Limerick GAA stories told in a new book about Semple Stadium in Thurles

THERE is plenty for Limerick GAA supporters in a new book that has hit the bookshelves – Semple Stadium: Field of Legends.

The new publication from O’Brien Press is written by Liam Ó Donnchú.

From the founding of GAA at Hayes’s Hotel in 1884 until today, Thurles has been the beating heart of Gaelic games, especially throwing. Generations have traveled to the city of Tipperary on big match days to enjoy the atmosphere around Liberty Square and the spectacle of their heroes playing on Semple Stadium’s immaculate court.

“Semple Stadium holds a fascination for so many people. Even on weekdays when there is no fight, I have occasionally met people who happened to be in Thurles and would not pass without going in. They stand and stare in silence in the vacant arena, but for them it is not empty.They remember the days their parents or neighbors first brought them here, the eerie days of the epic battles, the legendary players.For them, the stadium has retained their youth and power of action, and they have not grown old, “said Liam O’Donnchú.

The new book takes the reader through the history of GAA in Thurles and the evolution of the stadium. He describes the epic sporting moments that have taken place on this sacred turf: the Great Bicycle Finals in 1944, including Christy Ring’s miracle goals; The 100th anniversary final of the All-Ireland Hurling in 1984; Maurice Fitzgerald’s unforgettable point in 2001. He takes us behind the scenes at the iconic Féile concerts.

The author also pays tribute to the players, managers, staff, locals and the wider GAA community, ensuring that Tom Semple’s field remains at the center of the history of Gaelic sport.

Author Liam Ó Donnchú is a resident of Tipperary. After spending more than four decades as a primary school teacher, Liam, now retired, is the director of Lár na Páirce, the museum of the Gaelic Games in Thurles, and was PRO for Semple Stadium for many years. He is a former player, secretary and chairman of Thurles Sarsfields GAA club and currently its vice president.

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