Garrycastle players run out for the Leinster club championship semifinal against Kilmacud Croke at Parnell Park, Dublin, on Nov. 21, 2010. INPHO/DONALL FARMER
By Irish Echo Staff
The collaboration between the GAA and journalist and author P.J. Cunningham to publish in book form a compilation of “Grassroot GAA Stories” has elicited a massive response over the past six months.
Stories have landed from across the globe and will result in major contributions featuring the Irish abroad in USA, UK, Australia and many other countries.
It is now planned to launch the publication next year when hopefully there will be a closer return to more normal times.
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In conjunction with GAA Communications Director Alan Milton, Cunningham has overseen the arrival of an avalanche of stories.
The guarantee to contributors is that every story will be preserved either by becoming part of the published work or by being presented to the GAA archives for future generations to enjoy members’ memories over the 136-year history of the association.
Cunningham says he was surprised with the depth of response but delighted that some stories which might have been lost to the canon of GAA story-telling will now be preserved in book form.
“It has been an enriching time both talking on the phone and meeting in person with people who had their own unique narrative in telling their tale. I am particularly happy with the content and the variety which will make up the collection,” said Cunningham, who writes each week for the Echo.
“I’m issuing a ‘last call’ to the public to make sure that if they have a story, that it is included for consideration for the forthcoming publication.
“I am also mindful of trying to find nuggets within the Irish diaspora so that we get a good representation nationally and internationally of what has been going on just below the eye-line of club and county activity.”
Alan Milton said this undertaking because complemented other areas of story collection that the GAA has already successfully completed.
“We have had a very professional approach in gathering oral histories which are now a very proud part of our rich heritage here in Croke Park,” Milton said.
The closing date for stories is early December. The collection will lean towards stories with twists and turns rather than plain historical accounts about clubs themselves or ancestors who just won medals or became famous. It is not a collection of how clubs were founded or run but about the people in them, what they got up to either on or off the pitch.