I’m back in the capital after a very enjoyable weekend in the west and back with me too is a treasured copy of the Aghamore GAA club history. The book was launched on Friday night at a jam-packed event in the Park Hotel in Kiltimagh, where Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh was guest of honour and it was he who formally launched the book at the end of a wonderfully engaging address to the assembled multitudes.
Players and officials, both past and present, were there in abundance on Friday night. The club’s first All-Star, Brendan Harrison, was on stage to help Mícheál formally unveil the book and it was great to see him, along with stars of the current team, such as Fergal Boland and Alan Freeman, at the event. Equally good, though, was it to see and hear from stars of the past, including the great Sean O’Grady, the first ever Aghamore man to play senior championship football for the county back in the Sixties.
So many stories were told on Friday night about the club down the years. Of particular interest were those about the club’s astonishing rise from junior to senior ranks in the late Sixties and early Seventies – when they ended up a kick of a ball away from claiming junior, intermediate and senior club titles in successive years – and the storied Shamrocks’ senior title win in 1977 (which, as a teenager, I recall seeing myself).
It was also great to learn about the tireless work done by so many people in developing the club and how the current facilities in the village were established, with the work completed on a debt-free basis. So many of us nowadays just assume – I know I regularly fall into this trap – that facilities such as these simply appeared, as if from nowhere, whereas in truth it took the investment of serious time and effort by selfless volunteers to make it happen.
The stories recounted on Friday night were the essence of what’s good about community spirit in Ireland. The same is true of the book itself, which I have to say is little short of an astonishing achievement. I hope the photo below does it justice: it’s a serious hardback publication, packed to the gills with photographs, along with so many stories, reminiscences, match reports and more.
Editor Jackie Coyne, whom I was honoured to meet on Friday night, and his team deserve huge congratulations in bringing this extremely impressive project to triumphant conclusion. The book, which incidentally was printed within the club’s boundaries by KPS Colour Print in Knock, really sets the bar for other clubs contemplating putting pen to paper to record their own histories.
The book is now on sale locally, priced at €30, available in the following locations:
- Kilkelly: Tarpeys, Centra.
- Knock: Burkes, Heneghans Costcutter, Life Pharmacy.
- Ballyhaunis: The Gem, The Shop.
If anyone is looking for a copy and the above locations don’t suit then please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll forward on your details to the club.