Sport

Event at Mallow Arts Festival October 30th

I’m delighted to be part of Mallow Arts Festival 2021 with an event at Mallow GAA Complex at Carrigoon on Sunday October 30th. Very much looking forward to meeting old friends and talking about my writing.

Essay in Irish Times on Sport in Irish Fiction

I was delighted my essay on sport in Irish fiction was published in the Irish Times in October 2021. The piece describes the dearth of sport in Irish fiction but also how that has changed this year with books by Adrian Dunbar, Rónán Hession, Eimear Ryan and Paul Howard all featuring sport. You can read the article here. 

Tadhg Coakley’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh pilgrimage

May, 2021 I wrote a piece for the Irish Examiner welcoming hurling back again for 2021.  ‘I wanted to celebrate the return of hurling but behind a sense of juxtaposition. The one Martin Scorsese created when he overlaid the sublime music of the ‘Intermezzo’ from Cavalleria Rusticana on Jake LaMotta’s brutality and violence in Raging Bull.’

Longing to be one of the crowd again

May 2021 I wrote a piece for the Irish Examiner about my longing to go to matches again as part of the crowd.  ‘As we face into a new GAA season with uncertainty about fans at games we’re all wondering: will sport ever be normal again? And what will that normal be?’

Dark Passions – extract from a sports essay

I’m walking down the Ennis Road in Limerick. It is the summer of 2019. Cork have just beaten the All-Ireland champions, Limerick, and I’m feeling good. The Cork fans are buzzing – it doesn’t take much for us to roll back out our cocky strut. A lone and drunk young Cork supporter is taunting some Limerick people nearby. He sings (badly): ‘We’re from Cork and we’re better than you, We’re from Cork and we’re better than you, We’re from Cork and we’re better than you.’ Over and over again he sings it, smiling, pointing his finger at the Limerick fans, walking down the Ennis Road.

A Better Version of Ourselves

I’m in West Kerry, on holidays. I’m standing outside Paudie Ó Sé’s pub catching my breath after a fervid two hours of championship hurling magic conjured out the air by Tipperary and Wexford. Sandmartins weave a dreamy thread of air above me. A benign sun pulses light and heat, easing away the dark intensity of the match inside. I check my pulse: 89 bpm – good. When Séamus Callanan scored his transcendent goal after ten minutes of the game – delaying and delaying and delaying the hit until the ball was the apex of its third bounce – I felt my breath catch and my heart lose purchase and my ears buzz and I had to put a hand on the counter of the bar and calm myself. The fitbit showed my heart-rate then at 103 bmp – not good.

Five Moments in Sport

I wrote an essay, ‘Five Moments in Sport’, and the lovely people at The Stinging Fly published it in May 2019. In July 2019 they kindly put the essay online on their website

The Corkman who loves Kilkenny and looks up to Women’s Sport

What time should we hit the road on Sunday? The bloody road works in Naas still aren’t finished. Before we get to that, I’ve a bit of news. Oh. Is it the prostate again? The prostate is fine. It’s this: I love Kilkenny. Jesus, keep your voice down. What are you on about? I’m reading a brilliant book at the moment called Amateur. It’s by Thomas Page McBee and he’s a transgender man who took part in a boxing match in Madison Square Garden in 2015. In the very first chapter of the book, he describes the fight and his opponent. He writes: ‘The truth was, I loved him even as I danced around him with my hands in the air.’ The purity of revelation in that statement floored me.

We

We gather in the usual way, a bit earlier because of the 2pm throw in. A driver, three passengers, all living in Cork city. We’ve done this many times before. Pickups, then heading for the Jack Lynch tunnel. The novelty of the Cusack Park venue rendering us a little more giddy than usual, perhaps. Good to be together, too, on a summer Sunday morning, with a purpose, a shared endeavour. We know this, we don’t take it for granted.