Last Wednesday, the IFI decamped to the Mecca of the GAA, Croke Park, for the launch of our second GAA DVD. GAA Football Gold features footage of the 1947 to 1958 All Ireland finals which have been preserved by the IFI Irish Film Archive and is now made available to all GAA fans and anyone interested in the era. We were delighted that John Costello, Secretary of the Dublin GAA, brought a very special guest along with him, the Sam Maguire. Possibly the most popular guest of the day if the number of IFI staff and even the Minister's staff who wanted to get a photograph taken with the cup were anything to go by.
Bernard Brogan, Pat Giroy and Kasandra O'Connell (IFI)
Pat Gilroy, Dublin All Ireland winning manager and Bernard Brogan from the Dublin team made time in their very busy schedule to join us. It was fitting that since Dublin won the All Ireland this year, that they got an opportunity to pay tribute to the men that came before them, whose achievements are no less worthy of celebrating and recalling as the team of today.
From the 1955/1958 Dublin panels we were delighted to welcome Paddy O Flaherty, Jim Crowley, Mick Moylan, Sean “Yank” Murray, Cyril Freaney, Cathal O Leary, Norman Allen who suffered an appendicitis before the 1955 All Ireland final and could not play but still features as he is introduced as one of the linesmen before the 1953 All Ireland final, Johnny Joyce, who holds the record for highest scoring player in a single championship match and GAA legend and former Dublin captain Kevin Heffernan and my own father Jimmy Gray a sub in 1955.
GAA Footballers 1955/58 with Annmarie Gray and Kasandra O'Connell (IFI)
Amongst all these Dublin players, came a brave Kerry man, Minister Jimmy Deenihan who was delighted to be able to formally launch our DVD despite the Dublin centric nature of the event. He did assure us Dublin wouldn't win it again! He did however take the opportunity to take credit for Dublin's All Ireland win last September by being introducing the Brogan brothers' mother and father to each other. The GAA is obviously something that is close to the Minister's heart and he spoke at length and with great passion about the era, which included many successful Kerry players.
As someone who was born and bred into the GAA, I was delighted to introduce the event; Kasandra O'Connell, Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive also gave a speech detailing the work that went in to producing this DVD and the importance of our collection of GAA footage.
Dublin's All-Ireland winners Bernard Brogan (2011) and Kevin Heffernan (1958), and Minister Jimmi Deenihan
After the speeches, we watched a selection of clips from the DVD, including the 1958 final. It was great to see the former players point each other out, tease each other, and slap each other on the back for their performance especially as they were seeing the highlights of their final for the first time in over 50 years. In this era of DVDs, video recorders, youtube etc. it is hard to imagine that the record of such a significant day would be left to statistics, scorelines, a match report and fading memories. Nothing can replace the experience of seeing the matches again, to replicate the excitement, the drama, the heartbreak and the triumph. Due to the work of the IFI Irish Film Archive, these memories will never fade and the production of the DVD means that a new generation can appreciate how the game has changed and developed and can be reminded of past glories. It is a perfect Christmas present!
Profits from the DVD will go towards the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund.
IFI Deputy Director
For more information on previous DVDs released by the IFI Irish Film Archive, including GAA Hurling Gold, Irish Destiny, Seoda or The O'Kalem Collection, please visit our website.
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