From time to time I write short pieces and from time to time editors are good enough to publish them.
March, 2021. Piece in the Irish Examiner on the 40th anniversary of UCC’s Fitzgibbon Cup win of 1981 in Croke Park when I was playing for College. I interview four old team mates: Nicky English, John Grainger, Mick Lyons and Noel Leonard and pay tribute to our old friend and mentor, Dan Beechinor.
February, 2021. Column in the Irish Examiner, where I write about loss, forgetting and hope in sport. In that order. Why a bad memory is one of the most important qualities to enjoy sport, year in, year out.
January, 2021. Column in the Irish Examiner, where I write about the Liverpool Manchester United rivalry and what it has meant to me down the years. I also pay tribute to my great friend Tom Abernethy, whom we lost in March, 2020 and whom I miss terribly, especially when United are playing.
December, 2020. I have a short piece on my sporting hero of 2020. This is part of a long read where 30 writers select somebody who made the terrible year of 2020 a little bit better for others. My hero is one of the great volunteers in sport who make sport possible, especially in tough times.
October, 2020. I did an interview with the great hurler Gerald McCarthy for an Irish Examiner special supplement on Christy Ring. It was lovely to meet and chat with the great man in his Cork city shop and hear his recollections of Christy Ring.
September, 2020. An article in the Irish Examiner on the first club rugby match since February, due to Covid-19. On the rightness and relief of live rugby’s return to Musgrave Park
August, 2020. A short piece in the Irish Examiner with others about the impact of Covid-19 on the arts and how we need to support artists to protect the arts in these dreadful times.
June, 2020. An Irish Examiner piece about how surreal sports has been during the Covid-19 pandemic and I right some old wrongs. Turns out it’s a nightmare and not a dream after all.
May, 2020. An Irish Times piece about the impact of Covid-19 on the publication of my second novel, Whatever It Takes. Turns out I have more questions than answers.
May, 2020. A sports essay in The42.ie called Hurt. It explores the physical and the body in sport. It also has some questions about masculinity in sport.
January 2020. A piece on the opening of the new pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the first time the great Cork women’s football team played there, in a double header with the men.
December, 2019. A piece about my sporting highlight of the year, Seamus Callinan’s wonder goal in the All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford, showing that sport can be a wonderful thing.
October 2019, a column for the Irish Examiner on a few sporting issues relating to expectations of winning in sport, cheating, new Cork bainisteoirí and Thomas Page McBee.
March, 2019. Piece a very moving fund-raising match between Kilkenny and Cork for Kieran O’Connor a former Cork Gaelic footballer, who is seriously ill.
February, 2019. A colour piece about the town of Charleville, whose hurling team was due to play in the All-Ireland final the following Sunday. I went down there and talked to a few people.
January 2019. A poem for my old friend and physician, Dr. Con Murphy, a great man and a great Cork GAA man. You don’t see many poems on the sports pages.
Novel Comes to Life in its Second Half as Emotions Pitch. Review of Learning to Die by Thomas Maloney. A novel in three parts, two of which are really rewarding. Five lives intersect in modern day England.
Slow and Sombre Storylines Lead to Exhilarating Rollercoaster Ride Review of Lost Empress (A Protest) by Sergio de la Pava. Wild, huge and crazy book but such an interesting read and so ambitious. Also a sports novel, which was interesting.
Peter The Great: Beyond Perfect and into Myth. Piece about Peter O’Mahony’s impossible performance against New Zealand in a rugby test match. Ireland beat the All Blacks for the first time ever on Irish soil and the win could not have been possible were it not for O’Mahony’s Homeric deeds.
Longing, Loss, Regret, Reparation … a Family Package Review of Markus Zuzak’s new novel: Bridge of Clay. This is Zuzak’s follow-up to the hugely successful The Book Thief. It’s an interesting and entertaining read, playful and tender.
Fertile Retelling of Homer’s Epic Poems is Revived Joint Review of The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker and Country by Michael Hughes. Both these books are retellings of Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad and both are very successful in different ways.
We Were All Enriched and Renewed by the Experience Piece about the late Liam Miller tribute match, played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh between veteran Manchester United and Glasgow Celtic teams, in support of his family and some charities. A moving day, a wonderful communal day.
Hurling is in the Quiet, Not the Noise A piece about two photos I saw on Twitter after the All-Ireland Hurling Final when Limerick beat Galway to win their first All Ireland senior title in 45 years. This article was described by Vincent Hogan as ‘utterly, utterly beautiful’ (*blushes*).
Taking a Seat for a Páirc Uí Chaoimh Passion Play. A piece on the official opening of Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 2017 after a complete rebuild. This coincided with the 2017 senior Cork county finals in both Football and Hurling.
Why Do We Flock to the Four Great Sundays in September? A piece on the four Sundays on September when the All Ireland Hurling, Camogie, Men’s Football and Women’s Football are all played, one Sunday after the other. Ironically, in 2018 they moved the men’s finals, so that was that!
Barry Proves Beyond Doubt He’s The King. A review of Kevin Barry’s book of short stories, There Are Little Kingdoms, which was reissued by Cannongate in 2017. A typically masterful collection, brimming with soul, wit, and craft.