The notebook affair: Paul Galvin scores some points

In an exclusive extract from his autobiography, Paul Galvin gives his account of slapping referee Paddy Russell’s notebook from his hands during the Munster semi-final in 2008.

Kerry football star Paul Galvin has revealed for the first time the background to one of the most infamous incidents in his high-profile career.

In an exclusive extract from his autobiography, Paul Galvin: In My Own Words, in today’s Irish Examiner, the four-time All-Ireland winner gives his account of slapping referee Paddy Russell’s notebook from his hands during the Munster semi-final against Clare in Killarney six years ago.

The incident sparked huge controversy and put Galvin in the national headlines for months. His altercation with Russell happened after he was shown a second yellow card for an off-the-ball incident with Clare’s John Hayes. It was a cataclysmic moment for the Finuge man, who had been so desperate to captain his county that year that he put off surgery on a troublesome hamstring tendon.

“It was basic instinct, an impulsive reaction born out of frustration,” he writes.

“Frustration at not finishing my first game as captain just as I was getting into my stride. Frustration at the seven or eight other games I didn’t get to start or finish as captain. Frustration at missing the whole year up to this point through injury. Frustration at the long hours of painful physio and rehab work to avoid surgery. Frustration at training on my own.

“Frustration at having played all through 2007 with the help of painkillers for the same injury. Frustration at the doubts about whether I was even injured in the first place because, in my desperation to play for Kerry, to captain Kerry, I continued to train and play on the injury. Frustration at watching us win a league semi-final. Frustration at watching us lose a league final. Frustration at being on the receiving end of a bad decision. Frustration at Paddy Russell’s omertà. Pure frustration. None of that offers any excuse, just a little context.”

Galvin was handed a six-month suspension, which was reduced to three after he and Kerry took the case to the Disputes Resolution Authority. Remarkably, referee Russell never mentioned the notebook incident in his match report. Neither did two of the GAA’s disciplinary committees refer to video evidence of what happened.

Galvin also criticises the linesman, Mike Meade, who advised Russell to send him off. “He publicly referred to my ‘stupidity’ and a lot more besides. His need to explain himself, though that didn’t appear to me to be standard practice, was telling; as the saying goes, when you’re explaining you’re losing. His decision to report me for jostling was incorrect in my opinion. My reaction made that irrelevant.”

In Monday’s Irish Examiner, Galvin writes for the first time about when he accidently hit a student with a duster which he threw in class while teaching in St Brendan’s College, Killarney.


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