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Saturday 18 November 2017

Nothing too taxing in this compilation of quips from GAA

Book review - Alan Aherne

'A Bit of a Shemozzle - GAA Quips and Quotes'
'A Bit of a Shemozzle - GAA Quips and Quotes'

Most of the books reviewed in this column require a certain degree of concentration, and a minimum of five hours to be read from cover to cover.

Whether it's an autobiography, a biography, or an in-depth look at a key event in sporting history, the majority of our offerings involve time and devotion in order to be fully appreciated.

Every now and again though, we like to change the focus a little. And, given that we're in the middle of August which is silly season in the newspaper world, we decided to dumb it down and keep it light-hearted for this issue.

The O'Brien Press recently released 'A Bit of a Shemozzle - GAA Quips and Quotes', compiled by two people who have expressed a preference to remain anonymous while using the pseudonym 'Martin O'Duffy'.

As a general rule I'm not a big fan of this genre, principally because several of the supposedly funny quotes are so familiar that they're practically embedded in my brain at this stage.

And, just to emphasise that point, one of the three picked out for the back cover is that old Micheál O Muircheartaigh quip about the lack of hurling tradition in the places of birth of Seán Og O hAilpín's father and mother.

That filled me with trepidation before I flicked through the pages of this neat and tidy publication, just 158 pages with a hardback cover and compact enough to fit into a coat pocket.

It's divided into nine chapters and the book does exactly what it says on the cover, diving straight in with an array of quotes.

Whether you think they're funny or not depends entirely on your sense of humour I guess, just as opinion is keenly divided on whether or not the individual behind 'Rory's Stories' on Facebook deserves to be classed as a comedian (he doesn't, in my view).

On a positive note, many of the quotes were new to me and, to give a few examples, I liked the irreverence of this comment from famous Kerry footballer Paddy 'Bawn' Brosnan on the team formation in the not so politically correct 1940s: 'In my day, we had a few farmers, a few fishermen and a college boy to take the frees'.

Or how about this one from Christy 'Cra' Murray of Sixmilebridge: 'You should be so close to the corner forward that when he goes to scratch his arse, 'tis your arse he's scratching'.

Our esteemed former work colleague Phil Murphy, once the sports editor of this newspaper, also makes the cut on page 65 with this gem: 'If Wexford Hurling Ltd was a company and we had produced the results that we have over the last twenty-five years or so, we would have been declared bankrupt long ago'.

And author Eoin Colfer is honest on the following page when he recalls 1996: 'I'm not a huge hurling fan but I suppose, like any Wexford person, I was a hurling fan that year'.

With the dates for Ireland's next trip down under announced last week, this comment from Australian coach Leigh Matthews is topical: 'The International Rules series was a bit like the Vietnam War. Nobody at home cared about it, but everyone involved sure did'.

That should give you a flavour of what to expect in this book. Nothing too taxing on the brain, and you can dip in and out of it without requiring a significant investment of time. There will be opportunities to read more serious stuff on the long winter nights to come!

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

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