The sporting word this Christmas


As usual, there are loads of sports books out for the Christmas market and those worth consideration this year include ‘Gooch’, an account of the career of one of the greatest Gaelic football players of the modern era, Colm Cooper, which was written along with Vincent Hogan.

  Another more controversial GAA book is ‘The Warrior’s Code’ by recently retired Kilkenny legend Jackie Tyrrell. It is a brutally honest book that takes you inside the minds of probably the greatest hurling team we have ever seen. If you are easily offended, or if tales of fairly brutal violence on the hurling field are not for you, then it is probably best to steer clear.

  Arguably the best sporting book this year, which not only looks at the playing of the game, but the social scene in contemporary Ireland, is ‘The Choice’ by Philly McMahon, an excellent account of a tough upbringing and the loss of his brother because of drug use. More social commentary than sport here, which is refreshing.

  If cycling is your number one sporting pursuit, then ‘The Ascent’ by Barry Ryan details the golden era of Irish cycling when Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche were two of the top performers in the world.

  Horseracing followers will surely love ‘Form’, the brilliant autobiography from jockey Kieran Fallon, and it would actually be my choice as the sports book of the year. It is the story of a successful career marred by his long struggles with many personal demons throughout his life in the saddle.

  Soccer followers are not left out either as former Irish manager Eoin Hand tells of a remarkable life as a player and manager in ‘First Hand – My Life And Times In Irish Football’. It’s a cracking read and there are some surprising revelations in it.

  Finally, ‘Where Have All The Irish Gone?’ (by Kevin O’Neill) looks at how the advent of the Premier League has meant that foreign players came in droves into the game in the UK at the expense of, amongst others, Irish youngsters.