Tuesday 24 October 2017

Noel on song as he takes on Roy Keane, 'crazy' hurling... and Westlife

Noel Gallagher in Croke Park
Noel Gallagher in Croke Park

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

HE described hurling as "gangwar with sticks" and dismissed Westlife calling it a day as "hardly The Beatles breaking up".

But, strangely, lifelong Manchester City fan Noel Gallagher was full of praise for former Manchester United legend Roy Keane yesterday, describing him as "one of the best five players the Premier League ever had".

The 45-year-old was speaking at Croke Park yesterday, ahead of his gig supporting the Red Hot Chili Peppers last night, and revealed plans for a joint headliner with Kasabian in Marlay Park on August 23.

It's not often you hear disparaging comments about Gaelic sports at a press conference in GAA headquarters but there was no stopping former Gaelic schoolboy footballer Noel.

Revealing that his elder brother Paul still followed the Mayo team, Mr Gallagher said: "I've seen a few matches here over the years.

"It's a great game and quite exciting but hurling ? F*** that. That's like gang war with sticks. I'm not too sure about that. Any sport where you have to wear a helmet is wrong," he said.

The former Oasis guitarist was returning to Croke Park for the first time in nearly 30 years after scoring on the hallowed pitch in 1983 as part of a visiting Manchester side Oisin's.

"It's all done up now. I'm not sure there was even seats. I scored a point but I can't remember at which end," he said, recalling the match against local side, Kilmacud Crokes.

The future rock 'n' roll star had stayed with the family of one of the players from Kilmacud on that visit in April 1983 and was reminded of that weekend in the capital when he met an Irish fan while on tour in Australia in January this year.

"I was out shopping in Melbourne when I bumped into this Irish guy about the same age. He asked me had I been in Dublin on a particular date," he said.

"I said 'Yes I had. He told me his Mam and Dad in Dublin had a picture of me when I must have stayed in their house. They had often wondered over the years if it was me, the same Noel Gallagher . . . apparently I used to eat a lot of Weetabix," he said.

Describing how he hung up his GAA boots and started a rock band, he joked: "I had gone as far as I could. It was decided, that I would be better off in the music business. I enjoyed it at the time.

"I was still at school, then quickly after school, the smoking and drinking take over. Playing football goes out the window. Anyway I'm not an athlete, too much hard graft goes into that," he said.

Despite being a fanatical fan of Manchester City, he went on to reveal how he rates Keane of rivals Manchester United as one of his favourite all time players.

"He is easily one of the top five players that the Premier League has ever had. I thought he was a great player for United. If only England had Roy Keane now, they would win games. He was the one player who could take a game by the scruff of the neck and bully his teammates from three goals down to win. He was immense," said Gallagher.

Asked about the Corkman's comments on Irish fans singing as their side was losing, he added: " Roy is pure comedy. He should take over the Ireland job if he thinks he can do it better than anyone else.

"I've never met him but he probably hates me like everybody else," he said.

The star claimed to be unaware Westlife ended their 14-year career with farewell gigs in Croke Park last Saturday night.

"Westlife, have they been killed? What, they've split up ? Well, it's hardly The Beatles breaking up? They've split up, good, brilliant -- there'll be a party tonight so," he joked.

Tickets for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Kasabian co-headliner in Marlay Park go on sale this Friday at 9am and are priced at €49.50.

Irish Independent

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