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Eighty years of GAA history

A collection of Clare GAA County Board convention annual reports stretching back almost 80 years has been presented to the county library.

Cratloe GAA development committee chairman, John Ryan has provided what he believes is an unique collection of accounts of the major developments in Clare’s GAA history for the last eight decades, apart from 1932, to the Clare County Library.
The collection consists of the full series of annual secretary’s reports, statements of account, motions discussed and lists of officers nominated and elected at the Clare County GAA Board of the GAA from 1930 to the present day.
The reports complement other GAA materials held in the county library, including the 13-volume set of Clare GAA news clippings dating from 1887 to 1984 in the archives of the Clare Journal, The Saturday Record and The Clare Champion and the various parish and club histories published for the GAA centenary in 1984.
Despite an extensive search of his contacts built up over years of research and his involvement in numerous county and club committees, Mr Ryan, a former board member, still can’t get his hands on the elusive 1932 annual report.
Clare won the Munster title in 1932 but subsequently lost the All-Ireland final to Kilkenny in Croke Park on September 4 on a 3-3 to 2-3 scoreline.
Mr Ryan has issued an appeal to Clare GAA stalwarts throughout the country to try and source the 1932 report and pass it on to the county library to complete the collection.
Peter Beirne of Clare County Library said the library is delighted to receive this generous donation from Mr Ryan.
“It is most civic-minded of Mr Ryan and the library is very pleased to hold them on behalf of the community. It is remarkable to obtain a full set spanning 80 years with only the year 1932 missing – a red-letter year for Clare hurling.
“Mr Ryan’s wonderful contribution will be well used over the years to come,” he said.
Mr Ryan would also love to find copies of any convention reports prior to 1930, particularly in the 1920s.
In addition to attending every Clare GAA County Board convention as secretary of Cratloe GAA Club since the mid 1970s, he built up his collection thanks to the assistance of county board officers including secretary, Pat Fitzgerald; central council representative, Noel Walsh, St Joseph’s Miltown and the late Munster Council chairman, Brendan Vaughan, Newmarket-on-Fergus
“I feel the reports are part of social history, giving an account of how the GAA was being run in all those years. They will provide an ideal reference resource for people completing club or county histories.
“I was anxious that these documents would be kept safe and would be preserved for future generations. If we don’t take steps to protect social history, it could be lost for future generations,” he said.
Clare County Board secretary, Pat Fitzgerald said Mr Ryan was a very efficient former board officer and also completed a lot of work at club level.
Describing the collection as very valuable, Mr Fitzgerald said the association doesn’t always pay enough attention to preserving and chronicling its history.


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