Sporting gifts this Christmas

•The Adventures of Championship & Other Cruciate Stories, a humorous GAA CD.If you love Gaelic games, you’ll love this, says RTE broadcaster Des Cahill. “Real on-the-button GAA humour that gets to the heart of what the GAA is all about. The CD features a collection of 18 radio essays first broadcast on RTE Drivetime Sports over the past three summers. The collection, by journalist Liam Horan, includes the character, Championship Man, which was first created by Horan in the summer of 2007 and became a favourite on the Drivetime Sports programme. The CD (€15 ) can be purchased on or email: [email protected]

• Basketball in Ireland is the focus of Hanging from the Rafters by Kieran Shannon. In the 1980s basketball in Ireland changed when a host of American basketball players - the majority of whom were young black Americans straight out of big-time college basketball - arrived in Ireland. Sportswriter Kieran Shannon of the Sunday Tribune conducted more than 70 interviews with an array of incredibly colourful characters. Also recounted is the genesis of the Neptune-Blue Demons rivalry that became one of the fiercest and greatest in Irish sport, and how the McHale brothers transformed the provincial town of Ballina into one of the powerhouses of Irish basketball. The book also provides for the first time in the history of the sport a comprehensive records section, documenting the details of all National Cup and National Top Four championship semi-finals and finals and national league tables over the past 30 years in both the men's and women's game.

•A Season of Sundays is an official GAA publication, published by Sportsfile and supported by Carroll Cuisine. Among the 172 pages of this year’s book are images of the GAA 125 celebrations in Croke Park on January 31, Mayo fans’ creation of “Hill 17” in Ballina, and photographs behind the dressing room doors. Galway fans will enjoy the image of Finian Hanley sharing a half-time joke with an umpire during their Connacht League victory over Leitrim. This is the 13th edition of the book.

•A stocking-filler this Christmas is a book which finally explains why an inter-county Gaelic football star quit his native Mayo before going on to an All-Ireland title with Louth – more than 50 years ago.Dan O’Neill, born and reared in Castlebar, won an All-Ireland senior title with Louth in 1957, just 18 months after leaving Mayo in controversial circumstances. In his autobiography, Divided Loyalties, the former garda details how a disagreement over expenses was the catalyst for his move to the Wee County, where he was stationed at the time. O’Neill published the book in 2008, and, by popular demand, it is back on the book-shelves again this Christmas.

•The Croke Park Annual is a compendium of images, stories and highlights from the year at GAA HQ. From Kilkenny’s four in a row to Ireland’s success against England and France en route to an historic Grand Slam title, the women of Cork making it five, and the show stopping GAA 125 celebrations. Covering every GAA game played in Croke Park this year, as well as features on Ireland’s rugby and soccer encounters which led to glory and despair, the annual is a fantastic memory of another wonderful sporting year. The annual is available in bookstores and newsagents nationwide priced €8 and also includes 2010 fixtures.

•Connacht Rugby is offering the perfect stocking filler with a three-match Christmas deal. Get tickets for Connacht v Leinster (Jan 2 ), Dragons ( Jan 8 ) and Montpellier (weekend of Jan 15 ) for €50. Telephone 091-561568 or visit

•The Bish Rowing Club has launched a unique fundraising drive — writing to Santa Claus with a list of items they need.The Bish Rowing Club, which continues to help young generations of oarsmen achieve their potential, is appealing to parents, former members and the public to help them ensure the boys have the equipment to help them develop.The club has compiled a list of items — from €5 for a rigger-jigger to €450 for a set of oars - and also bigger amounts for the purchase of boats — and already it has received a great response.Details of the Santa ‘wish-list’ and how people can sponsor or make a donation are available from Anne Hindle of the Bish Rowing Club 087-9241667 or John Walsh 086-6982009



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