Thursday 20 June 2019

MacNamee awards for Wexford

Wexford was celebrating on the double off the field in Croke Park recently at the annual MacNamee Award presentations.

Recognising excellence in the area of communications and media, the long-running scheme honours the memory of the late Pádraig MacNamee, former President of the G.A.A., Chairman of the G.A.A. Commission from 1969 to 1971, and member of the RTE authority.

Eleven awards in total were presented, with the 'Best G.A.A. Club Publication' for 2018 going to Jim Berry for his outstanding book, 'October 2000: St. Anne's G.A.A. Club - A History of Rathangan Gaelic Games'.

The citation said the publication was over 20 years in the making, and was a labour of love for the former county and provincial Chairman, who played with St. Anne's for the best part of 30 years from the mid-1950s onwards.

He was a mentor and official at all levels with the club too, as well as attaining higher office inside and outside the county, and his pride for St. Anne's exudes from every page of this book.

The title, 'October 2000', relates to the unique feat that month when the club won the Senior hurling and football double, with 13 players featuring in both starting codes.

The book documents Gaelic games in the Rathangan parish, a reasonably small rural area of about 1,800 people, from 1884 to the present day.

As well as being an incredibly detailed and well put-together record of the club's history over the decades, the book also recounts many amusing tales and stories of years gone by.

There was success, too, for Alan Corcoran of South East Radio in the 'Best G.A.A. Related Radio Programme' category for 'The Wexford Rising - They Set the Heathers Blazing'.

The 1950s were a golden period for Wexford hurling as we know, when boys became men and those men became heroes.

This documentary, presented and produced by Corcoran, charts the journey of the Wexford Senior hurling team which won back-to-back All-Irelands in 1955 and 1956, and the impact they had on the county, with names like Wheeler, Rackard, O'Donnell, Kehoe and Foley still revered to this day.

Art Foley and Ned Wheeler, stalwarts of the team, share their memories of the games and the build-up, while there is a particularly poignant part when the late Sheamus Howlin, another former county and provincial Chairman, talks about his friendship with Billy Rackard, and the bond the players had with the people of Wexford.

Legendary G.A.A. broadcaster Micheál O Muircheartaigh also pays tribute to the Rackard brothers.

Memories of the homecomings, the journeys to Croke Park, the joy of victory and the massive boost it gave to the county and the game of hurling are all shared in this documentary.

It is a tribute to a band of brothers who brought the game to a new level in Wexford.

Dermot Kavanagh from The Rower-Inistioge club, uncle of Wexford hurler Eanna Martin, was also among the award winners for the 'Best G.A.A. Publication' after penning 'The Story of Interprovincial Football', a welcome companion to his earlier book on the hurling equivalent.

Gorey Guardian