Gill & Macmillan, £17.99
In describing The Irish Times Sporting Year 2001, one might reword Eamon Dunphy's infamous catchphrase and say it's a good book but not a great book. Admittedly, you are unlikely to find a book of record much better than this and it would make an ideal Christmas stocking-filler for the sports fan in your life, but The Irish Times Sporting Year 2001 is not all it claims to be.
The whole spectrum of national and international sport is covered in its 244 pages with the sporting highlights of each month listed by date alongside a collection of results from selected sports including Formula 1, horseracing, GAA and the World Athletics Championships in Edmonton to name but a few. Some of the major sporting events to feature include Galileo winning the Irish Derby, Tipperary's hurling and camogie All-Ireland double, the Lions tour of Australia and Celtic's memorable Scottish treble.
A selection of quotes from throughout the year brings to life the people behind such sporting events but what really makes this book unique is the stunning photographs from the Irish Times' own photographers and the collection of articles and interviews written by the newspaper's top sports writers such as Tom Humphries, Dermot Gilleece, Sean Moran and Mary Hannigan over the past year.
So far so good and you're probably wondering what it is that is wrong with this book? The time-frame it covers runs only from January to the end of September therefore missing out on Ireland's momentous Six Nations victory over England at Lansdowne Road, Dubliner Padraig Harrington finally winning a European Tour event after finishing second in seven tournaments that year, and most significantly, the Republic of Ireland's World Cup play-off with Iran that saw them qualify for next summer's World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.
Although this is the only flaw in what is otherwise an excellent book, it is a major failing nonetheless and one that could cause some upset come Christmas morning, so be warned!