Book about Ballynacargy’s GAA history set for launch
A new book on the history of Gaelic games in the Ballynacargy area is being launched in the village’s parochial hall this Saturday evening, December 21, at 7.30pm.
The Rocky Story of the GAA in Ballynacargy, which was edited and written by Frank Mescall, not only catalogues the ups and downs of the club since its foundation 95 years ago, but also provides an overview of all aspects of GAA culture in the area including Scór, handball, hurling and ladies football.
Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner this week, Clare native Frank, who has been a member of Ballynacargy GAA club for almost 30 years and served in a host of roles during this time, revealed that he has been working on the book, on and off, since 2013 when he helped put together a history of GAA in the area for The Gathering.
After putting the project “on the long finger” for a number of years, in September of last year he decided to make a determined effort to bring the project to fruition.
The hardest part of the project was researching the earliest days of the GAA in the Ballynacargy area. This entailed spending hours in Mullingar Library going through editions of the Westmeath Examiner from more than a century ago.
“You are going back to the 1890s. I was looking for stuff relating to football in Ballynacargy. There were lots of different teams back,” said Frank. “Matches at that stage could be described as social occasions. They were friendly games but huge crowds would come out for them.
“The teams would decide their own rules and the number of people that would play and bands would lead out the teams. There would also be a dance that night.”
As well as the articles penned by Frank, the book also features contributions from a number of well known figures from both inside and outside the club, including Séamus Ó Faoláin, Fr Ulick Troy and Tom Price.
While he was the man who drove the project, Frank says that the publication of The Rocky Story of the GAA is the culmination of a lot of hard work from a number of people.
When asked if it was a labour of love, Frank joked that he wasn’t sure about the love part but there was certainly a lot of labour involved.
However, his efforts and those of his contributors were most certainly not in vain, and The Rocky Story of the GAA in Ballynacargy is the ideal stocking filler for local sports fans this Christmas.