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The Club [Paperback]

Christy O'Connor
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

2 Jun 2011
This chronicle of a year in the life of St Joseph's Doora-Barefield GAA club in Co. Clare - which won the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year award for 2010 - breaks new ground in Irish sportswriting. Christy O'Connor, a national GAA correspondent who has also been the St Joseph's senior team goalkeeper for 20 years, tells this story with unflinching honesty: a fly-on-the-wall tale of the effort, agony and struggles that define the journey undertaken every season by every club side. This is grassroots GAA at its purest and rawest, a great story brilliantly told.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014139966X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141399669
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 309,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


To understand Ireland, you have to understand the GAA. To understand the GAA, you have to read this book. A masterpiece. (Tom Humphries)

An extraordinary saga - unflinching in its honesty. This book is to hurling what Eamon Dunphy's seminal Only a Game? was to soccer writing

(Richard Fitzpatrick Irish Examiner)

This is one of the best sports that has been written in Ireland. You'll cry a lot, if you have a soul. And if you love sport, you'll love this book.

(Ger Gilroy)

Deserves its place among the most courageous Irish sports books ever conceived, and one of the finest ever written

(Michael Foley Sunday Times)

About the Author

Christy O'Connor has covered GAA as a journalist nationally for thirteen years. For twenty years he has kept goal for the St Joseph's Doora-Barefield senior hurling side, and he is also vice-chairman of the club. He is the author of the acclaimed Last Man Standing: Hurling Goalkeepers, which was shortlisted for the 2005 Boylesports Irish Sports Book of the Year Award.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Reading 20 Dec 2010
Christy O'Connor's "The Club" will feature in a lot of Christmas stockings this year, and depending on the recipient, it will be a quirky insight into a world that some GAA supporters never knew existed, or else one of the most engaging and relevant books that they've ever read.

The distinction is quite simple. If the reader is a GAA supporter, but has never actually been involved with a club beyond playing underage, then this book will open a door into the political and parochial minefield that is the workings of your local club. If, like most readers of this column, you've been a player, administrator or trainer at any level before, then this book encapsulates everything that you loved and hated about the workings of your club.

O'Connor has an insight that simply couldn't be replicated by many of the other writers out there, in the main because he himself has lived through everything. This is the player and clubman laying bare everything that makes a club tick, and indeed everything that makes it explode. Issues such as the fight for power between hurling and football, personality clashes, problems with the club WAGS, all of these aspects are touched upon along with every other minute little detail that makes up the rich tapestry of a club trying to get by.

It's compelling and engaging reading for anyone who has been on that side of the trenches, and probably should be prescribed reading for anyone who hasn't, and whose knowledge of the GAA begins and ends with the county sides.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Barry
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read The Club over the Christmas Holiday. The book is based an account of 12 months activity in the Clare GAA Club, St Joseph's Doora-Barefield.

The Book appeals to me on several fronts: as a book about amateur team sports, as a book about the GAA, and, to a lesser extent, as a book about dealing with personal challenges.

I have played on lots of teams over the years - be that rugby, cricket or golf. I have captained a number of teams. I have also coached or mentored teams. And I have participated in club committees across a range of sports - committees all made up of members giving freely of their time. All of those experiences have included highs and lows, rewards and frustrations. Christy catches most of this in the book - power hungry committee members, frustrated coaches, family loyalties, passionate team talks, failed training sessions, elation after great wins, competing demands on people's time, the beauty of the game itself.

On the GAA front he brings out a number of issues - pressures on finances, importance of youth structures, competing demands for dual players, competing demands from other sports for players, the physical element of the game of hurling, the impact of the County Championship on Club sides (often prepared and ready to go - only to have matches put back to accomodate County matches). There is also some flavour of the tensions between new and old within the organisation.

In terms of personal challenges he experiences tragedy in his own life - and in some respects turns to what he knows, sport, as an escape (or perhaps to buy himself time as he deals with it). You also get some insight into the demands that senior club and intercounty sport put on the players and their loved ones.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best GAA Book ever 3 Nov 2010
By Benny
The most interesting GAA book ever to be brought out... really gives a unique insight into the everyday life of a GAA player and the community around them... men, women & children will enjoy this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 27 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must read for anybody involved in any local club or sporting organisation. Compelling reading and brings us all back to reality and reminds us all of the importance of community spirit.
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