Eamon Fennell strides into an executive box in Croke Park, a cheeky city grin and a look of devilment slapped across his face.
What quickly strikes you is he’s not the size he was a couple of seasons back and now looks a footballer as opposed to a bodybuilder.
But soon after, you realise what’s been lost in bulk has been gained in entertainment value, so much so that we’ll get to the relatively straight and narrow of football in a moment. For now though, there are far more interesting avenues to stroll down.
“I am after setting up my own company selling beauty products and flat shoes in nightclubs,” he tells you.
“The company is called Trix ’N‘ Trax. I’m making a shoe that rolls up into a little ball so girls can change shoes in a club and it comes with a drawstring bag so they can put their high heels in it as well.”
He looks around at the circle of bemused and unhealthy-looking male journalists surrounding him. “You’re my target audience,” he laughs.
“I’d no business background. This idea just came around from a girl I know who slipped in a nightclub and broke her ankle.
“She sued the club and made a fortune. So I’m helping the nightclubs and helping the girls out. But I did a sales course through the GPA, a few of us got that recently, the likes of Ross [O’Carroll], Denis Bastick, Barry Cahill. But it’s all my own money and a new company is daunting and I’m a little nervous but I’ve always wanted to work for myself. Now it’s just about how I manage my time.”
He’s yet to launch his product in nightclubs but has been given the go-ahead by the Dublin management once Sunday’s clash with Wexford is out of the way. On top of that, Fennell works as a DJ in the capital and hosts a show on Phantom FM on Sundays that the county aren’t tangled up in blue.
“I won’t be going in after this week’s game I don’t think. Live feed from Coppers? No, it can be difficult but I’ve made a few mistakes in the past and I now know when to stop.”
It’s interesting that Fennell puts a training match in the same category as other games. It’s not because of early-season clashes being so easy for a Dublin side that have advanced to this level — indeed he maintains they left the Louth game knowing that they can’t start so slowly again — but because two days after an A v B game he’s still walking like a man that’s hurting. Much like Kilkenny in hurling, in-house improvements are something the Dubs are pushing for as well.
“Yeah, there’s massive competition and I suppose I was lucky enough to start the last day. I’d like to think I did enough to start but we’ve had a four-week break with training games and they’ve been tough. Through my inter-county career I’ve always had different injuries stopping my progress.
“Then there was all the transfer trouble and I’m glad to be at Vincent’s now. I need to keep playing football and remaining injury-free and I’d love to play Sunday because if anything, we robbed Wexford last year.”
With that he’s off about his day. We told you he was different.