Hurling

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.’

Interview with Gerald McCarthy about Christy Ring

I did an interview with the great hurler Gerald McCarthy for an Irish Examiner special supplement on the centenary of the birth of Christy Ring. It was lovely to meet and chat with the great man in his Cork city shop and hear his recollections of Christy Ring. Read it here.

I’m now working on the Autobiography of Denis Coughlan

I’m delighted to announce I’m working with the legendary Cork dual-star Denis Coughlan on his biography, to be published by Hero Books later in 2020 as part of the Legends Series. Denis contested no less than 81 county, provincial and All-Ireland finals at all grades during his fantastic career.

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.

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.

Remembering an Old Team Mate and Friend

It’s been a great few weeks for UCC and for sport in the college. It’s wonderful to see photos of young people with smiles on their faces and silverware in their hands. As someone who was once lucky enough to have my hands on such silverware (The Fitzgibbon Cup, many moons ago), it’s bringing back a lot of memories. I know I’m not the only one thinking back, and I know I’m not the only one remembering old team mates and friends. I know too that I’m not the only one remembering one special person in particular these days – that special person being Paul O’Connor, whom we lost in 2012.