Football owes a debt of gratitude to Paul Hearty 3 years ago

Football owes a debt of gratitude to Paul Hearty

Hold your breath.

  • 19 Armagh club titles
  • 11 Ulster club titles
  • 6 All-Ireland club titles

Wait some more.

  • 2 National Football League titles
  • 5 Ulster titles
  • 1 All-Ireland

For club and for county, for 23 years, for football, Paul Hearty has been a remarkable servant.

Back in 1995, Joe Kernan brought in a lanky 16-year-old 'keeper to keep goals for Crossmaglen and Hearty and the club never looked back.

The following year, they bridged a decade's gap back to their last championship success and then went on a 13-in-a-row trail, carving out unprecedented glory that captured the hearts and minds of the whole country.

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Paul Hearty is said to have missed just seven championship games in all that time and he was doing that with what were basically 16-hour days, every day.

Up at 5am, Hearty is on the milk rout to Dublin. He gets home at 4pm, he now has four children and then he heads to training or the gym. He gets up and does it all again.

How the hell can a man do that for 23 years?

"That's a good question," Hearty said in a fascinating interview on The GAA Hour.

"I wouldn't be one for going to bed early either - I'd be an 11.30 or 12 o'clock man, flicking through the channels to see what's on - but I've done that most of my life.

"Back at four, do the homeworks, get the dinner, get the children to bed, half seven then and training's at eight so straight up to the field.

"I'm not the only guy doing that. There are a lot of fathers out there and women in their sport doing the same thing. It's a full life but sure that's the way it is - it's a rat race every day and we all have to get on with it.

"Going up to the field and being with the lads, although you're up there to bust yourself and do as well as you possibly can, it's a social thing too. You're out, it's a release, you're talking with your peers, it's not all doom and gloom. Training does be a good bit of craic with Cross so it was good fun too."

Listen to his full interview below from 24:45.