The people’s games
A GAA Compendium
John Scally
Black and White Publishing

It has been argued, unsuccessfully in my view, that the GAA stands for “Grab All Association” and has no interest in community. I know first hand from being involved in club hurling that this is not the case for many volunteers who give up their time to allow kids the freedom to okay sport. Of course some are self appointed and seeking to pursue success as they view it in terms of results. These are a huge minority in my experience.

Of course by their nature volunteers are seeking to improve something of others. It is selfless and coming from a good place.

The idea of this book is such a good one. Take people and tell their excellent stories of selflessness and support for others. Speak of the hours they put in to improve a community and show the positivity that follows in their trails. At times the stories bump into this route but more often that not they are a page or 2 of someone the author admires. And that’s fine because he wrote it. Scally decides who the men and women behind the GAAs history are I may have had other heroes, the ones marking pitches, washing jerseys, preparing fixtures or managing teams. In this collection they are split into 8 groups of people from identity, history, individual pain and demons through to those who nearly made it, or were involved in both main sports or social activists.

It is very male dominated which is an opportunity lost in my view. We could do with a more even spread across people who participate and volunteer but still the idea resonates that The GAA is ingrained in our history and social fabric in ireland.


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