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Cavan Townlands | February 24, 2021

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The Gallant John Joe by George Cartwright

The Gallant John Joe by George Cartwright

| On 17, Dec 2020

Cavantownlands.com are delighted to feature this excellent new book by George Cartwright on the incredible John Joe O’Reilly.

The legendary John Joe O’Reilly was one of the first great GAA national icons. He was the talisman and captain during Cavan’s golden era between the 1930s and 1950s. 

John Joe is the only man to lead a team to All Ireland glory outside of Ireland – when he led the Breffni men against Kerry in the 1947 final played at the Polo Grounds in New York – and he also captained Cavan to another All-Ireland in Croke Park the following year.

Renowned in song and story, John Joe is widely regarded as the greatest Cavan man of all time.  His teammate Mick Higgins put it simply but best when he said: “I looked up to him and so did everybody else.”

George Cartwright’s newly-published biography leaves no stone unturned in meticulously uncovering the life and times of ‘The Gallant John Joe’.

The 288-page tome traces his growth from school boy to senior player, while also documenting his rise through the Army ranks before the tragedy of his untimely passing.

Cartwright interviewed scores of O’Reilly’s contemporaries so that he could accurately detail the fascinating achievements packed into his all too short life – he died in 1952 aged 34.

Inside and back cover of the book

“Writing a book about John Joe was a labour of love for me,” said the author. “I grew up listening to people talking about his exploits on the field and it was an honour to talk to those closest to him in the compiling of this biography.”

The book is published in hardback by Ballpoint Press. “There are few people in the history of the GAA who towered over their sport in the manner that John Joe did,” said publisher PJ Cunningham.

It is a book painstakingly put together by a man whose own heart beats deep inside Cornafean, Cavan and the GAA. The result is a thorough account of John Joe’s importance both as a player and leader to his county at that time of unprecedented glory.

As the song about O’Reilly says: “Young players may come and old players may go, but there’ll ever be another like the gallant John Joe.”

The book is available from November  in Ireland and can be ordered from georgecartwright56@gmail.com.

It will also be available on Kindle shortly for those who want to buy it on line.

The Gallant John Joe, by George Cartwright and published by Ballpoint Press, is released in hardback and retails at €19.99.

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