The GAA All-Star Awards are coveted, glamorous, and steeped in 50 years of history.
They bring to a close the inter-county season, and like the Oscars of the Gaelic games they reward the heroes for the skill, grit, and entertainment they have brought to the field.
The list of legends from both codes who have in their possession an All-Star medallion is endless, and their stories are too.
Thankfully, with a new book celebrating 50 years of the All-Star Awards, some of these stories will now be told, along with other records and statistics.
‘All-Star Gazing: 50 Years of the GAA All-Stars’, was written by Moira and Eileen Dunne, daughters of the late journalist Mick Dunne.
Mick, along with fellow journalists Paddy Downey, John D Hickey, and Pádraig Puirséal, set up the awards in 1971.
After discovering a box of records in her dad’s old office, Moira decided to write a book with her sister.
Among the discoveries in the box were minutes from the very first All-Star meeting, and letters from the likes of Jack Lynch and Seán Ó Siocháin.
Speaking to GAA.ie Moira discussed further the contents of the book.
“We drew up a list of players to meet. As there are almost 800 players who've won the 1500 All-Stars awards over the 50 years, we couldn’t meet everyone. We focused on the records, the players who had won the most awards, and the family connections - fathers and son pairings and brothers who have won All-Stars.
“We also met some players who were the first one to be chosen in their county or who might still be the only All-Star. It was fascinating meeting those players because you could see how much the award meant to them, their family, their clubs and within their county.”
“We soon realised that there was more of a story to it rather than just a list of stats and who had won what. It gave us a very personal view of the players, a side of them that we don't normally see.
“They talk about the excitement of going on trips and going shopping, stuff like that that you don't hear them talking about because the focus in interviews is usually on the matches, the scores and the performances. We felt people would find that interesting, just to see a different side of the players.”
With Christmas around the corner, this book looks like a must have stocking filler for every GAA fan.