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Stephen O'Brien

Stephen O’Brien, a member of the Blarney GAA club, opens the interview by recalling his memories of attending a county final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the early 1990s, his family background in the GAA and his involvement in parish leagues. His engagement with Gaelic games at the Cork Institute of Technology is recalled, as is his experience of supporting Cork county teams since his teenage years, from 1999 onwards. O’Brien’s interest in the fortunes of the Cork county hurlers and footballers is surpassed, perhaps, by his enthusiasm for the Cork club scene and he talks about attending games of rival clubs who are scheduled to meet Blarney in various competitions. He discusses the ‘heartbreak’ of the club’s experiences in the early to mid 2000s and the excitement and pride that accompanied its Cork Intermediate hurling championship win 2008 and its subsequent All-Ireland Intermediate hurling victory in Croke Park in February 2009. Indeed, the events surrounding that final – together with the interviewee’s role in them - are addressed in detail. The interview concludes with the interviewees responding to a series o questions covering such themes as the role of women and media in the GAA, the Irish language, future challenges, emigration, volunteerism and ‘pay for play’. At the very end, he offers a rendition ‘The Blarney Rose’, the club anthem he has song in Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Croke Park after memorable club victories.

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