Ten years ago – Sunday 8th September 2013. A famous victory was recorded by a Piltown hurling team in Mullinavat as the Under-16 team recorded a 0-16 to 0-11 win over the fancied Thomastown in the Roinn B Championship Final. A decade has past since that glorious day which will remain in the memory of all those involved. The players, team management, club administrators, parents, grandparents and supporters of Piltown GAA. Many will never forget while they are of sound mind, the joyous scenes on the pitch afterwards as the community came together to celebrate. But how many will remember the details of the match and the run to the final?
The results can be researched. A first round win versus Erins Own in Clara by 2-13 to 1-13. Then a quarter final win by 4-14 to 1-11 against Tullaroan in Callan CBS. A Tullaroan team that featured two current Kilkenny senior players, Tommy Walsh and Martin Keoghan. The Semi-Final victory by the narrowest of margins 1-10 to 2-6 over St. Lachtains of Freshford in John Locke Park, Callan. Then then that final against a Thomastown team led by another current Kilkenny senior player, John Donnelly.
Then how many remember the details of the final? Very few I would say. Some would probably say it doesn’t matter. They won. However, as time goes by the memory will inevitably fade. The joy will dwindle without the availability of a match report to jog that memory. Yes, all our memories will eventually fade. Fortunately, for that game, I was still the PRO for the juvenile club and produced a match report that will help preserve those wonderful memories longer into the future. It was originally posted on the old Piltown GAA website. Unfortunately no longer accessible. But it has been preserved. Read below for the memories of that great ay and championship campaign.
After reading the report, I expect almost everyone will be amazed about how much they had forgotten about that game and that campaign. They were boys then. They are all men now. Some still playing, some not. But they all have that glorious victory in common. They may not have pushed on in the last decade, but that is something for another day. For now, it’s the memory and the importance of the wonderful victory. Of course, its not the most important thing in their lives but it is definitely a cherished moment in their lives and the lives of those closely connected.
Life has changed in the decade that has passed. Now it is frowned upon to produce a detailed report of a juvenile match. Now PR of juvenile GAA matches consists of social media posts, which to be fair are very professionally produced by enthusiastic and technically skilled PRO’s. This is followed up by loads of pictures and a sterile match report with little or no detail. The nature of social media means that in a few months anything that has been posted is impossible to find. The mind becomes the only repository of the moment and those who have the photos. Do the photos even tell the story? They say a picture paints a thousand words. How many times have you seen a photo of player hitting a ball which may be the only ball that was hit in the match by that player? Or on the other hand no picture of a player who hit an ocean of ball and even scored the winning goal. The picture may paint a thousand words but is it always the right words?
Society has become overprotective of young people images in a sports context. It’s debatable if this is good in the long term. Not every photo or report is a crime nor should it be considered a crime. The memories that have been censored by society will be lost to people in the future. I wonder how things would have worked out if the writers of the Book of Kells censored themselves likewise. How much history would have been lost?
Society needs these memories preserved. We look back at films that were censored years ago and “laugh” at how they could have been censored. Yet we have the current generation censoring reporting and photography of innocent pastimes. Will future generations “laugh” at us for hiding what will be their past and history?
In the 1970’s cameras were scarce and so were PRO’s. Hence match reports were rare, but the ones that did exist always make interesting reading. All this changed and peaked in the early noughties as cameras became common and clubs all had a PRO, only for the reverse to commence. Take for example the Kilkenny GAA Yearbook. A publication I have been purchasing since the seventies and a massively important part of my huge GAA memorabilia collection. A must have, every Christmas! It used to be a great production with some brilliant articles and match reports combined with results recording. There would be photos that you could see the players faces and the names printed to easily identify the young players for many years to come as they grow into men and women and old men and old women. A wonderful resource 50 years later when trying to identify who played in that famous game five decades ago.
Jump forward fifty years. Now the team photos are so small you cannot make the players out, let alone in fifty years’ time. The names are not printed. You have no idea who would have been on the 2022 Roinn B Championship winning team or if any of them will go on to play senior for Kilkenny when looking back in a few years time. I personally believe the publication needs a massive review and revamp and I am a long-term reader/viewer. The current format has become tired. It serves neither as a historical record nor a point in time broadcast. However, current society thinking will hinder progress there. Current generational thinking is more in line with the thinking of the early 1900’s where everything is a secret and controlling censorship is key. Society doesn’t realise what wonderful artefacts or stories are been buried and hidden from future generations. Many because of the sensitivity of insecure adults.
We need to become more open, but we (those who write reports) must have integrity and honesty as paramount. [Not that I write reports anymore]. There should be some protections there, but not to the point of complete censorship. Any negativity (and in sport not everything is positive – There are losers too) should not be shouldered by the young players. The adults are better positioned to take responsibility there. Or should be. Experience though tells me that is not always the case, and some adults can never accept it is them and not the young players. In my experience most adults cry more than the young player. When I was reporting for the Kilkenny People, and on the former Piltown GAA website you would be amazed how many young players asked me to mention them in a match report and were very grateful when they were. The young players said thank you a lot more than the adults. Unfortunately, the current crop of young players do not look at match reports or read newspapers. All they want to see is the pictures on social media. Does anyone else think that is part of the problem with the society we are developing? Will the skill of reading and understanding reports disappear for future generations and be led by uncontrolled social media. Where understanding the words behind the picture is not important to them.
The boys of 2013 are now all men. In a short space of time the boys and girls of 2023 will be men and women. Will they have wonderful memories of matches recorded? In years to come will they be able to look at a team picture and name everyone of their teammates? Will the memory fade with time? Of course, it will. Will the present which is set to history be completely wiped in a hundred years’ time or portrayed by unregulated medium and in the main untruthful social media posts? Make the most of your good memories. Hopefully the mind will remain clear for decades. Leave something positive for your children and your grandchildren. You are the current keeper of their history. Keep it safe and treat it wisely.