217631 or email pj@gaastories.ie.