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Michael Taylor 2nd Dec 2010 - 19:23

The Club wins 2010 William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year

A book detailing the triumphs and tragedies of a Clare hurling club over a year was named the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year today in Dublin.  "The Club" by Christy O'Connor, which is based around the 2009 season at St. Joseph's Doora-Barefield, won the award ahead of John Giles' "A Football Man" and Declan Lynch's "Days of Heaven" who took second and third place respectively.

The Club is one of the finest books written on the subject of GAA and follows O'Connor's club, for whom he was goalkeeper, through a season in 2009 as they looked to revive past glories spurred on through personal losses and tragedy.

Christy O'Connor, author of The Club, said; "I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have won this award, particularly when you look at all the excellent sports books written this year. It is also a privilege when you consider some of the outstanding books to have won the William Hill award in the past and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the judges and public for their votes. When I decided to write this book, I wanted to pay tribute to my daughter Róisín and former team-mate Ger Hoey, both of whom passed away in the space of a week. I also wanted to portray the essence of what defines us in the St Joseph's Doora-Barefield club, which required me to be as honest as I possibly could be. I would like to thank my family, the Hoey family and everyone in the Doora-Barefield club, especially my team-mates.

Tony Kenny, William Hill Ireland PR Manager, said; "The Club is certainly the best sports book in Ireland this year and according to many of our judges, one of the best sports books they have ever read.  The book will resonate, not only with GAA fans but sports fans in general and communities across the country.  It depicts the triumphs and tragedy of one season for a hurling club but also looks at how important communities can be and gives a fantastic insight into the impact sport can have.  Christy's book is an excellently told story and is a very deserved winner of the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year."

This year's judging panel was made up of eleven of Ireland's best sports commentators and experts.  The panel includes RTE rugby pundit and Newstalk presenter George Hook, RTE's Eamon Dunphy, Today FM and TV3 presenter Matt Cooper and Setanta Sports' Paul Dempsey

The Williamhill.com Irish Sports Book of the Year was established in 2006 to celebrate the quality of Irish sports writing and the standard of sports books that are produced in Ireland every year.  The winner of the inaugural award was Paul McGrath with his harrowing tale of the ups and downs of his professional football career in "Back from the Brink", which was written with Vincent Hogan.

In 2007, Trevor Brennan's autobiography with Gerry Thornley, "Heart and Soul" detailed Brennan's journey through the professional rugby ranks in Ireland and France and his infamous altercation with a fan, which led to the end of his successful career.  In 2008 the award produced one of the greatest Irish sports story's never told.

Tommy Byrne's "Crashed and Byrned" was the story of an Irish racing driver hailed as one of the world's greatest, even better than World champion Ayrton Senna, but was never given a chance by the key figures in the sport.  Last year's winner was Donal O'Cusack with his book "Come What May".  The book covered Cusack's life in detail through his personal struggles to his career with Cork and his club as one of Ireland's finest hurling goalkeepers.  More information on the award can be found at www.irishportsbookoftheyear.com


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