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Alan Rodgers Launches Paddy MacFlynn Autobiography

Thursday 17.10.2013
Team Talk Mag

THE launch took place in Omagh Library tonight of the new autobiography covering the life of the President who guided the GAA through one of the most difficult periods of the Troubles.

In ‘Leading Through the Troubles – A Life in the GAA,’ Paddy MacFlynn with Alan Rodgers recounts 80 years of involvement in the association from his role in forming the O’Donnovan Rossa club in Magherafelt in 1934.

He also recounts how the occupation of the Crossmaglen grounds and the H-Block and Hunger Strike crises were high on his agenda as leader of an organisation whose members were affected in a multitude of ways.
He speaks of his time as President of the GAA between 1979 and 1982 and how his experience gained coming through the ranks of the association in Derry and Down left him ideally equipped to lead the GAA through three difficult years.
Mr MacFlynn recounts how the Association could have been split during this period, the pressures of the H-Block crisis and, of course, his many different roles throughout the Association during a lifetime of service.

Speaking at the event, Tyrone GAA Historian, Joe Martin, reflected on how Paddy MacFlynn had played rugby at Strawberry Hill teacher-training college with Trillick’s Paddy Donnelly – who captained Tyrone to their first Lagan Cup success in 1942 – and the future county chairman, Paddy Cullen.

Alan Rodgers reflected on how he had spent one year preparing and writing the book which was published just two weeks before the death of Paddy MacFlynn on September 24th last.

In an epilogue to the book, former GAA Director General, Liam Mulvihill, said the GAA could not have remained united but for the presence of a ‘northern person of such stature as President.’
The book is certain to appeal to GAA members throughout Ireland, but also those with an interest in Irish history, particular the crucial H-block period.
The former President tells an eventful story of the 95 years of his colourful, action-packed life.
So, you will marvel at his memory and his powers of recall as you read about his days as a lively inquisitive youngster. Those days in the 1920s when the train still called, when butchers killed their own pork, publicans bottled their own stout and teachers still used canes to encourage learning.
You will progress through his exploits on the rugby fields of Rainey through to his ‘breaking of the GAA’s ban’ at Twickenham Internationals, as a student at St Mary’s Teacher Training College in leafy Strawberry Hill. And his observation of the preparations in London for World War Two just before the completion of his studies.
The founding of the O’Donovan Rossas in Magherafelt and his subsequent rise through the GAA ranks which led to the Ulster Presidency and eventually to his election as the GAA’s 27th President at the time of the Troubles.
So, ‘Leading through the Troubles’ definitely is much more than a ‘A Life in the GAA’ – much more.

The book is available now, retailing at £10. A limited number of hard-back copies are available priced at £20.

The book can also be obtained by contacting Alan on 07793537486/807 58458.



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