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Edenderry Men Launch Offaly GAA Book

posted 23 Nov 2011, 13:24 by Edenderry GAA   [ updated 24 Nov 2011, 02:47 ]


Congratulations to Padraig Foy & Ciaran Reilly who are set to launch a book about the breakthrough Offaly Senior Football Team of 1960-1961. 


Faithful Pioneers: Offaly’s football breakthrough, 1960-1961


A new book on Offaly’s football breakthrough, 1960- 1961 will be launched on Saturday 3 December at 3.30pm in the Offaly Research Centre, Bury Quay Tullamore by former 1982 Offaly All Ireland winning manager, Eugene McGee.

As most seasoned GAA followers within the county of Offaly are no doubt aware, this year is the 50th anniversary of Offaly's first historic appearance in an All Ireland final. In 1961 Down and Offaly met in the All Ireland Football final before the largest ever recorded attendance at a sporting event in Ireland, where Down narrowly emerged as the victors. In order to mark these highly significant achievements two Edenderry men Padraig Foy and Ciarán Reilly have recorded these events in a revealing new book drawing largely on the memories of the players who played in these historic matches. Together they have chronicled the events that best describe this important period and bring to light the achievements of this team to a wide audience including both young and old.

The achievements of the 1960-61 team are highly noteworthy, and while they have not been neglected in terms of recognition, the spotlight deserves to be placed on these men once again in order to record the unique breakthrough that this team achieved. The exploits of men such as the great Mick Casey, Har Donnelly, Tommy Greene, Mick Brady, Tommy Cullen, Sean Foran, Phil O Reilly, Donie Hanlon, Sean Ryan, Greg Hughes and captain Willie Nolan will be recalled. The central theme of the book is from an Offaly perspective, encompassing the insights, recollections and reflections of all the central participants involved in what was an exciting time in Offaly GAA circles. The book also incorporates the outlook from a number of Down GAA figures who were prominent during this period. With a foreword by Tullamore historian, Paul Rouse, this book is a must for all Offaly GAA fans.

90,000 people gathered in 1961 for the All Ireland final between Offaly and Down while another 30,000 were left outside for one of the most remarkable days in the GAA’s history. For the players involved it was a day they would never forget:

Sean Foran remembers the trip to GAA headquarters on that day.

‘We made our way up in cars to the Spa Hotel in Lucan. We got a bite to eat and then went for a stroll down the gardens. We left for the match by bus, and as we were driving in we could see that there was a massive crowd going into the game and it looked as though we might be dead late for the game. So Peenie Dunne, who knew Dublin fierce well, told the driver to turn in a certain place and we got around the crowd and into Croke Park by another way’.


Mick Brady remembers the huge crowd gathered on the day, which he estimates was closer to 115,000 than the official 90,000 recorded: ‘When I stepped on the field all I could hear was that massive amount of noise, it was like a train going by and it was if we were right beside it’.

While Tommy Cullen expressed his disappointment at not winning the ultimate accolade;
‘Oh I would have a big regret over it alright. When you see what teams have to go through now to get their hands on the Sam Maguire, that hardship they go through and to realise we were so close to it that time, it is a major disappointment and it never leaves you’.

A must for all GAA fans in Offaly, the book launch promises to be a memorable occasion where member s of Offaly’s GAA fraternity will gather to pay tribute to the great 1960-1961 team. Copies of the book will be on sale on the day and will be available widely throughout the county as well as of course from the authors themselves who can be contacted on or 086-8745090