If anything can ever be described as a labour of love, then the outstanding “Clear the Way - History of Mohill GAA Club 1889 - 2015” qualifies by some distance.
Mohill's exiles travelled from all parts of the globe with some home from Australia, others from across the pond, more than a few down from Dublin while the son of Mohill legend Eddie Rowley made the journey all the way from New Jersey and departed his arms laden down with four copies of “Clear the Way”.
And from skimming through the pages, such extravagance is justified with GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghaíl asking the crowd not to buy a copy of “Clear the Way” but to buy two or three or four, so impressed was he by the book.
The humorous and fascinating tome was launched last Saturday night in The Baronial Hall in Lough Rynn Castle Hotel by Ó Fearghaíl to great fanfare but it was no more than the 338 page epic deserves.
Ó Fearghaíl captivated the audience with his humour and insight, the first thing he did when he arrived was to grab a copy of the book and make copious notes that were reflected in his speech.
Great praise was rightly showered on joint editors Des Keegan and Maureen Lynch for their work in completing a project that was first mooted when the Club celebrated their 100th anniversary back in 1989.
Maureen's late husband Tom was one of the initial driving forces behind the book and she agreed it was a proud day for the club - “Tom started it and had written it up until the 40s, he has it hand-written out. He passed away five years ago but he’d be delighted now to see the book.
“Hopefully, it will sell well and everybody should be interested because everyone in the town, at some stage their grandparents were involved, fundraising and you’d see big committees and people you never think of would have been involved, they are all written down on it, they are all remembered now.”
Her fellow editor Des Keegan entertained the audience with a humorous and informative speech, reflecting on where Mohill started and where they are now and it was a theme he continued when he spoke to the Observer.
“It is a proud day because it is a record of what people have achieved over the years, people who might be forgotten. There have been some great people who have kept the spirit of the GAA alive in Mohill, I remember in Mohill when you could put out 15 players, it would be an achievement.
“Now we have three adult teams so it is a record of what the club has gone through, what they have achieved. Mohill have had brilliant underage success for the last 30 years but a very poor return at senior but that is changing.”
And Des stresses that the book is for the entire community and not a dry retelling of facts - “It is not just about games won and lost, cups won and lost, who played well and who didn’t. There is a little bit of political history in there because it is all part of us and the community rather than just football matches.”
What shines through “Clear the Way” is a love of place and humour and all we can say is if you are from Mohill, you have to have this book, no argument and if you are a lover of the GAA in Leitrim, you have to have this book! A simply outstanding production - congratulations to everyone involved!