Pocket history of the G.A.A. is full of useful information

Book review - Alan Aherne

The Pocket Book Of The GAA
The Pocket Book Of The GAA

It's a quite common scenario at this time of year to see the aisles of The Book Centre populated by people with vouchers in their hands.

Some people decry the lack of thought put into a present by those who choose this option.

However, I'm in the opposing camp and, whenever anyone asks me what I would like rather than surprising me, I'll always ask for a book voucher.

It leaves one open to a wide range of options, and there's so many books to choose from that all tastes will be catered for.

Some might target a coffee table-type publication such 'A Season Of Sundays', the annual photographic record of the G.A.A. year by the Sportsfile team which is quite costly if you're using your own hard-earned cash to acquire it.

Others will prefer to get even more value for their money's worth by perhaps purchasing more than one book.

And if you're in that category and have even a passing interest in the G.A.A., one book caught my eye which is cheap and cheerful as well as being very informative.

Gill Books are publishers of 'The Pocket Book Of The GAA' which has the added bonus of costing a mere €4.99.

One of the hidden gems within the Association is the museum located in Croke Park which is well worth a visit, particularly if you're bringing a group of children to the capital city on a day trip.

The admission prices are quite reasonable, ranging from €18 for a family of two adults and three children to €4.50 for children under 12, and it is open daily throughout the year.

And the team behind the museum is responsible for putting this well-illustrated book together, making it a must-buy too for any children about to embark on a school project centred on the G.A.A.

It tells the official story of the association in a bright and breezy manner, outlining the evolution of Gaelic games and profiling a host of iconic players and managers.

The book also compiles memorable moments from G.A.A. history and outlines the development of famous grounds such as Croke Park itself and Semple Stadium in Thurles.

Each chapter is enlivened by the superb photographic work of the Sportsfile team who have been faithful partners of the G.A.A. for many years now.

Among the more quirky items that one will read about are a history of the origins of the hurling helmet, a profile of legendary commentator Micheál O Muircheartaigh, a record of the late Muhammed Ali's Croke Park fight in 1972, and the story of the Sam Maguire Cup which is presented to the All-Ireland Senior football champions on an annual basis.

There's a very colourful section at the back displaying images of every county jersey, while the 'Did You Know?' feature will test the mind of even the most knowledgeable G.A.A. fan.

There's also an opportunity to relive some famous matches including the Meath versus Dublin saga in the Leinster Senior football championship of 1991, and the 'Thunder and Lightning' All-Ireland hurling final of 1939 featuring Kilkenny and Cork.

It's light on the pocket, full of useful facts and figures, and copiously illustrated, so what's not to like about this little gem which would be particularly useful for children looking to enhance their knowledge of the association?

Most of the key questions in relation to G.A.A. history will be answered for a giveaway €4.99.

Visit The Book Centre on Wexford's Main Street for the very best selection of sports books.

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