Book Review. Gaelic Spirit by Gerard Siggins

O’Brien Press €8.99

In this novel, which is I think the 7th Eoin Madden book (but my first!) Eoin returns to his first love, which is Gaelic sports. On summer holidays from his rugby school, Eoin joins the local GAA club and proves to be a valuable asset. Assets of another kind – liquid ones – are on Eoin’s mind and with the help of his grandfather and his friends he forms a little company of garden labourers and finds work fast. When the lawnmower goes missing, however, Eoin suspects the local gang of ne’er-do-wells, headed up by Rocky Ryan. Rocky’s father is a Garda and therefore Rocky, a real bad egg, feels he’s invincible. And he is, for a while…

Eoin sees ghosts. Although they’re friendly ghosts, they only appear when something bad is going to happen. A new ghost, Mick Hogan, who was killed in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday in 1920, and whom the Hogan Stand is named after, appears to Eoin. And as Eoin is intending to visit Croker for the national final, he’s a little perturbed. But he doesn’t let his worries get in the way of enjoying his summer, his time with his friends, playing with the local GAA team and some hard graft in neighbours’ gardens along the way. But on the day of the national final in Croke Park, there’s danger looming for Eoin. He knows something will happen, but what?  

This is a great book for any kid aged 9-12, and not just for the sports fans. The story is broad enough to include the importance of friendship and family, Eoin’s psychic tendencies, the solving of a mystery and the snaring of a juvenile delinquent, so kids who are into ballet or ponies or indeed anything at all would enjoy it as much as those who are into their sports. There’s some history snuck in there, too. Delightful.

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