Dublin – The Chaos Years
Neil Cotter
Penguin Books

For many sports fans worldwide Croke Park means very little. For every sport fan in ireland it is the complete opposite. Regardless whether football, hurling or camogie is your thing or not if you’re Irish and interested in sport you know how much an all ireland title means.

For many dublin fans we have been spoiled in recent years as we have become the Kilkenny of football. A team with 4 All ireland titles in a row it seems mad to think there was a time when Dublin football couldn’t reach that holy grail of an all ireland football final.

I’m well aware this unattainable position is shared with many counties on our island and this book is about one counties failure to reach an all ireland final in 16 years. Sure it’s a bit false, to describe it as chaos when the team were trying and failing to reach the pinnacle but it tells the tale very accurately.

What makes it all the more poignant for me is that i was at every one of those games, I was with my dad and then my kids as each false dawn appeared. We were beginning to wonder if an all ireland final appearance was possible as the crowd at dublin games were at least double those of other counties

And why wouldn’t they be. Dublin. Has a far bigger population than the rest of the land, swallowing up at least one quarter of the population but it’s not all communities and GAA culture in the capital.

Cotter interviewed many players from the barren years who are ready to give their reasons for the lack of success, none of which came down to their failings. The era of each manager is explained and dissected in a pretty even handed manner.

Like all good politicians the former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern manages to extract some credit for himself for lifting the county from the abyss which is an interesting take on the story otherwise it’s a good tale of a team trying to the the elite of the elite and failing, until eventually without giving away the ending the barren years vanish.


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