BY JOHNNY CAROLAN
THE new book covering the history of Bandon GAA Club has proven very popular since its launch in November and those seeking to buy it are urged to not leave it too late.
A weighty tome, the hardback is well produced and features plenty to entertain and inform. 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.
‘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 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.’
There’s certainly no shortage of content as each year’s on-field and off-field activities are recorded.
‘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 there 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’ve had various past members from all around the world looking for books. People appreciate the effort that has gone into it, which is good.
‘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.’