Keith Earls biography with Tommy Conlon has been voted as the An Post Irish Sports Book of the Year for 2021.

The in-person awards ceremony had to be cancelled again this year but the full live show was broadcast last night by RTÉ online.

The shortlist included biographies of Dublin Footballer Shane Carthy, football commentator George Hamilton, Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony, Irish Rugby international Willie Anderson and GAA Manager Mickey Harte, but it was Fight or Flight, My Life, My Choices that emerged on top.

The awards attracted over 180,000 votes from the general public, making up half the decision, alongside an academy of 300 booksellers, publishers and librarians. The Sports Book awards was sponsored by Easons and Ireland AM.

We have yet to read the book but it is sitting on the shelf and all of the interviews that Earls has done as part of his publicity around it have made for electric watching, listening and reading.

The shaping of his young life in Moyross, his diagnosis with BiPolar syndrome, his struggles with literacy and his raw humanity make you want to be on his side and to cheer him on.

Rugby often has a stereotype among those from outside the sport of a sporting life that is all about fun and camaraderie, and a golden path then through education, employment and the ‘right places’ to forge your life beyond the playing pitch.

This is not that story.

In that, it makes it one of the more compelling and interesting life stories to emerge from a golden generation of Irish rugby stars.


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