Tuesday 25 October 2016

Death of pioneering GAA publisher O'Connor

Published 21/07/2016 | 02:30

Kildare will play Kerry in the All-Ireland minor semi-final
Kildare will play Kerry in the All-Ireland minor semi-final

Gaelic games have lost one of their most prodigious book publishers, following the death of John O'Connor, founder and managing director of Blackwater Press.

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He launched Blackwater Press in the 1980s at a time when GAA books were, with the exception of extensive works by the Sunday Independent's Raymond Smith, quite rare.

The shortage of GAA titles in bookshops by comparison with other sports disappointed O'Connor who believed that there was a market for the life stories of famous players who had done so much to popularise the sports.

One of Blackwater's first forays into GAA books came in 1992, with the publication of 'The Earley Years' the official biography of Dermot Earley.

It was the start of a lengthy list of GAA books from the Blackwater stable, including autobiographies of Mick O'Dwyer, DJ Carey, Davy Fitzgerald, Cyril Farrell, John O'Leary, Graham Geraghty and Charlie Carter.

While GAA was O'Connor's first love, he also published books in various other sports, including 'The Good, the Bad and the Rugby', a biography of Tony Ward. Blackwater also produced several books on political and entertainment figures.

A native of Birr, Co Offaly, O'Connor, who also had a long association with Folens Publishers, lived in Dublin. Removal today to St Brendan's Church, Birr for Funeral Mass at 11.0, followed by burial in Clonoghill Cemetery.

Irish Independent

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