Paul Galvin: I was just disgusted looking at Kerry getting roughed up and beaten

Paul Galvin: I was just disgusted looking at Kerry getting roughed up and beaten
Paul Galvin speaking to fellow Kerry teammate Tomás Ó Sé during the recording of Comhra Le Tomás which is powered by Benetti Menswear Picture: Killian O'Sullivan,

Paul Galvin has admitted that playing for Kerry was an obsession and that his combative 'all bets are off' style partly came from being 'disgusted' with seeing the Kingdom get 'roughed up' for years.

The four-time All-Ireland winner and current Wexford boss offered a fascinating insight into his career while in conversation with ex-colleague Tomás Ó Sé for his Comhra Le Tomás podcast.

Finuge man Galvin revealed he was 'obsessed with what we were doing' while playing for Kerry and acknowledged 'I did burn myself out eventually, I took it way too seriously'.

But that obsession drew a rich reward for Galvin who became the game's 1,000th All-Star in 2004 after a breakthrough All-Ireland winning campaign following several years of near misses for Kerry teams.

Galvin revealed that he watched Kerry get hammered by Meath in the 2001 All-Ireland semi-finals from the Cusack Stand, a 'destructive' loss for Kerry, watched the 2002 final loss to Armgh on TV and was pitchside for the 2003 semi-final defeat to Tyrone.

"They were the three years prior to my career starting with Kerry, I watched them closely and it was highly physical, highly aggressive, rules were being bent and broken and particularly the Tyrone ’03 semi-final, I was right on the sideline looking at a lot of the activity," said Galvin. "It was so intense and aggressive, I just said, ‘All bets are off here if you get in’. That was my approach always.

I was just disgusted looking at Kerry getting roughed up and beaten and I said, ‘If I ever get in there I’m going to match fire with fire’. I was only matching what I was seeing really. Then you try to take it up a level of course and wherever the game goes you’ve got to try to take it a bit further. So my position was part of the conflict (in the middle of the field).

Wing-forward Galvin regularly clashed with Cork half-back Noel O'Leary throughout the 2000s.

"He was a funny one in that he was very strong physically," said Galvin. "I’d very powerful arms, I worked a lot on them and he was the first guy I met where me wrestling with him under a break was never going to…I did it for a couple of years and then I said, ‘No, this is a mug’s game’. Because he was that strong in his arms."

As for his obsession with the game, Galvin said it was noticed by former manager Jack O'Connor who tried to get him to take up golf for relaxation.

"Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’d start my warm-up in the last class, I’d be doing my stretches and honestly now it was some scene when I think back, students…I’d give an exercise to do and then I’d start to do my stretches for training.

"I wouldn’t even waste time at training doing my stretches, I’d have it done so when I got there I’d be ready to go. I’d have a good bit of (ball) handling done in the daytime. Morning, noon and night I was obsessed with what we were doing, what we were trying to do. I did burn myself out eventually, I took it way too seriously."

In a wide ranging interview, Galvin also said he hopes the Wexford footballers are inspired by the county hurlers' success, revealed his concerns about the 'reductive' Tier 2 Tailteann Cup, claimed county managers should be allowed some basic access to players before September 14, if only for fitness monitoring, and also noted the recent club closures in Cork due to Covid concerns.

* Wexford manager and former Kerry star Paul Galvin was speaking on Tomás Ó Sé's weekly live stream podcast Comhra Le Tomás which is powered by Benetti Menswear. The full interview can be accessed on Tomas' YouTube channel.

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