Sunday 22 September 2019

Paul Galvin: 'I don't think I've changed massively since becoming a dad'

Footballer-turned-fashionista Paul Galvin talks to Deirdre Reynolds about being a father, supporting his beloved Kerry and his latest clothing collection

GAA Star Paul Galvin and Louise Duffy at the Original Penguin AW Collection preview
GAA Star Paul Galvin and Louise Duffy at the Original Penguin AW Collection preview
Paul Galvin and Louise Duffy
Louise Duffy and Paul Galvin at the Irish Fashion Industry Awards of the 8th Kerry Fashion Week in the Europe Hotel & Spa. Photo: Pawel Nowak.
Paul Galvin is the new Wexford manager
Louise Duffy and husband Paul Galvin. Picture: Instagram
Paul Galvin Fashion with his wife Louise Duffy .Picture: Dominick Walsh

Deirdre Reynolds

For almost two decades, he was best known as The Galvinator, annihilating the opposition and hoovering up hardware for the Kingdom.

Today, asked his profession, Paul Galvin pauses, then says he's a father first, fashion designer second and footballer last.

GAA legend Paul and broadcaster wife Louise Duffy welcomed their first child, an adorable daughter named Esmé, just over a year ago.

But while becoming a dad has naturally changed his priorities in life, sitting down with Magazine+, the 39-year-old insists it hasn't changed him as a person.

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"Esmé was one last week," beams the four-time All Ireland winner in a rare sit-down interview. "She's been great.

"I don't think I've changed massively myself. I don't know - I think you just have to get on with the work that's required and mind her, you know, and take care of the responsibilities that go with it, and watch her grow."

"I'm chilled," he gives a sideways smile. "I'm trying to stay chilled."

During his 17-year career in green and gold, "chilled" is not a word that was often associated with the Kerry firebrand, on the pitch or off.

Now though, the Lixnaw man is making headlines of a different kind after it emerged he's poised to become Wexford's new football manager.

Just days after catching up with Magazine+ in the capital, Wexford GAA confirmed it had nominated the former Kerry star to take over from Paul McLoughlin.

Paul Galvin Fashion with his wife Louise Duffy .Picture: Dominick Walsh
Paul Galvin Fashion with his wife Louise Duffy .Picture: Dominick Walsh

Back in 2014, when he hung up his inter-county boots, it was a very different story as Paul couldn't even bring himself to watch his former teammates in action at first.

"For a while at the start," admits the footballer-turned-fashionista to finding it difficult to watch games after his retirement, "but then you just move on.

"Business has been great for me - I just threw myself into that. [There is] an adjustment period for sure.

"I didn't go to too many games for a while, but then you just get back into it.

"I went to the Munster final and I went to the Mayo game. I've been to maybe three or four games this year."

Next month's All-Ireland Final is one game the Kerry great is certain not to miss after the county triumphed over Tyrone to take on Dublin in Croke Park.

So does he truly believe his successors can stop the barrelling boys in blue from making history by winning five-in-a-row, or even six or seven-in-a-row down the line?

"They'd be one of the few that could possibly do it," offers the one-time secondary school teacher. "I'm biased, of course - we have a default setting in Kerry.

"We always think, 'Sure you kind of have to back them', and you always think there's a chance, and when you look at Kerry, there probably is always a chance.

"But it'll be very difficult for anybody to stop them, I think.

"It's not to say [that if Kerry don't beat Dublin this year], it can't happen next year," he continues.

"Absolutely, I wouldn't put any limit or time frame on it beyond this year."

Sporting a shaggy brown beard, snug blue jeans and hi-top trainers, Ireland's original hipster hardly needs to hire a model to show off his designs, which have been stocked in Dunnes Stores for the past nine seasons.

So it's amusing to recall the slagging he got when he first stuck his bescarved neck out to blog about men's fashion just a few years back.

"I wouldn't say that," jokes Paul as to whether he's enjoying having the last laugh. "I just wanted to do business and get on with things.

"But I've definitely seen a change in young guys' look and their confidence and their ability to wear stuff.

"You can see that on the streets, and I get loads of messages and pictures from guys.

"If young Irish men were just confident, and able to wear what[ever] they like without being afraid to do it, I think it's good for everybody."

Out now for autumn, his latest biker-inspired collection includes a slick leather jacket, printed tees and sprayed-on jeans.

Rolling up to Grey Area studio in Chapelizod in an Audi e-tron, today the brand ambassador is travelling in style on four wheels, not two.

"My ninth [fashion collection] for autumn/winter is called 'Biker'," explains Paul, who's been working with Audi Cork for the past six years.

"I was reading about a [X-]trial racer called Sammy Miller from Belfast who went into bike design, and thought it was an interesting story.

"And then my brothers-in-law are all bikers, so I was just seeing a lot of that.

"I've been on the back of a bike and it was unbelievable - it was a great buzz.

"But I'm definitely sticking to four wheels for now!"

Low-key couple Paul and Louise tied the knot in the former Today FM presenter's Mayo hometown on New Year's Eve 2015.

More than four years on, the loved-up husband and dad says their little girl is getting more and more like her gorgeous mum every day.

"Esmé is really starting to grow up now," he beams, "It's great to see.

"She does kick a ball, actually - she does like to see the football around the place, alright.

"[But] she'll take after her mom now, I think."

As the three-time All Star prepares to enter the next chapter of his career, he vowed not to break the habit of a lifetime by being a "conventional" manager.

But the erstwhile bad boy of GAA won't be celebrating the appointment - almost certain to be ratified next month - with fresh ink either.

"I don't think so," he grins at the suggestion of completing his famous array of tatts with a full sleeve. "I think I'm done with it now.

"It's all old ink - I've enough!"

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