1:     September '95

Reels :     Sporting Nell   /  The Maid I ne'er forgot      2:37

"In Clare we love our traditional music, but we also love our hurling."  Anthony Daly's speech on that historic day in September 1995 lifted the hearts of musicians and hurlers alike.  

2:    Saffron and Blue

Jigs:        The South West Wind  /  Garret Barry's        2:39

Clare's traditional colours, worn in victory and defeat by generations of Clare Hurlers and Footballers.  Our arrival on the All-Ireland stage in the 1990s brought unprecedented colour and atmosphere to Croke Park.


3:    The Mould Breakers

Air / Hornpipe    Rahilly's Grave  /  An Caisléan Óir    4:48

The second tune here, a lovely hornpipe composed by the late Junior Crehan from the Football stronghold of West Clare, reminds us that it was the Clare Footballers who first made the breakthrough with their historic Munster Final win in 1992.  The hornpipe is played by kind permission of the Crehan Family.  

4:    Clare 250:

Reels:        Stone in the Field  /  Martin Wood's Reel     2:41

The object of this CD is to generate funds for the Clare 250 Cancer Centre.  It is entirely appropriate that John Dunne, the spearhead of this project, is himself a former Éire Óg and Clare Hurler and a singer, who toured with a number of Céilí Bands in the 1960s.  

5:    The Influences:   

Jigs:        The goat in the Green  /  Bobby Casey's    2:34

Joe Ryan from Inagh and the late Paddy Murphy of Kilmaley were long time friends of  my late father, so I had the beneift of the best of musical guidance from an early age.   Joe's other great interest is Clare Hurling....talking Hurling gives him as much pleasure as playing music.   PAddy Canny's haunting fiddle playing has always been a strong influence upon me.  Indeed, many of the tunes on this album are ones I was drawn to by Paddy's unique way of playing them.   And of course the late, great Paddy O'Brien of Newtown, Tipperary.  I had the good fortune of visiting him on a number of occasions in the 1970s.  I got invaluable help from this, the most modest of men; every visit to that friendly hospitable house gave me a deeper insight into the music, accordeon playing and.....Tipperary Hurling!

6:    Against the Wind

Set Dance  :    The Mount Phoebus Hunt                2:33

In 1996, Ollie Byrnes did Clare Hurling a remarkable service by compiling a comprehensive  history of Hurling in Clare.  Mercier Press tells us : "Against the Wind is an authentic, riveting and lively account of of a sporting tradition as rich as Clare's musical heritage. "  Ollie is also a music reviewer for several publications, which is hardly surprising, since the home of Ollie's parents, Bridie and the late Martin, housed many a good session of music in days gone by. 

7: Earliest Memories

Reels:       Tommy Coen's  /  Mother's Delight    2:42

Most of my earliest memories are about someone in the family either playing music or hurling:  my grandfather John playing his favourite tune on the concertina - I discovered years later that it was Rakish Paddy; my father Brudsie hurling with the Faughs in Cusak Park; uncles Billy and PJ Murphy with the Brass Band as they practised marching and playing on a quiet road outside town; another uncle, Vincent, parading around town with the rest of the victorious Rovers team.  PJ and Anthony, youngest of the Murphy family, were lifelong traditional musicians and an influence until their untilely deaths. 

8:    The Man from Ruan

Jigs:    Down the Bac kLane  /  Scully Casey's    2:37

Jimmy Smyth, one of Clare's and Ireland's greatest ever hurlers; lover of traditional music and song; singer, songwriter and authority on songs, poems &  recitations of galeic games in Munster.  A recent publication is Ballads of the Banner - a remarkable collection of songs and poems of gaelic games in Clare.  Laoch deb chéad scoth.

9: In Memoriam:

Air:    Bánchnoic Éireann  Ó    3:27

"Beyond this place of toil and tears, beyond this plain

of woe, there is a bourne in paradis, where all the hurlers go,

And there in their prime they're goaling, and race across

the sod, and thrill our dead forefathers, on the level

lawns of God"

Brian McMAhon

10:    The Young Bloods:

Reels:    The Cup of Tea  / The Clogher Reel        3:50

Conor McCarthy / Anneamarie McCormack

Every team need an injection of young blood to provide new energy and enthusiasm.  Conor and Annemarie have these in abundance.

11:    An Leaid Óg:

Jigs:    The First Trout  /  Trip to Sligo    3:14

The first tune in this set is a lovely three part jig composed by Conor McCarthy.  I think it is safe to say that without Conor's promptings, guidance and rassurance, this album would never see the light of day.  The second tune is an old Paddy Canny favourite.

12:    An Buachaill:    3:23

Air:    An Buachaill Caol Dubh

I got this air from Niall Behan, an outstanding producer of Scoraíocht and Séisiún Ceoil and a fountain of knowledge on the big songs of Munster.  Thsi unusual setting of An Buachaill Caol Dubh is one of two airs on this album that i got from Niall - the other is An Goirtín Eornan.  It appears that An Buachaill Caol Dubh was also a hurler:

"Agus deir gach aon fhear -'seo

 chugainn a 'réice,  Beidh baire laochais anseo go fóill'

Nuair is chucu léimeann an Buachaill Caol Dubh

Is a chamanán gleasta ina ghlac chun spóirt"

13:    The Blend:    3:55

Reels:    The Killarney Boys of Pleasure / Egans / Mary of The Grove

People who know hurling tell us you can't have a succesful team without a good blend of youth and experience.  Here, Annemarie provides the youth, while Mike Fitzgerald, Terry Moorehead and myself row in with the experience. 

14:    The Sponsors    2:12

Air:     An Goirtín Eornan

The sponsors in modern day hurling play a very big role in funding the running of Club and County Teams.    The sponsors of this album play an equally important role in ensuring that the maximum funding goes to the cancer centre.    Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

15:    Final Whistle    3:39

Reels:    Binch of Keys  /  Eileen Currans

There could be no more fitting way to end this musical hurming game than the following quotation from the pen of Jimmy Smyth.: "Hurling is special, the body and soul of a people, survivng to speak of a oast that is noble, distinctive and proud, with a game that is surely unique."I know that jimmy would agree that these sentiments, so well expressed, could equally be applied to our traditional music and song.