The shortlist of six books for the williamhill.com Irish Sports Book of the Year has been announced and covers titles from a range of sports from rugby and horse racing to Gaelic games and cycling.
Once again GAA features heavily on the list, with the last two winners coming from the GAA, there is another two included in this year’s shortlist. “Life, Death and Hurling” by Michael Duignan with Pat Nolan looks at Duignan’s life as an Offaly hurler in one of the counties greatest sides where he won two All-Ireland medals along with his tragic struggles off the field.
“Without a Shadow of a Doubt” by Joe Kernan with Martin Breheny is also in the running. Kernan has been at the heart of Armagh GAA for over 30 years, achieving dual All-Star success as a player and guiding both Crossmaglen and the Armagh team to All-Ireland glory. Outside of the game the book looks at the personal tragedies he had to face and declaring his bankruptcy in 2010 as the recession hit hard.
The only rugby book to make the shortlist is that of Dublin sportswriter Paul Kimmage, who tells the story of paralysed former English rugby player Matt Hampson in “Engage, The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson”. Hampson, who was a promising England U-21 international, was paralysed when a scrum collapsed during a training session. The book looks at Hampson’s life after the accident and how he had pieced his life back together after the life changing injury.
The first of the horse racing books in contention for the award is the autobiography of one of the greatest jockey’s of all time, Tony McCoy. The book, “AP McCoy” written with Donn McClean, follows Tony’s life in horseracing which has included over 3,000 winners since 1992, winning ever major national hunt race and last year winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The other horse racing book included in the shortlist is Paul Carberry’s “One Hell of a Ride”, which was written with Des Gibson. Carberry’s book looks at his brilliant and controversial life as one of the country’s top jockeys. The book recounts his Grand National victory and his life as a two time Champion jockey along with his battle with alcohol and his countless injuries and broken bones.
The final book on the shortlist for this year’s award is “Inside the Peloton” by Nicolas Roche. The book details Roche’s career in professional cycling to date and also looks at Roche’s dream to emulate his father Stephen and his life in France competing for one of the world’s top professional cycling teams. Tony Kenny, Head of International PR for William Hill, commented on the strength of this year’s shortlist. “This has been another great year for Irish sports writing. We have four different sports in contention this year and some of Ireland’s finest sports writers. The standard is extremely high with all six books showcasing excellent sports stories that are brilliantly told by the authors,” Kenny said.
The public will also be able to vote for this year’s winner on www.irishsportsbookoftheyear.com . The 11 judges on this year’s Judging Panel will select their winners from the shortlist of 6 books, while the public vote will act as the 12th judge this year, contributing to the overall voting for the award.
The williamhill.com Irish Sports Book of the Year was established in 2006 to reward the high standard of Irish sports writing. Previous winners of the award include Paul McGrath for his autobiography “Back from the Brink”, Dónal Óg Cusack’s “Come What May” and last year’s winner, “The Club” by Christy O’Connor. Shortlist –
williamhill.com Irish Sports Book of the Year 2011
• Life, Death; Hurling Michael Duignan (Irish Sports Publishing)
• Without a Shadow of a Doubt Joe Kernan (Irish Sports Publishing)
• One Hell of a Ride Paul Carberry (Paperweight Press)
• Engage-The Fall& Rise of Matt Hampson Paul Kimmage (Simon & Schuster)
• Inside the Peloton Nicolas Roche (Transworld)
• AP McCoy – My Autobiography AP McCoy & Donn McClean (Orion Books)