Shortlist Announced for the Irish Sports Book of the Year

Dublin, Ireland, November 27, 2009 --( The shortlist of six books for the 2009 Irish Sports Book of the Year was announced today. The six books were selected by the judging panel from an original long list if 23 books entered for the award.

As the GAA celebrates its 125th anniversary this year there are three Gaelic Games themed books on the shortlist. Mickey Harte’s autobiography, Harte: Presence is the Only Thing, written with Michael Foley has made the last six, as has Damian Lawlor’s tale of a year with the Waterford footballers, Working on a Dream. Dónal Óg Cusack’s autobiography, Come What May, with Tom Humphries, completes the GAA trio on the shortlist.

In what was a memorable year for Irish rugby, two books from this genre have also made the shortlist. Eddie O’Sullivan’s autobiography, Never Die Wondering, with Vincent Hogan, was listed in the top six as was Alan English’s detailing of Ireland’s historic Grand Slam victory, Grand Slam: How Ireland Achieved Rugby Greatness. The final book in contention for this year’s award is Kieran Shannon’s detailed account of the golden age of basketball in Ireland in the 1980’s, Hanging from the Rafters. The winner of the Irish Sports Book of the Year is due to be announced on the 3rd December.

Tony Kenny, PR Manager for William Hill, believes it was an excellent year for Irish sports books. “The standard of competition this year was particularly high. We had some really great books in contention for the award and our shortlist reflects that. Gaelic Games was always going to feature strongly as it does every year and in what was a huge year for rugby it is also well represented, while Kieran Shannon’s book has looked at what was an amazing time for basketball in Ireland and one of the great untold stories in Irish sport,” Kenny said.

The 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 the break in the sport.

Shortlist – Irish Sports Book of the Year
Never Die Wondering – Eddie O’Sullivan with Vincent Hogan (Random House Press)
Harte: Presence is the Only Thing – Mickey Harte with Michael Foley (Poolbeg)
Come What May: The Autobiography – Dónal Óg Cusack with Tom Humphries (Penguin Ireland)
Hanging from the Rafters – Kieran Shannon (Evening Echo Publications)
Working on a Dream – Damian Lawlor (Mentor Books)
Grand Slam: How Ireland Achieved Rugby Greatness – Alan English (Penguin Ireland

William Hill
Tony Kenny