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GAA books popular despite Roy Keane or Brian O'Driscoll's efforts


Word is: Paul Galvin’s book is a touch frustratingCroke

Word is: Paul Galvin’s book is a touch frustratingCroke

©INPHO/James Crombie

Word is: Paul Galvin’s book is a touch frustratingCroke

GAA books tend to go through the occasional fallow year, but that hasn't been the case in 2014.

Given that it was a year of the blockbuster, with Roy Keane and Brian O'Driscoll publishing their own autobiographies, you might have expected several writers to hold fire on their project for another 12 months, but not a word of it.

One book that is performing well and not lasting long on the shelves is Paul Galvin's own self-penned autobiography, 'In My Own Words.'

However, the lack of rigorous self-examination would have been sorted with even a measure of diligent editing from a trained journalist. Ultimately frustrating.

'Dalo', the autobiography of former Clare captain and manager Anthony Daly, assisted by Christy O'Connor, lacks nothing in detail, right down to the colour of ink Daly writes his notes for team talks on his flipcharts.

Normally, a manager is documenting a successful All-Ireland campaign when they produce an autobiography. Daly does his during an anti-climax season for Dublin hurling and himself as manager. However, his warmth, introspection, surprising insecurity and the shadow of his relationship with Ger Loughnane carries us all the way through a fantastic project.

Shane Curran's autobiography 'Cake' is as you would hope and expect; full of colour, candour and craic as he takes us up and down the lanes of Ireland as Roscommon and Athlone Town goalkeeper.

However, he is surprisingly perceptive in his assessment of umpires and the acceptance of violence in Gaelic Games. Another for the shortlist.

Pat Nolan's labour of love, 'The Furlongs', on the famous Tullamore family is comprehensive and detailed and gives us everything we might have ever wanted on the story of Offaly football through the eyes of some of its finest participants. It represents another quirky idea well executed by the Ballpoint Press publishing house.

'Hell for Leather - A Journey through hurling in 100 games' was produced as a joint effort by Dermot Crowe and Ronnie Bellew. A coffee table hardback book, it details hurling's history through narratives on seminal or important matches.

The history element will ensure it will never grow old.

And it is worth digging out a copy of Damian Lawlor's 'Fields of Fire'. Written in the wake of Clare's 2013 All-Ireland hurling triumph, it illustrates how hurling was in the grip of another mini-revolution.

Superbly compiled, it deserves to be on this list as much as any other book.

Belfast Telegraph