Sportswriting

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.’

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.

The Hawthorn and The Swift: You Have to Smile

It’s a summer Sunday morning and you’re on the road in South-East Limerick. From your passenger seat you watch the blossoming hawthorn ribbon the countryside. There’s a cycling charity event on the road and the going is slow, so you have time to enjoy the undulating view. Hawthorn enfolding fields all shapes and sizes – good land, middling land, fallow and scrub. Draping the livestock in the promise of a summer of plenty, a promise older even than the old promise of hurling’s plenty.

All The Old Feelings

I’m sitting in a Costa in Douglas on Sunday morning waiting for Cummins Sports to open and it hits me. The match approaches with all its baggage: anxiety, stress, the need to win, to be validated again by sport. All the old feelings. I can hardly drink my Cortado, my knee starts hopping. Fuck’s sake, calm down, it’s only the bloody first-round. The sunshine is harsh and bitter when I step outside, I forgot my sunglasses.

Profane Time and Sacred Time in Sport

It’s February 3rd 2019. I’m at the Cork Wexford National Hurling League match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. And I’m thinking about time. I’m thinking back to a different time, six months ago on July 29th, 2018, when last I watched the Cork senior hurlers play – against Limerick, in Croke Park in the All-Ireland semi final.

2018 Interviews and Articles about The First Sunday in September

This is my last post of 2018 and it’s been some year. My first book The First Sunday in September was published in August by The Mercier Press. I’ve been busy, finishing the editing process for the book and reading and writing as much as I could. Thanks to everyone who supported me, I’m so grateful. Thanks to everyone who read my blog over the year and special thanks to those who took the time to follow, like and comment on the posts. Not to mention those who bought my book and read it. Some who read it were even good enough to contact me with kind words. You have no idea how much that means. Onward and upwards to 2019. I’ve a draft of a crime novel on the go and I’m now working on a book of essays on sport. The next few months will see a lot