Kerry’s Paul Galvin happily engaged on and off the pitch

Experimentation in league could reap rewards for Kingdom this summer

Kerry’s Paul Galvin reacts to a missed opportunity against Tipperary last weekend. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Kerry’s Paul Galvin reacts to a missed opportunity against Tipperary last weekend. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

Paul Galvin had no trouble tracing the source of his headache when he awoke on Monday morning. A thumping tackle on Tipperary corner back John Coghlan the previous day during Kerry’s facile Munster Senior football quarter-final victory provided the genesis of his discomfort.

His clarity in recalling the incident wasn’t compromised in being knocked out for a second or two by his own reckoning but it was rendered more painful initially when referee Conor Lane brandished a yellow card.

Speaking at the launch of a SuperValu GAA club bursary in Croke Park, the Finuge native recalled: “Yeah I do remember getting it alright. I was surprised. I thought I timed it bang on. I think he’s a good ref, I rate him as a ref but he may have been unsighted.

“It was high impact, quite fast and I think the crowd’s reaction, apparently there was a big noise off it; that may have thrown him a little bit.”

Continuing career
The 33-year-old, in his 10th season in the Kerry senior colours, retains both the appetite and physical conditioning to enjoy his football. The appointment of his good friend and brother-in-law Eamonn Fitzmaurice to manage the county side this season was a catalyst to continue his inter-county career.

“I was thrashing it around. When Eamonn got the nod, there was no decision to make. It was probably a factor.”

Fitzmaurice experimented with personnel and patterns during the league. It was fraught at times and ultimately rescued by the belated introduction of experienced campaigners. Kerry have demonstrated a reluctance to change approach in the past but there is a realisation that to be competitive in current climate requires flexibility and innovation.

Galvin explained: “I think it happens in Kerry a bit, where you kind of want to play it the way you traditionally play. You lean towards that. It might be successful for a while and then you get blown out of the water and you have to rethink the whole thing again.

“It has kind of been a pattern for Kerry in the past while and I think it’s time maybe for us maybe to possibly innovate a little bit and try and be the team that everyone is trying to catch again. If we are to be successful we will have to come up with something.

Tough it out
“Early in the league Eamonn was mindful of that and it probably showed a bit in performances. It was experimental but I think it needed to be. It was a case of just toughening it out early on, seeing how the cards fell and hoping you would be okay later in the league to keep your status. We’ll see how the summer goes.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year so far. A lot has been made of the gap between the games but I didn’t even feel it myself.

“We’re being challenged a little bit more in training now to play certain ways and I found it very enjoyable. That gap of seven weeks, where normally it would have taken it out of me a little bit, I haven’t really felt so much this year.”

Kerry face Waterford on Saturday. The six-day turnaround is an irrelevancy, while the outcome is not up for debate. Galvin wouldn’t be so impolite. Kerry are seeking consistency of performance on any given Sunday or Saturday. Attitude is important.

“Absolutely. It was the key on Sunday and it will be the key again on Saturday. Attitude is a big word but you have to break it down and I think it means something different to each individual player. We will be working on the stuff we have been given to do and that all comes under the attitude remit. If you get that right you can make those games a little bit more straightforward.”

On a personal level, given he accepts that giving up his teaching career three years ago to concentrate on his website full-time that explores an interest in fashion, music and sport – next month he’s launching a hair care line with an American company – has allowed him more scope to manage his time in relation to football.

“Opportunities were arising and I just said I’d go it alone and see where I get to. I found teaching, you know, the routine of it; like I wouldn’t be great with routine. The conventional side of it, I found it difficult. With teaching it’s 40 minutes here, 40 minutes there; chapter by chapter.

“Eventually it was just like, you know, I had more interests and I just wanted to express them a little bit more. I have the freedom to prepare and I do prepare well. I mind my body very well and what I’m doing allows me to do that, certainly.

“Physically I could go on for a few years; [it] wouldn’t be the issue. Careerwise I’d have to weigh things up. I probably put an awful lot of stuff on hold for football that I have started to tap into a little bit, the website and the advertising deal. There’s lots of other stuff in that field that I would like to develop.

“For three years I have been balancing my life in terms of making a little bit of a living but mindful of my responsibilities to Kerry. Not bringing too much of that baggage . . . to bear in the Kerry football set-up. So for me it’ll be a case of weighing up different things rather than how I am physically.”

It will be an interesting summer.