By David Hennessy
Five time All Ireland winner with Kerry, Tomás Ó Sé responded to Pat Spillane’s comments about Paul Galvin’s comeback being a mistake and a distraction. Talking to the Irish World at the Tara GFC dinner dance at the weekend where he was special guest, Tomás said that neither Paul Galvin or Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice would take such a decision lightly.
Tomás said: “I think Paul has put a lot of thought into this, I think Eamon has put a lot of thought into it. I don’t think they’d make this decision lightly. I know Paul, he would be the first fella to admit that he has to make a huge effort to even get into the squad for the games so it will be a tough one for him but there’s no better man. I think he has a little bit left in the tank yet.”
Tomás represented Kerry for fifteen years before hanging up his boots in 2013, many of these years he played with Galvin. Paul Galvin, often a controversial player but whose talent is unquestioned, retired in early 2014 before the 35-year-old’s return to the Kerry fold was announced last week.
Asked if he was as surprised as everyone else, Paul’s former team mate said: “I had no inkling at all, I didn’t know that was coming down the road and I was surprised when I heard it.
“Paul had gone and he was gone over a year. The big thing with Paul was, after his last year when he retired, he was after a long club campaign, the club went to Croke Park and they were on the road all year long. His body wasn’t physically in the right shape. He was probably cranky after the year and I suppose it made the decision of retiring easier for him.
“But I presume in the meantime, his body is after going right, he’s in better shape and I think he probably wants to make a contribution and he reckons his body is up to it, so why not? I don’t think he was happy with his decision last time but hopefully it will go well for him.”
Kerry won the All Ireland last year without Colm Cooper. With Cooper and Galvin now strengthening the squad, they should be even stronger but Tomás is reluctant to get carried away: “About a year ago, people were saying this Kerry team were gone, we were in transition and whatever. Suddenly within a year, we have the greatest panel in the country. It’s strange.
“Yes, we won the All Ireland last year and yes, we have Gooch coming back and yes, we have Tommy Walsh coming back. I don’t think that Gooch and Tommy Walsh are going to make a big big difference unless they’re mentally right themselves and if they are, of course the boys will add to it but they have to be mentally right. It’s always tougher coming back and defending an All Ireland.”
Asked if Paul’s decision could inspire a similar return for himself, Tomás is adamant: “Those kind of things would make you feel like going back and playing football again and it gave the county a buzz, people were talking about going back playing again.
“I loved playing football, it was my life for so long but I had my time, I had 16, 17 years in the Kerry jersey and I said when I retired, I’m not going to be making a u turn and coming back again so I’m afraid I’m gone anyway.
“I do miss it. It was a huge part of my life, it was everything really and when it’s gone, it’s a hard thing to replace, that buzz, the constant buzz. Not only the buzz of matches but the camaraderie between players, training, the build up to big games, playing in games, after games. You miss all that kind of craic. We had our time. We had a good time and we did well out of it.”