TRYING to cover 130 years of GAA history in one book is a challenge – but Seamus McCarthy has achieved just that.
Heroes Past and Present – A History of Gaelic Games in Kinsale 1886 – 2016 was launched at the MacDonald Hotel in Kinsale last Sunday night to deserved fanfare, and its editor Seamus McCarthy can reflect on a job well done.
Kinsale GAA, founded in 1886, is one of the oldest GAA clubs in the county and it’s survived through tough times and celebrated good times, and the club also produced players like Jim O’Regan and Jack Barrett, so it was important that Kinsale captured its past and present heroes in black and white.
That’s where Tipperary man Seamus McCarthy comes in.
He has lived in Kinsale for 20 years, originally moving for work with the Bank of Ireland, and he has set up roots in the town and has been very involved with the club ever since.
Having written his own club, Galtee Rovers’ GAA history, launched in 2010, McCarthy was the ideal choice when Kinsale GAA decided to give this project the green light.
‘The club has a strategic five-year plan that came out in 2013 and one of the aims was that a club history would be written,’ McCarthy explained.
‘Tom Kelleher was the chairman of that particular committee and Derry Coughlan was also involved. I had written the history of my own club, Galtee Rovers, in Tipperary so that’s why I was asked two and a half years ago – and we were working on it since.’
According to McCarthy, Heroes Past and Present charts the journey that Kinsale GAA has undertaken from its early days to now, and the more he delved deeper in the club’s history, the more his respect and admiration for the club and its members grew.
‘The durability of the club to survive the difficult early years is impressive. When you think of going through the 1920s Kinsale was very much a garrison town and the club did well to survive that, as well as the emigration years.
‘The GAA club is very representative of the community, and in lots of ways it is the community. I think it has contributed so much in helping the town get through difficult times.
‘And here the club is now, strong and vibrant, with the ladies’ team in an All-Ireland final this weekend.’
A read of over 400 pages, this limited edition is an ideal stocking-filler for Kinsale GAA fans, and indeed any Cork GAA supporters. Each chapter in the book covers a decade, and the pages also tell the exploits of some of Kinsale’s most prominent figures over the years, such as Jim O’Regan, Jack Barrett, administrators like Tossie Madden, Neilus Regan and Eoin O’Neill, and others like John Kirby, Tom Fitzgerald, Ray Cummins and Eithne Duggan.
The history committee involved in this were Robbie O’Leary, Dermot Collins and Michael Creedon, chaired by Derry Coughlan.