Croke Park emotions – the stories behind Sportsfile’s Season of Sundays 2016

September 19, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Mayo’s Andy Moran and his daugher Charlotte; Dublin’s Denis Bastick and his son Aidan.

Source: Sportsfile

TWO DECADES ON and ‘A Season Of Sundays’ remains the perfect production for anyone looking to reflect on the GAA year that was.

For the 20th year, the Sportsfile team have released their collection of images chronicling the story of the GAA season with the drama of 2016 accurately captured.


“I think A Season Of Sundays stands the test of time,” says Sportsfile photographer Brendan Moran.

“It’s a huge historical archive for the GAA that’s been built up over the last 20 years. Often the photos can take on a bigger relevance as the years go by.

“On the day of a game we’ve a lot of photos to file but the book every years allows time for reflection in the weeks after a match.

“The layout can work very well like this year with the photo I did of Denis Bastick and his son which works well with Dave Maher’s one on the page opposite of Andy Moran and his daughter.”

We caught up with some of the Sportsfile photographers for their memories of epic images from the 2016 season.

1. Andy Moran and his daughter Charlotte – Croke Park – 1 October

“After any All-Ireland final there is always massive dejection. As Dublin celebrated, Mayo players looked on. I saw Andy Moran with his daughter and quickly knew this was a very close family moment.

Source: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

“There’s a realisation there that family is everything and though losing an All-Ireland was devastating, he seemed to gain great support with her so close to him after the final whistle.

“What I like I guess is the young child is totally oblivious to the surroundings and maybe in years to come, can enjoy the picture.”

– Dave Maher


2. Denis Bastick and his son Aidan – Croke Park – 1 October

“I was at the tunnel about 45 minutes after the match, all the other photographers had gone to start filing and I saw Denis Bastick had walked out to the middle of the pitch. I didn’t want to intrude so I took the picture of him and his son Aidan from the tunnel.

“What I like about it is that you can see the GAA sign and you know it’s the Cusack Stand, the streamers are there indicating it’s an All-Ireland final and you have a champion who is very emotional, which isn’t a picture you often see.

Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

“It’s a personal moment for Denis, going back out on to the pitch after an All-Ireland final. Players often talk about how the immediate aftermath of a final on the pitch or in the dressing room is the most meaningful time for them, that seems the case here.

“For his son Aidan, it’s going to be a brilliant picture to see when he grows up and to know that he shared in such a big moment in his dad’s sporting life.”

– Brendan Moran


3. Laochra Allianz Football League Finals – Croke Park – 24 April 

“The week leading up to the Allianz National League Final & Laochra I had been thinking about how I could best show the scale of the event and came up with the idea of taking a photograph from the rooftop of the stadium.

“I was in the stadium eight hours before the start of the Laochra to install a remote camera onto the roof which would capture the image I had in my head.

Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

“I could trigger it then from pitchside when the streamers fell from the roof and the crowd held up the tricolour.

“The colours in the crowd and on the pitch make it a really unique picture that will hopefully be viewed for years to come when people look back on the day.”

– Ramsey Cardy


4. Cillian O’Connor’s free – Croke Park – 1 October

‘Hitting a free in the last minute of an All-Ireland Final is something that Cillian O’Connor, along with every other GAA player in the country would have visualised hundreds of times.

“From my vantage point in the Upper Hogan Stand, I have been fortunate to see this scenario unfold in front of me on a number of occasions over the past few years; Stephen Cluxton in 2011, Joe Canning in 2012, and John O’Dwyer in 2014. Your whole season, career and life could be remembered by what you do next.

Source: Dáire Brennan/SPORTSFILE

“Where O’Connor kicked it from was a similar position to the famous free by Peter Canavan in the 2005 semi-final, but this time the free went wide.

“One minute later I was frantically panning the pitch for jubilant Dublin players celebrating at the final whistle, but who knows what would have happened, if O’Connor’s free was on target.

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“The All-Ireland finals are the biggest days of the year for sports photographers. Over the course of the day, I took 2,822 pictures, and sent 58 out to the newspapers. I was delighted when the picture was chosen for the book as one of the pictures that sums up the day and occasion.’

– Daire Brennan


Here’s some more of the best images from the 2016 edition of ‘A Season Of Sundays’ and you can find details here on how to get your hands on a copy.

Croke Park emotions – the stories behind Sportsfile’s Season of Sundays 2016
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  • Pearse Stadium, Salthill – 14 February
    Young Galway supporters before their hurling league encounter with Cork.Source: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
  • O’Moore Park, Portlaoise – 28 February
    Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh and Laois captain Donie Kingston listen to referee Padraig O’Sullivan.Source: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
  • St Tiernach’s Park, Clones – 27 March
    Colm Cooper cuts a lonely figure on a wet day in Monaghan.Source: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
  • Croke Park – 10 April
    Goalkeeper Brian Kelly takes no chances and punches the ball clear with Shane Enright (Kerry) and Diarmuid Murtagh (Roscommon) nearby.Source: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
  • Semple Stadium, Thurles – 22 May
    Hurley up by Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan in the Munster championship rain.Source: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
  • Celtic Park, Derry – 22 May
    Two-year-old Michael Harte, grandson of Tyrone manager Mickey, nails his colours to the mast.Source: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
  • Croke Park – 6 August
    Aidan O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor after Mayo go back on track with a win over Tyrone.Source: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
  • Croke Park – 4 September
    Glory at last as Padraic Maher claims his second All-Ireland senior hurling medal with Tipperary.Source: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
  • Croke Park – 1 October
    Arms aloft from a Mayo supporter during the parade before the All-Ireland final replay.Source: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
  • Croke Park – 1 October
    Another Sam Maguire triumph for Ciaran Kilkenny and Brian Fenton.Source: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

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