Saturday 24 February 2018

McAnallen's fascinating colleges history

Donal McAnallen, brother of the late Cormac from Tyrone, has set a new standard for GAA history books with his 100-year history of the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup competitions, which was launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

These are the second oldest competitions in the GAA after the All-Irelands and the book contains an absolute mine of information, particularly about the first half of the last century, which stretches to a lot more than Gaelic games.

Running to a staggering 585 pages, the book, called 'The Cups That Cheered', records numerous anecdotes of many very famous people involved with these competitions over the years as well as many fascinating cameos of unusual events.

For example, the famous universities Oxford and Cambridge played a GAA game in 1968 when author Edna O'Brien was honorary president of Cambridge. No Rule 27 worries there!

This is a fascinating book from McAnallen (left) that is of much wider GAA interest than just the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup competitions.

And players from every county in Ireland, strong and weak, are mentioned.

For example, the late Paddy McDonnell from Cavan won two Fitzgibbon hurling medals with UCD in the 20s – as did legendary Cavan 1933 All-Ireland-winning captain Jim Smith – while Kilkenny's John Costello won a Sigerson football medal with Galway university.

Irish Independent

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