22 years settling rows – ‘The Championship 2016’ is here
Brian Carthy's labour of love has been chronicling GAA championships since 1995
RTÉ’s Brian Carthy at work in his radio broadcasting capacity. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.
In the Christmas rush for sports books one – literally – hardy annual will again be on the shelves. For the 22nd year RTÉ Gaelic games correspondent Brian Carthy’s record of the All-Ireland series has been published. The Championship 2016 will contain the same faithful reproduction of team sheets plus extras from the season that ran from May to, in this case, October.
The books are an essential resource for reporters, detailing scores, venues and players for every championship back to 1995. They’ve been running long enough at this stage to tell all you need to know about retiring players – debut, career championship scores, starting appearances as well as off the bench.
Carthy says that the public feedback remains “strong” if not as great as in the early years and says about 1500 are sold each year.
“Journalists find it useful and it has its own faithful readers, who’ve been buying it for a long time. There are also always people who have an interest in research and like to have records.
“I don’t do launches every year but the first time it came out in 1995, I remember the late Jack Boothman (then GAA president) saying that in years to come this book will be valuable.”
Labour of love
He says it’s a labour of love, squeezed in around his broadcasting commitments and absorbing more and more attention in the final weeks of the year.
“I cover about 40 championship matches myself and then review others on DVD and in the newspapers. In the final three weeks in November I draw it together and do a snag list of things that have to be checked. For instance this year I had to get on to New York to confirm whether or not Jonathan Glynn scored a point in the Connacht championship.”
His workload has increased over the years with the introduction of the qualifiers. In 1995 there were 54 championship matches. This year, he says there were 65 football and 28 hurling fixtures to include.
He defends the book against the recurrent complaint that it doesn’t distinguish scores from play from dead-ball scores. “There’s often not agreement in the papers about matches, particularly early ones which aren’t broadcast and it would take too long to get around to all the teams.
“I’m lucky with black cards that Patrick Doherty in Croke Park has a definitive list.”
The Championship 2016 is distributed by Eason. Price €14.99