The Drawn Game

An Illustrated look at Gaelic Games

When I worked on the first iteration of this book lastyear, I really didn't know what sort of a reaction it would get. We sold out every copy that was printed and raised over €4,000 for the ‘A better life for Livie’ fundraising campaign. It was a labour of love and something I was hugely proud of.

This year, ‘The Drawn Game’ has over 25 different artists from Ireland and from overseas. Each interview and article is accompanied by an illustration from a different artist.The standard of artwork is incredible this year. John Tregoning is the hugely talented artist behind the front cover illustration of John Kiely and It’s an honour to have him involved this time around. What’s great about working on a project like this is getting to see different artists styles and how they interpret each illustration. Putting this The Drawn Game together for 2021 was a brilliant experience yet again. The amount of detail and effort that goes into creating these illustrations can be hugely time consuming so a huge thank you to all of the artists involved. It was a pleasure collaborating with all of them on the concepts for each piece.

A lot has happened in the time passed since this book was released last year. The pandemic and lockdown are unavoidable topics of conversation. Every week I’ll ring home to family in Ireland and it will come up in conversation. People at home in Ireland and other parts of the world have been hugely affected by the pandemic, physically and mentally. The GAA season in 2020 would have been a huge relief for players but also for people at home watching on their TV’s. At the time of this going to print the GAA season is in full swing and it's so good to have it back! I’m living on the other side of the world and I’ve missed it hugely, so I can't imagine what it's been like for friends and family at home in Ireland.

The first interview you will read is with Corkman, Jamie Wall. A hugely inspirational person who has been through a lot in his life. From playing with Cork to guiding ‘Mary I’ to Fitzgibbon Cup glory. There are chats with the likes of Donegal’s Michael Murphy who reflects on the 2012 All Ireland winning season and ‘Jimmy’s winning matches’. Jacqui Hurley talks about the importance of female sports presenters on TV and radio and how her career took off from a young age. 

One of the highlights in this year's edition is a chat with Waterford legend John Mullane. I still can't quite figure out how I managed to get him to say yes to an interview!

He was one of my favourite hurlers from when I was growing up so it was a surreal and amazing experience talking to him about his life in Hurling. He’s a gas man too! Mayo legend David Brady could have filled half this book with stories from an incredible career. As could Clare’s Jamesie O’Connor and Colin O’Riordan who looks back on a fairytale few weeks with his native Tipperary. There’s a brilliant conversation with ‘The Wild Swans’ who wrote and sang ‘Dancing at the Crossroads’. It’s the only GAA song that's ever hit No.1 in the Irish Charts. 

A special thank you to TJ Ryan and the team at Cube Printing, and Sportsfile who have come on board this year to help support the book.

Proceeds from the sale of the ‘The Drawn Game’ will be going to ‘Samaritans’ and ‘Pieta House’. These are brilliant charities that do fantastic work for people in need of support in Ireland. Mental Health is a huge talking point these days. It always has been to be honest. It’s something that can affect each of us in different ways, especially in a time of a global pandemic. Issues can escalate due to the uncertainty that's in the world currently. Help is out there, whether it's reaching out to family and friends or by reaching out to organizations that specialise in mental health support. On a personal level it’s something that's affected me over the years and it's a subject that's hugely important to me. The more awareness and discussion that can be had will only help. 

I’m probably biased but I’m hugely proud of the finished product this year. Fingers crossed that what you will see and read over the next 96 pages or so will give you as much enjoyment as I got in putting it all together.

In the meantime, enjoy the book and stay safe.