Soccer Book Launch tomorrow in UCC.

Cork University Press will be publishing Soccer in Munster: A Social History, 1877-1937  by David Toms tomorrow.


David Ryan and Andy Bielenberg, School of History, University College Cork will launch the book on Wednesday 10 June 2015 at 6 pm in the Staff Common Room. All welcome.


With all of the recent controversy around the FIFA bribery scandals that have emerged and the imminent resignation of Sepp Blatter it can be easy to forget that there’s more to football than pampered, overpaid stars and corrupt officials. What makes the beautiful game beautiful is its place at the heart of our communities – the volunteers, the players, sharing in victory and defeat.

As a new book on the history of soccer in Ireland reveals, the beautiful game has a much richer and deeper history than many might realise. A history that brings to the fore the role of soccer in shaping many communities in urban and even rural Ireland since the late 1800s. David Toms’ new book, Soccer in Muster: A Social History, 1877-1937 published by Cork University Press tells story of soccer’s first sixty years in the province and reveals that soccer was a lot more than just the garrison game of popular imagination.

If you’ve ever wondered what the truth was behind the term garrison game, then this is the book for you. Toms argues convincingly through that soccer in Munster from its earliest days was about an awful lot more than just aping the local British soldiers. This book shows that schoolboys, Christian brothers, workmates, and sometimes just friends getting together were as important to developing the game at the grassroots level in Munster.

For the first time in one place you’ll be able to read about the varied history, the ups and downs experienced by those who played soccer in Ireland in its earliest years. All of these great sporting feats and occasions are told in a lively writing style that puts them all in a broader context of social change as Ireland moved from being a member of the British Empire to an independent state in the 1920s.

Bringing late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland to life can be a difficult thing to do and it can seem further and further away but Toms does this brilliantly with many great stories about not just soccer but popular entertainment at this time from our gambling habits and musical tastes.

It’s rare to read a history book about this period that doesn’t focus just on the usual big national questions  but gets to the heart of ordinary, everyday life with a topic that matters to millions of us. Social history can often appear dry and distant, but this book is engaging, entertaining and informative. With plenty of illustrations, it makes for a lively read and will appeal to soccer fans both young and old who want to learn more about the history of the game in Ireland.

Soccer in Munster: A Social History, 1877-1937 would make a great Father’s Day gift or a great Summer read. There is a special price available at the launch.