This book looks at the development of sport in Donegal from 1880 until 1935. It is the first book to offer a full length examination of the rivalry between organisers of Gaelic football and soccer in an Irish county and is also the first to look at the geography of these sports. It assesses the reasons for the slow development of the GAA in Donegal and examines why Gaelic football did not become properly established until the 1920s, while also looking at the failure of hurling to develop despite Donegal's strong tradition of pre-codified forms of this sport.
Conor Curran also looks at the social background of players, organisers and supporters of the GAA, soccer and cricket within Donegal society and locates the study of sport in Donegal within the wider context of sports history and Irish social, economic, cultural and political history. In giving a detailed examination of the growth of soccer in the county and the impact of cultural links with Derry city and Scotland, the book assesses the influence of cultural boundaries on the development of sport. The role of sport within the Protestant community is also assessed and attempts to develop the 'minority' sports of cricket, hockey and rugby are examined. This book is based on three key themes. It shows how sport develops in a geographically peripheral area. It highlights the incompleteness of the Irish sporting 'revolution' and it illustrates that the development of the GAA in Donegal was a rather slow development and had less to do with political identity than has been presumed by a number of GAA historians and writers.