"Music of the Ash"

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"Music of the Ash"

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:42 pm

I’ve just acquired this new book which charters the history of Clareen GAA club. Written by Clareen native Jimmy Blake, it’s a very thoroughly researched publication, mainly through the Midland Tribune archives. The first half is an account of Clareen and Offaly GAA through the 20th century. The running theme is how the fortunes of the two ran in tandem through bad times, then good, charting Offaly’s struggle for the first 80 years of the century and their breakthrough years from 1980 onwards. At the same time it details Clareen’s fortunes through their barren years with the odd junior or intermediate title thrown in, their contribution to the county team’s breakthrough, success at Bord na Scol and Clareen’s own first county title in 1988. It also throws in some world events, like how the Cuban missile crisis of 1961 almost jeopardised a Junior County final appearance for Clareen. It’s an excellent read, almost impossible to put down.

The second half of the book is a treasure trove for the train spotters among us. It lists, from the Tribune archives, the line outs and scorers from most Championship and League matches where Clareen players lined out (basically most league matches since 1973). It also lists line outs and scorers from most of Clareen’s senior county championship matches.

If I had a complaint, its that the author, in recounting matches, places perhaps too much emphasis on fighting and sendings off in club matches, some details of which may be best forgotten at this stage. From a Lusmagh perspective, it’s disappointing that the lineouts from many of the Lusmagh-Clareen clashes in the 1983 to 1988 period aren’t listed. Now it may be that these aren’t recorded in the Tribunes of the time although most details for matches with other teams at the time are recorded, and the Tribune don’t operate in a monopoly situation. In addition the 1983 clash (which Lusmagh won) and 1984 match (won by Clareen) appear to be confused.

I could be pedantic but that would be unfair to the effort put in over a long period by the author. It’s a major addition to the library of any Offaly supporter and I thoroughly recommended it.
Plain of the Herbs
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