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Paul Mescal Was Very Humble When Discussing His GAA Pedigree With 'GQ'

Paul Mescal Was Very Humble When Discussing His GAA Pedigree With 'GQ'
By Gary Connaughton Updated

Very few people can say that they've had an enjoyable year in 2020. Circumstances have dictated the the last eight months or so have been very tough for most of us, but if there's one man that will look back at the year with some sort of fondness, it's Paul Mescal.

The Kildare native shot to superstardom after his starring role in BBC drama Normal People, with the show based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney.

One of the most memorable aspects of the show involved Gaelic Football, with Mescal's character Connell proving to be the star player on his secondary school team. The GAA scenes were very well shot, but it shouldn't come as a surprise that the 24-year old was so convincing in them.

Mescal was an accomplished footballer himself before hanging up his boots to concentrate on acting.

He was a Kildare minor while still eligible to play U16, winning a Leinster title in 2013 and going on to captain the team a year later. Here he is posing with with Dublin's Con O'Callaghan before the Leinster final in 2014.

It's fair to say both of them have gone on to do well in their chosen fields. He would also go on to start for Kildare in the Leinster U21 finals against Dublin in 2015 and 2016.

In an interview with GQ published today, Mescal does discuss his past exploits in the GAA. With the magazine crediting his 'muscular thighs' to his time playing Gaelic Football, Mescal downplayed his abilities:


I was definitely not the most skilled. I was good at getting in the way of people, annoying people, throwing my body around.

I was quite diligent. I trained and I worked really hard because I didn't have the skill set that other people possessed.

Brendan Hackett, who managed Mescal at minor level and recently led Ballymun Kickhams to the Dublin SFC title, said in the article that his former centre back was not giving himself enough credit.


He said that as a player he possessed the 'right balance' of physical fitness, mental fitness, technical ability, and tactical awareness.

Mescal would continue with GAA when he went to study at Trinity, but eventually left the sport behind after suffering a broken jaw in a match. It probably wasn't all that compatible with acting to be fair.

He hasn't forgotten his roots, however, with the Maynooth native pulling on a pair of his county's shorts for this interview.



A big loss for Kildare all the same.

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