Irish Examiner journalist Declan Colley tells us about the work that went into "Away The Well", the magnificent newly-published Centenary book of Sunday's Well RFC.
The book, which was launched last week to coincide with the official beginning of the Cork club's Centenary season, is edited by Colley and offers a comprehensive history of the Well, with pictures dating back to the Tramway Cup winning team of the club's first season (1906/07).
The Centenary celebrations continued last Friday with a Members Grand Centenary Reunion at the Rochestown Park Hotel, with guest speakers on the night including former Irish Times rugby correspondent Edmund van Esbeck, Ken Ging and Paddy Comerford, who all played with the Well.
A four-day exhibition will also take place at the Vision Centre on North Main Street next week, starting on Wednesday (October 11), displaying photographs and other memorabilia of the Well throughout its distinguished history.
Declan Colley: I have been a long standing member of Sunday's Well since I came to Cork 25 years ago to work for what was then the Cork Examiner and is now the Irish Examiner.
We have obviously known that the centenary was coming up for some time and planned accordingly. I first become involved in the book project in August of last year, when I was asked by co-ordinate it by the Centenary Committee Chairman John 'Doc' Carroll. 'Co-ordinate' was, of course, a euphemism for writing the book, but I came to the project with my eyes open.
Other than myself writing the book, another club stalwart Bill Egar took on the task of sourcing a printer, pricing the job and setting deadlines for production. Others to be involved were Jim Turnbull and Noel Cleary, both of whom were invaluable during the editing process, correcting names, dates, etc.
They also worked on the process of getting people to write their own memories of the club which would eventually be used as inidividual contributions.
It was decided at an early stage that the book would only be produced as a hardback and we would not make this a cover-to-cover history as such books are invariably terribly boring and dull. So it was decided to do it in two parts - the first being a history and the second being the collected reminiscences of the various people we engaged to write their memories.
Some of these had to be interviewed and others wrote their pieces themselves. I did the interviewing and editing of all the contributions.
As far as the historical end of it is concerned - much of the source material came from Frank Byford - another clubman of long standing and who is also now the Secretary of the Munster Branch. Frank has been for years the unofficial club historian and had a wealth of material. However, all this had to be gone through and collated so it could be worked into a proper historical document.
There were also many other sources of material which came from individual club members or widows and family of deceased members and these too had to be evaluated to measure their worth.
In terms of other big city clubs in Cork, Dublin and Limerick, Sunday's Well is actually quite a small club in terms of numbers of members, so it was actually quite easy to track things down. Thankfully many of the men who contributed to significant moments in the club's history are still alive and that also helped greatly.
Guys like former international Mick Madden and Jerry Daly, who captained the 1953 Munster Senior Cup winning teams, as well as the Jackson brothers - Frank and Tommy - who were all around during the golden era in the 1940s and '50s are all still with us.
Once all the source material was pulled together, it was then down to writing the book and that took place in a period between January and May this year in a variety of locations including, believe it or not, China where I had to spend some time earlier this year!
When the manuscript was completed, it had to be checked thoroughly and when this process was finished, it was eventually sent to the printer. The Southern Star in Skibbereen has its own book printing division and they did an excellent job, I have to say. We went through a process of then proofing the material and deciding on the eventual layout.
It had originally been intended to run the personal reminiscences alongside the historical text, but in the end, we decided to separate the two, so the history now comes first and the reminiscences second.
Many of the pictures in the book came were sourced from within the club and others came from the Irish Examiner archives, a process which Examiner photographer Des Barry played an important part.
Sunday's Well may be a small club, but its membership is one of the most loyal and committed you'll come across. This year's senior side will be coached by former international Ken O'Connell and former Munster winger John O'Neill, both of whom made contributions to the book.
As for myself, I was born and bred in Dublin and was schooled at De La Salle in Churchtown, where I also played rugby - I was a hooker and the highlight of my schools career was an unbeaten season under coach Brian Gallagher (now retired but a stalwart Old Belvedere alick). Unbeaten that is until the final of the thirds league in 1977 when Terenure turned us over in the final at Danum thanks to two intercept tries!
I worked in Wexford after attending the journalism school at the College of Commerce in Rathmines. I was subsequently a freelancer at the Irish Independent before moving to Cork to work with the Examiner in 1981. I am currently the Deputy Sports Editor at the paper. I joined Sunday's Well the same year and have been associated ever since.
The book was launched at the headquarters of Thomas Crosbie Holdings in Cork last week, TCH being the owners of the Examiner, and there was a big crowd there for the occasion, including many of the contributors to the book. They brought about 100 books to the launch and sold them all.
**If anyone wishes to purchase the book, details are available from Jim Turnbull (tel: 021 4541463). Further information on the book's availability will be put on the club's website www.sundayswellrfc.com shortly**