Thursday 24 October 2019

New book celebrates 30 years of great Irish sports writing

Have you read about the day Eamon Dunphy went for a drink in London with George Best? Or about the day Paul Kimmage sat down with Roy Keane in Saipan? Or the story about Paul O'Connell and the Superman tee-shirt? Have you met Hurling Man? Do you know why prop forwards rule the roost in Rugby Hell? Or why a famous goal brought so much misery to the man who scored it?

These stories and many more can be found in a new book released this week. On The Seventh Day, an anthology of some of the best sports writing published in Ireland over the last 30 years - and taken from the pages of the Sunday Independent - will hit book shops around the country in the coming days.

On The Seventh Day showcases some brilliant sports writing, and features undoubted stars of the genre like Paul Kimmage, Eamon Dunphy, David Walsh and Eamonn Sweeney.

Other featured writers include Anthony Cronin, Joe Brolly, Neil Francis, Colm O'Rourke, Brendan Fanning, Marie Crowe, Dion Fanning, Richard Sadlier, Cliona Foley, Dermot Crowe, Tommy Conlon, Dermot Gilleece and Tom O'Riordan, covering a range of sports, like Gaelic football and hurling, soccer, rugby, golf, athletics, horse racing, boxing, snooker and more.

There is a literary quality to the best of sports writing and that shines through in On The Seventh Day.

The book exposes the cliché that sports fans are some kind of one-dimensional fools, which is largely a creation of people who know little about sport and less about those who are passionate about it. These are the kind of people who have espoused a ban on alcohol sponsorship in sport but not in the arts because the more refined types are wiser to the dangers of alcohol than the ruffian hordes who go to football games.

Edited by John Greene, who is the sports editor of the Sunday Independent, the anthology explores anger, joy, humour, sadness, pity, tragedy, beauty; there are memories, controversies and celebrations; tales of addiction and tales of redemption.

On The Seventh Day opens with Paul Kimmage's 'Inside the team that Mick built', which tells the story of Ireland's memorable win over Holland in 2001. It was originally published over two weeks that winter, and appears as one piece for the first time. It sets the tone for what follows - a stunning collection of articles spanning the years from Euro '88 to the summer of 2018.

Also featured is Kimmage's memorable interview in Saipan with Roy Keane; a spectacular appraisal of Jack Charlton's career by Eamon Dunphy, first published on the eve of the 1994 World Cup; Eamonn Sweeney's brilliant account of a county final featuring two small rural clubs; the fascinating story of Brian Kerr's father Frankie, by Dion Fanning; and, David Walsh's interview from Christmas 1995 with a rising star in the world of horse racing by the name of Aidan O'Brien.

Together, the pieces collected in On The Seventh Day, show how truly great sports writing stands the test of time.

Available in bookstores nationwide, or order it online here.

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