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Friday 6 December 2019

Elusive McNulty does his talking on football pitch

Fine Gael candidate John McNulty on the sidelines for his beloved Kilcar team, who defeated Glenswilly yesterday in the county championship. Photo: North West Newspix
Fine Gael candidate John McNulty on the sidelines for his beloved Kilcar team, who defeated Glenswilly yesterday in the county championship. Photo: North West Newspix

Greg Harkin

HE'S proved the most elusive election candidate ever, but John McNulty came out fighting yesterday - but only for his Gaelic football team.

The Co Donegal businessman is Number 2 on the management team of his local club Kilcar, working alongside ex-Donegal management member Rory Gallagher.

More than 3,000 supporters packed into the home ground of reigning county champions Glenswilly for a much-anticipated Donegal Senior Championship clash.

Everyone was there to see the football, with little concern for the mild-mannered John McNulty patrolling the sideline, sporting his personalised Kilcar training top and tracksuit bottoms, the initials 'J McN' stitched into the side.

Whatever John McNulty was thinking, he was keeping it to himself. At least, that was, until the final whistle.

Like all the Kilcar fans who had travelled to the north of the county for the game, his arms were aloft following the 0-09 to 0-06 victory.

And while there may have been heightened interest in the Kilcar Number 2, McNulty was saving all his attention for his team and refused to comment on a national political controversy with him at its centre.

"I'm not saying anything today, I'm with my team," he said after game before speed-walking away.

He mingled with his players for a few minutes but as he left the pitch, he sneaked in behind three of them and slipped away into the changing rooms.

"He's a lovely man," offered one happy Kilcar supporter as TV pundit Martin McHugh ran past on his way to congratulate his sons.

"We don't care about the Seanad; if he keeps winning like that with Kilcar we'd be very happy indeed."

Another supporter insisted: "He's coolness personified on the sideline. He keeps his emotions inside during the heat of battle and that was a great battle today.

"We could do with a few more like him in politics if you ask me but I don't think he's enjoying all this attention."

McNulty is not the only person caught up in the controversy who was keeping a low profile yesterday.

In Kerry, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys ignored the media and refused to answer questions from reporters about the nomination of John McNulty to the board of IMMA.

Ms Humphreys was attending the opening of the Europarc conference - a major conference of European national parks and wildlife representatives - at the Malton Hotel in Killarney after earlier attending a function to celebrate 50 years of Muckross House in the Killarney National Park.

However after arriving at the hotel, her media adviser approached local reporters to say the Minister would not be taking questions.

Senator Paul Coghlan also repeatedly advised the media that Ms Humphreys would not be answering any questions as the Government tried to put a lid on the controversy.

Approached with a microphone by a local radio reporter and a journalist for the national newspapers, Ms Humphreys did not respond and did not even acknowledge the journalists' presence.

Irish Independent

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