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Kerry GAA legend Paul Galvin really is a good guy

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Paul Galvin
Turns out we all got Paul Galvin wrong all those years ago. We may even owe the great Kerry footballer an apology for ever questioning his integrity on the football field.

Now there’s a statement that will make his aunt down in Cork fall off her chair before she pens another letter to the Irish Voice!

In the past, as his aunt will tell you, I have been critical of Galvin to say the very least. I didn’t like it when he slapped the notebook out of a referee’s hand back in 2008, and I don’t like the way he courts controversy.

The fact he is into fashion and likes to talk and write about it is his own business and I’ve no issue with that. If he wants to go shopping for clothes to relax before big games, good luck to him.

It’s a free world in this part of the globe, and Paul Galvin can do what he wants when he is off the pitch and away from the Kerry jersey.

Last Saturday, he was back in the Kerry jersey and with a vengeance.

Galvin had his best game for the Kingdom in many years as they finally tasted victory against Mickey Harte’s Tyrone, a win that turned out to be an emotional one for Galvin personally.

Thanks to my old mate Liam Hayes, Galvin was named as man of the match by the television company TV3 as part of their coverage of the big game in Killarney.

As a result, he got to speak to the cameras in the immediate aftermath of the match with a Tyrone jersey still wet with sweat aboard his torso after the traditional shirt swapping so beloved of modern day footballers.

The interview was quite something, the furthest thing possible from the hard-man image that has followed Galvin around for so many years now.

On Saturday night, in the living rooms of Ireland, Galvin was teary-eyed. He was emotional. He was brittle and fragile. And he was likeable as he bared his soul to the world.

His words told a tale or two after a win that clearly meant a lot to a Kerry team that has been questioned in every corner in the recent past.

“We were put to the pin of our collars, but a lot of the talk during the week writing this team off served only to fuel great men in that dressingroom,” said Galvin.

“That hurt us, of course it did. We have been carrying a lot of hurt for the last eight or 10 years. I’m just very proud of this Kerry performance. It means a lot because of the pressure we put on ourselves. We are Kerry at the end of the day.

“There’s been a lot written about this team and I think a lot of it’s being disrespectful. I think the great men in that dressing room stood up and were strong. I’m very proud of that.”

Those words only tell you half the story. If you can, watch the interview on www.tv3.ie and you will see a very different Galvin.

You will probably like the guy in this interview. You will definitely feel for him -- you might even feel sorry for him. Now that’s some turnaround.

(Cathal Dervan is sports editor of the Irish Sun newspaper in Dublin)

Trap on Borrowed Time
THE new soccer season is almost upon us.  Glasgow Celtic will start their ceremonial march to another league title next week believe it or not.

The international season is also just around the corner, which explains why Giovanni Trapattoni was in Donegal last weekend.

Attending the FAI’s annual meeting in Letterkenny, when chief John Delaney took another pay cut, Trap used the occasion to unveil his squad for the friendly with Serbia on August 15.

It was the first time Trap had set foot in Ireland since the European Championship debacle, the first time he had named a squad since the flop in Poland.

So did he do anything to address what went wrong at Euro 2012? Did he accept any blame for Ireland’s sterility on their return to the big stage? Did he axe those players who let their country down last month?

Did he hell.

All Trapattoni did on Friday was announce that senior players like Given, Dunne, Keane and Duff will be rested for the friendly match in Belgrade, but they should all be back for the first World Cup qualifier in September.

In their place he turned to younger old reliables, if you know what I mean. Hence Andy Keogh, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy et al will get another chance to show us what they can’t do on the international stage.

There’s no Wes Hoolahan and no sense of adventure in the first squad post the Euros. No Anthony Pilkington. No Anthony Stokes. Not even a Stephen Ireland.

More than that, there was nothing in anything Trap said or did in Donegal last week to suggest we will even qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

This, folks, is a manager living on borrowed time. The squad to play Serbia just proves it.

Sideline Views
GAA: The GAA authorities are trying very hard to play down reports that an Eoghan O’Gara point was awarded after the big screen at Croke Park had shown the Dublin forward’s effort going over the bar in Sunday’s win over Meath. Referee Martin Duffy took his lead from the umpire who told him it was wide before linesman Maurice Deegan corrected both men and told Duffy it was a legitimate point – after the crowd had witnessed the replay on the giant TV screens around the ground.
At a time when calls for video technology are frequent, the GAA are doing their best to say Deegan was acting on what he saw with his own two eyes and not what the camera relayed. I wonder?

SOCCER: It’s that time of year again when footballers in England lose all run of their senses and their own worth. The latest example is the Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie, whose contract expires less than a year from now. With interest in his services from Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, Van Persie knows he can drive a hard bargain with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger or the club can lose him on a free transfer next summer. That may explain his demands for a weekly wage worth $400,000 before tax – yes, that is $400,000 a week you read. He is worth it? His poor return for Holland at the European Championship would suggest no.

GAA: Dublin only won the Leinster final by three points against Meath on Sunday, but the truth is they were far better than the scoreline suggests. Meath were naive, gifted their opponents two goal chances which they took before the break and paid the lesson for their innocence. They will learn from the experience of losing on Sunday, but Dublin will learn far more from the way Meath came back at them in the closing 15 minutes. That’s why I still reckon Dublin will win the All-Ireland this September.

OLYMPICS: Interesting story from the Irish gymnast Kieran Behan, who had to skip training in London the other day before the bus driver got lost between the Olympic village and the training venue for his sport. Turned out the Irish youngster knew his way around London better than the official driver appointed by the Olympic organizers. It’s not the first time it’s happened this week. And it won’t be the last before the games are over.

HERO OF THE WEEK
AGE is no barrier when it comes to sporting success as Ernie Els proved with his win out of nowhere in the British Open at Lytham on Sunday. More impressive than his victory, helped by Adam Scott’s incredible fall from grace atop the leaderboard, was Els’ humble speech afterwards and his support for his fellow South African Nelson Mandela. Like Mandela, 94 last week, Els has done much to unite South Africa. He deserves his return to the spotlight.

IDIOT OF THE WEEK
IT is very hard to be critical of Mickey Harte these days, but the Tyrone manager really does owe an apology to Meath referee David Coldrick and those of us with any intelligence who watched his team lose to Kerry last Saturday. Harte was incensed in his post-match interview that Coldrick sent substitute Brian McGuigan off for his altercation with Declan O’Sullivan just two minutes after he entered the fray. Truth is, McGuigan fully deserved the red card for his actions in a match full of cynical negativity, much of it from Tyrone. If Mickey watches the video replay with his eyes wide open then he will have to admit as much. Then he can apologize to the referee.

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