"Normal People" star Paul Mescal harbours aspirations of playing Gaelic football competitively in the future.
The London-based actor, who plays Connell in Lenny Abrahamson’s TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s book which is currently airing on RTÉ One and BBC as well as streaming in the US, was a Kildare minor and U21 as well as being a promising under-age cricketer.
Featuring for the Lilywhites as a defender in the 2015 and ‘16 Leinster U21 finals against Dublin and the All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry in 2014, Mescal’s Gaelic football acumen is obvious in the game scene in episode one.
Although it’s unlikely that he will be able to return to line out for his club Maynooth because of his career, the 24-year-old told GQ magazine that he misses the game: “Absolutely. It's something that has been a massively formative part of my life and something that has taught me lots about acting in terms of self-discipline and being ready and being able to capitalise on opportunities.
“In a dream world, I'd love to go back and play with my team. But as long as work is kind of busy, I don't think I can do the two at the moment.”
Mescal had designs of playing senior for Kildare before acting took over. “I played Gaelic football since I was tiny, and that was kind of the way that I wanted to go. And then when I was 16, we did a school musical. We did “Phantom of the Opera”. I fell in love with it. I've never gotten a buzz or a high like that ever in my life. I'd been chasing that to some degree. But I never saw it as a valid career choice.
When it came to applying for colleges, I was putting down law and arts and things that would support playing Gaelic football.
“The closer it got to being a reality, the more I rejected it. So I quickly applied for drama schools, but there was only one that I wasn't late for in Dublin. I applied and got it. I still played football in first and second year of college, which wasn't allowed, but I kind of kept it on the down-low. Then I got my jaw broken two days before starting my final year.”