A crowd of almost 600 people crammed into the Anner Hotel on Saturday evening last for the launch of ‘Rattler’ - the book commemorating the life and times of Tipperary hurling legend Mickey Byrne.
A fantastic night of hurling and humour, the atmosphere in the Anner Hotel was very special with the huge attendance by far surpassing the expected numbers – a fitting tribute to a man whose place in the annals of hurling history has been well and truly earned and deserved.
‘Rattler’ – penned by the retired Editor of The Tipperary Star Michael Dundon, and the Byrne family, is an entertaining commentary of the life and times of Mickey Byrne – father, grandfather, husband, brother, relative, hurler, character and legend. The wit and quick comment which characterises the man is evident right through the book and dedicated sections on the great Tipperary and Sarsfields teams are accompanied by a plethora of old photographs and newspaper cuttings which help bring the text to life for the reader.
RTE commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh, who launched the publication and who interviewed the Rattler on the night, described the book as “a very different sports book” as it addresses many of the social issues which pertained during Mickey’s times as a member of the Sarsfields and Tipperary teams.
He spoke about Mickey’s work ethic and how he toiled long and hard in order to provide for his children, while at the same time giving of himself wholly for the sake of the blue and gold, and the blue and white. He noted that Rattler’s first hurley was fashioned by his grandfather who worked for a local undertaker and was made from the lid of an old coffin – “I wonder was there something prophetic about that”, he joked.
Mickey’s entire family was present on the night including his children Paul, Ena, Martin, Michael, (Dixie) Chanel, Sean, Noel and their families.
Mickey’s brother Dinny attended and entertained the attendance later in the evening as he played the mouth organ, while his sisters Mai and Gertie were also there on the great family occasion which included his large circle of extended members also. His sister Nancy (Maher) was unable to attend but sent her good wishes. And, Mickey even sang and played himself much to the delight of the huge crowd who appreciated his humour and sense of fun all the way through. Dressed proudly wearing his Sarsfields tie, Rattler revelled in the banter and good humour which prevailed and was central to all aspects of the occasion.
Full report in this week’s Tipperary Star