Meet the GAA power couples
There was a lot to love about Dublin’s victory in the Ladies’ All-Ireland football final on Sunday, but two moments in particular warmed our hearts: Paul Flynn congratulating fiancée Fiona Hudson, and Dean Rock congratulating girlfriend Niamh McEvoy.
There is something romantic about two athletes working towards a common goal, just as there is something captivating about the GAA players who have paired off with equally ambitious partners.
Here we look at five of the GAA’s most glamorous power couples and ask if it takes two to make the dream come true.
Paul Flynn and Fiona Hudson
The Golden Couple
With an incredible six All-Ireland wins between them, it would be fair to call Dublin footballers Paul Flynn and Fiona Hudson the prom king and queen of the GAA power-couple list — a modern-day Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, if you will.
It helps, of course, that they are as picture-perfect as Ken and
Barbie, with pearly whites sparkling like a trophy cabinet, and tans that never seem to fade. There was probably a bidding war among sports sponsorship agents when the photograph of Flynn congratulating his fiancée after the game on Sunday went viral, yet one wonders if this pair would prefer to think of themselves as GAA role models rather than social media stars. After all, it’s not what the sport can do for you, but what you can do for the sport…
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “There is no ‘I’ in team.”
LEAST LIKELY TO SAY: “Will we just order a pizza and watch Game of Thrones on the couch?”
DATE NIGHT: Nando’s, followed by 30 laps of Dundrum Town Centre to walk it off.
LEVERAGING THE BRAND: The Paul Flynn and Fiona Hudson GAA Academy is just waiting to happen.
Paul Galvin and Louise Duffy
Most women spend the first few months of a relationship gently trying to steer their beloved towards more appropriate footwear choices. Today FM presenter Louise Duffy had no such trouble when she fell for Kerry footballer Paul Galvin in 2011. He isn’t known as Galvin Klein for nothing…
Galvin, as we all know by now, is a dedicated follower of fashion, who even has his own label for Dunnes Stores. Duffy, meanwhile, has followed in his footsteps by showcasing her increasingly outré style — and impossibly long legs — on Instagram. The husband and wife, it should be noted, have a combined following of 70k on the photo-sharing site, which means they’re sitting pretty for lucrative sponsorship deals or, at the very least, a lot of free stuff.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Oh my God, have you seen the Alexander Wang Genesis shopper?! Push it out on all platforms.”
LEAST LIKELY TO SAY: “Have you seen my Crocs, babe?”
LEVERAGING THE BRAND: How long before this dynamic duo collaborate on a Lennon Courtney-esque unisex fashion label?
DATE NIGHT: A hand-in-hand stroll through the Brown Thomas Shoe Rooms.
Bernard Brogan and Keira Doyle
The Scene Stealers
With 100k Twitter followers, dozens of sponsorship deals and matinée-idol good looks, Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan knows — more than most sportspeople — how to build an enduring brand. His secret weapon, however, is his PR executive wife, Keira Doyle — a woman who has carved a career out of building brand awareness, and holding an audience’s attention.
Off the pitch, Brogan is the director of Legacy Consult, a firm that provides sponsorship consultancy in the sports and entertainment industries. He also knows that brands have to constantly reinvent themselves, hence his recent fashion collaboration with Littlewoods Ireland. These two are the Jay-Z and Beyoncé of the GAA power-couple list, and it would seem that they are only getting warmed up.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “My last tweet got 450 likes!”
LEAST LIKELY TO SAY: “Let’s do a digital detox.”
DATE NIGHT: Brainstorming business ideas over crème brûlée (two spoons).
LEVERAGING THE BRAND: Brogan said he wouldn’t entirely rule out Dancing with the Stars, but it looks more likely that a TV career as a sports commentator is within his grasp.
PHILLY McMAHON AND SARAH LACEY
At first glance, Philly McMahon and Sarah Lacey look like one of those gorgeous Instagram glamour couples who post pictures of their breakfast to the social media site. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll notice that there is a lot more than meets the eye.
Sure, they are regulars on the Dublin social scene, but they are also passionate about using their power-couple status to effect social change. Next month will see the launch of McMahon’s autobiography, The Choice, which tells the story of his relationship with his brother, John, who he lost to heroin in 2012. As for sports stars who aspire to own two homes abroad? Philly and Sarah, who works in PR, would be delighted if they could find a house in his hometown of Ballymun.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Can you talk to my agent?”
LEAST LIKELY TO SAY: “Will we just stay in?”
DATE NIGHT: A gig followed by a few in the local.
LEVERAGING THE BRAND: McMahon runs a home delivery service called FitFood, but it looks like he’s about to become better known for his soon-to-be released book. And with PR guru Sarah by his side, he’ll be on every talk show in town.
BRYAN CULLEN AND AILÍS McSWEENEY
Some athletes make the mistake of investing all of their energy into their sport without thinking about what happens when they reach retirement age. Bryan Cullen — the Dublin footballer who famously invited us all to see him in Coppers — and sprinting-star wife Ailís McSweeney took a different tack. After retiring from professional sports, McSweeney went on to work as a solicitor at A&L Goodbody and is now a director at PepTalk Wellbeing.
Her husband, meanwhile, became the strength and conditioning coach for Leinster Rugby, while completing his PhD in exercise physiology at Dublin City University. These days he’s the high-performance manager at Dublin GAA. This high-achieving power couple may be proud owners of the Coppers Gold Card, but they have always been of the ‘work hard, play hard’ mindset.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”
LEAST LIKELY TO SAY: “Maybe we should take a sabbatical?”
DATE NIGHT: Somewhere with fast WiFi and strong coffee.
LEVERAGING THE BRAND: It’s only a matter of time before this husband-and-wife team have a dozen corporate board seats between them.