Rouse’s extensive dig into contemporary newspapers and periodicals has unearthed terrific detail, which is skilfully interwoven. Conflicts, mostly local, are the engine of the narrative — disputed outcomes on the field and matches abandoned in full flight.
There is none of Cusack’s verbosity about Rouse’s clear style. Piece by piece he has taken a neglected story and given it a vibrant new life. For anybody who cares about hurling, this book will be a pleasure.
The book is a story of pioneerism, passion, intrigue, skulduggery and commitment acted out by a cast of characters from a range of backgrounds. Hurlers, farmers, the clergy, the IRB, Fenians and Land League agitators all played significant parts in the slow progression of the GAA.
This is a history and sports book. It’s a must read for the many sports, and particularly hurling, supporters and admirers in today’s version of Ireland.
It’s evident after reading this excellent historical account that hurling is uniquely bound up with Irish identity, in all its complexity and sublety.