Belfast Telegraph

He's gone, but it's not the last we'll see of Paul Galvin

By Declan Bogue

He's not to everyone's taste. An element of Paul Galvin's exhibitionist streak will always be a turn-off for quite a few people.

For example; that off-colour documentary 'Galvinised', where he fostered a sense of victimhood, telling the programme makers that he would never read newspapers, before flicking through a bale of them to see what was said about him.

The fact he claimed he did not watch the Sunday Game, instead viewing 'The Hills' on MTV – a shallow vehicle for vacuous celebrity culture. Yet he coined the phrase 'CSI: Sunday Game.'

Putting his finger in the mouth of Eoin Cadogan. His withering put-down of Anthony Tohill, who dared have the nerve to talk about it. Slapping the notebook out of Paddy Russell's hands.

No, the charge sheet is pretty substantial. And at the time, he always managed to summon up the cognitive dissonance to make peace with himself.

If ever there was the embodiment of the relationship that Kerry had with the outside world in the last decade, it was wrapped up in the Paul Galvin enigma.

Here was old money trying to get to grips with a new world order when first Armagh, then Tyrone came down to Croke Park and wouldn't gracefully accept heavy defeats. Some men rose to that and became dogs of war. Galvin was precisely the combative scrappy player that Jack O'Connor needed for Gaelic football in the 21st century.

As much as he admired Peter Canavan and struck up a relationship with him as a young lad, Canavan's team-mates would recognise Galvin as someone to be quelled.

Ricey shared a moment with him in Healy Park that belonged to the Vinnie Jones school of intimidation. When he faced Cookstown in an All-Ireland club Intermediate final, unseemly behaviour went on.

Owen Mulligan needlessly got involved and brought more attention to it but throughout, it became apparent that Galvin had matured by 2011.

A lot was made of the fact that he cried after Kerry beat Tyrone in Killarney in the 2012 All-Ireland qualifier.

In this job, you are meant to be hardened and entirely impartial, but sometimes empathy punctures the soul. Galvin had raged against Tyrone as a team that had routinely broken his heart for nine seasons.

And to be honest, it wasn't that they were always gracious winners either.

To see an inter-county player expressing that level of feeling was powerful, raw, intense.

For now, Paul Galvin is finished with football. His next step could be unpredictable.

He says that football management is not on the agenda, but Galvin is a competitor. He won't stoke the same fires in his heart by fronting a TV3 fashion series, that's for sure.

Wherever he goes, it will be colourful.

Belfast Telegraph


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