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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

One of the most successful dual counties in the country, Cork have built an enviable reputation in All-Ireland competitions in both codes and at all levels.  The largest county in Ireland, the playing of hurling or football in the county was often geographically determined. Traditionally in Cork, an urban and rural divide has existed with urban clubs dominating the hurling scene while rural clubs historically fared better in football. This has changed over time, however, with Nemo Rangers from Douglas ending the dominance of rural teams on the local football scene and progressing to win the All-Ireland club football title on seven occasions between 1973 and 2003. The strength of the GAA in the Cork is reflected in the profile and status of many of its leading personalities, with Christy Ring from the Glen Rovers club, winner of eight All-Ireland hurling titles in the mid-twentieth century, the most exalted of the lot. Corkmen have also given their names to the most prized trophies in Gaelic games, the Sam Maguire cup being awarded to the All-Ireland football champions with the Liam McCarthy cup presented to the victorious All-Ireland winning hurling team. 


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A match at Sam Maguire Park in Bantry in 1960. This was the last match that excursion trains ran to Bantry as the West Cork railway closed down in 1961.
© GAA Oral History Project


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An entry in Midleton GAA's minute book dated 19th October, 1902. At this meeting a decision was made to amalgamate two pre-existing clubs in to one.
© GAA Oral History Project

Tom Daly

Tom Daly, b. 1937

Tom describes how his father and uncle made hurls and talks about the different steps in the building process.
© GAA Oral History Project

David O'Brien, b. 1923

David recalls how Jack Lynch gave his Glen Rovers team a pep talk at half time during a championship final in the 1960s.
© GAA Oral History Project

'Money was very scarce when I was young so we had to save up to travel to matches. During the winter I snared rabbits, got up early to take rabbits out of snare and sold them in Midleton. Early summer, I thinned beet and late summer I picked 'wild' mushroom in the fields and bogs and sold them to passing motorists on the main road. Out of all of this I was able to travel to two games by train from Midleton Railway Station.'
- Ted Murphy, b. 1943
© GAA Oral History Project

'The field across the road from my home was known as 'the Hurling Field' and used daily from March to October for hurling practice and matches, fewer matches than nowdays, boys and men came to the 'Field' every evening to pick around a dream! They walked, ran, very few had bicycles, and always tried to get to the 'Hurling Field'. It was the main 'social meeting' place.'
- Eileen M. Carr, b. 1929
© GAA Oral History Project

'The GAA leads the way in terms of doing everything because when you go down to rural Ireland the one common thread is that every parish in Ireland has a GAA club. The ESB is the only other organisation...that goes into every parish in has so much in common with the GAA - they both are so rooted in the real Ireland.'
- Derry O'Donovan, b. 1945
© GAA Oral History Project

Click here to view a sample of a full length questionnaire: Muiris De Prionnbhiol b.1918