When one is attempting to contrast events from the past with the present it is difficult to understand the mindset and culture of yester year. So with the afore-mentioned in mind, the task will be addressed primarily on the assessment of the individuals at the time in question, not withstanding the diverse interpretations that individuals sometimes may have of the same event.
The history of the G.A.A. in the areas which will be investigated is mainly based on qualitative research but statistical records are also available for major events, especially those events associated with Clifden Town G.A.A. Club which was one of the first clubs registered in Connemara, dating back to the early 1900s and perhaps even before, but no documented evidence in relation to this is at hand at this time. The main advantage that the club had in the early years was the train service which was used for transport to and from matches and quantitative records exist of matches in Clifden, for example versus Athenry (another train town) as far back as 1913.
The general Gaelic folklore of the areas will be addressed by the spoken word of interested individuals who are known for their knowledge of the subject. The assessment of some county finals contested will be addressed by participants and/or people with knowledge of the events. The curse of emigration will also be considered. Some players who played an important role at county level will also give their memories. The main focus will be on championship football.
The underage achievements will also be addressed. Ladies’ Football – the new expansion in the G.A.A. – will also be explored. Some of the earlier players will also be documented.
It is also important to acknowledge that the Gaelic tradition was and is kept alive by several strands of the communities, for example, players, supporters, sponsors but most of all by the administrators who year in year out ensure that the pitch is playable and marked, that teams are registered and managed, that funds are available for the affiliation fees/insurance etc. It must be recognized that some of the best club workers in many cases would never have played football. They just promote it for the love of the organisation. Some of the people that played and play that role will give their memories. In essence, therefore, the G.A.A. family in this district is broad-based and that will be recognized in this production.
There were several instances of disagreements within the clubs and the district over the years, involving various characters. A lot of this conflict, would appear in most cases to involve personalities and would have very little to do with the core G.A.A promotion, so with that in mind this production will not discuss the various scenarios, other than highlight a few examples. It will focus solely on the G.A.A. activity in the various regions.