THE Game of My Life, a book featuring stories by 30 Carlow GAA sports stars, which was written by John Kelly was launched in Tinryland on Thursday. Some players who made contributions to the book were present. These included Paul Broderick and Tommy Dwyer of the Tinryland club as well as Tommy Corcoran of Éire Óg. Author, John Kelly, who is a former Tinryland clubman himself is now living in Castleisland with his wife and three children. The work was published by Herobooks whose founder is the former Meath footballer, Liam Hayes, was present at the launch.
For John, the work is a labour of love.
“Anyone who knows me, know how much I am into Carlow GAA. I used to do a bit of writing and have always had the bug. To marry the two and to write about Carlow GAA was a dream to do it,” he said.
“There are 30 legends in this book. They may not be the greatest Carlow players. There is no such thing because my 30 greatest Carlow players might be different to the next lad. The thirty Carlow players featured here and who wore the jersey all have a story to tell,” said John.
The Castleisland resident said that when he started meeting players and writing up their tales, he never realised how far it would take him.
“There are some fantastic stories. When I sat down to write this I didn’t think of talking of drinking poteen at matches or having a sing-song with Linda Martin and chips would be in the book. But it was.
“That is just Tommy Dwyer’s story, never mind anyone else,” revealed Kelly who was sensitive in his research.
“It is not just football. Players talk about families and loved ones. There are some mentions of people who are not with us anymore. Some of it is very personal and people opened up to me and told me their stories.”
The author insisted this work should be shared among all Carlow GAA folk.
“Even though we are celebrating Paul Broderick and Tommy Dwyer here, it is important to say it is not a Tinryland book, it is not a Palatine book, it is not a Myshall book-it is a Carlow book.”
Liam Hayes recalled that he has links to Carlow.
“When I was managing Carlow in 2004-05, I was honoured to manage Carlow. I couldn’t impress on you how strongly I felt about that. To go back and manage my Dad’s county was just unbelievable,” the All-Ireland medal winner said.
He recalled Meath scraping over Carlow in a 1986 championship game.
“Carlow had us dead but couldn’t bury us. They hit the post in the last minutes of the game. We were all on a knife-edge and were glad to get out of Dr Cullen Park.
“Carlow should have won that game. Sean Boylan would have been buried and that Meath team would have won nothing.”
The book was also launched in the Éire Óg clubhouse on Friday while there are three further launches scheduled for venues around the county and will be in Palatine GAA Club on Friday 16 September.
‘Carlow: Game of my Life’ is published by Hero Books and is available in all good bookstores (and also on Amazon as an ebook €9.99, paperback €20 and hardback €25)
By Kieran Murphy