I know it’s a bit late in the day to be discussing New Year’s resolutions for 2009 but better late than never. I had a few for this year, i.e. start learning the piano (check), buy a bicycle (check) and climb the Reek (check). But, aside from writing that great post-modern novel (Colum McCann has, I reckon, beaten me to the punch on that one) and drinking hard liquor from a green and red bedecked Sam Maguire, I have more than a few unfulfilled goals from the year that’s now dying on us.
One of these relates to my ongoing mission to collect, collate and make available to the wider world the results of each and every league and championship game in which the senior county team has played. Last winter, I got the complete results archive done back as far as 1959 and I was confidently expecting to knock another two or three decades off the list during this closed season. I had also intended to start making some progress on past championship results at minor and U21 level, where my more modest initial aim is to collect all relevant details for both grades back to 2000.
I have made some progress but not anything like as much as I was hoping for: work (too much of same) and a concomitant inability to make enough trips to the National Library put a bit of a stop to my gallop over the last few months. However, there is some progress to report: the archive now stretches back to the start of 1950 (and, of course, forward to the end of 2009 – I didn’t have those results twelve months ago either), which means that it now encompasses a full sixty years of results. For every league and championship match played during that period, the archive also includes full team and scorer details. This year’s results also contain the minor and U21 championship matches and both this year’s and last year’s have loads of links to third-party match reports.
The Fifties are obviously a significant decade to add because it means that the archive finally includes the two most recent championship campaigns in which we finished on top of the pile. I have to say that I quite enjoyed adding these to the list though the fact that I’d first had to wade through decades of unrequited ambition dulled the thrill somewhat, as well as making me realise that our last All-Ireland success did occur rather a long time ago. Well before the era of The Sunday Game, as this newsreel clip confirms.
While I’m performing the official opening of the extended archive, I would like to pay tribute to Donal O’Donoghue who sourced some of the 1950s results for me and who has also been going through the entire archive with a fine toothcomb, turning up plenty of unforced errors on my part. I’m still working my way through his detailed corrections list (working forward from 1950 I’m now as far as 1976) but Donal’s keen eye for detail means that you can now be more confident that the archive is an accurate record of the county’s results.
You’ll be hearing more from me about Donal in the New Year, as, along with Mick Byrne (that’s Mick with the pub in Castlebar), he’s putting together a publication based on the county’s results since 1950 – which contains all manner of interesting information – and which will be hitting the streets before too long. As well as being an essential manual for all results nerds, it’s also going to be a worthy charitable endeavour. While this means that you’ll have to part with some cash to get a copy, the good news is that 100% of the cover price (which I understand will be €7) will go to the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice. As I said, I’ll be back with more details on this forthcoming publication and how you’ll be able to get your hands on it closer to the launch date.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the ride all the way back to 1950. While the journey back may be a bit rocky, the destination (well, in footballing terms at least) makes it all worthwhile.