KERRY STAR PAUL Geaney was given some relieving news this week as the hospitality industry looks set to reopen again after a long period of inactivity.
Kerry forward Paul Geaney.
Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
Pubs and restaurants have been forced into long-term closures in recent months due to the ongoing threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation worsened in the run-up to Christmas, as the rate of cases increased to worrying levels, resulting in a shutdown for the sector.
For Paul Geaney’s Bar & Restaurant in Dingle, the doors have been closed for some nine of the past 12 months with just takeaway and home delivery services in operation.
However, there was some positive news to report this week, indicating some light at the end of the tunnel for businesses across the country as the summer approaches.
“It’s been a tough year,” says Geaney. “We got news this morning, it’s going to be around the 6 June or so.
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“So looking forward to that. We started doing a bit of takeaway there. It was home delivery – we had to sign an agreement with Diageo that we wouldn’t be selling takeaway. It got knocked on the head there around January.
“We had to sign an agreement to say we would only be doing home deliveries. So I had to kit out an old van there. I was driving around the community there the last two or three weeks, delivering pints out the back of the van – and some food.
“So we managed to get up and running a small bit. Through that, I was able to meet a couple of people as well. The excitement of delivering pints to people who hadn’t seen a draft pint in a while – it was like being Santa on Christmas morning. So there was a bit of excitement with that.”
Geaney adds that his interactions with the locals would often lead to chats about football, and the growing excitement about the start of the GAA season in the coming weeks.
Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Kerry fans will be particularly eager for their league campaign to get underway after their dramatic exit from the championship last year. An injury-time goal from Mark Keane saw the Kingdom bow out to Cork in the Munster SFC semi-final. With a straight knockout format in place, that result also dumped Kerry out of the All-Ireland competition.
Geaney was ruled out of that fixture due to injury, but says he was “close” to regaining his fitness in time for selection.
Hoping that he would be back in the frame in time for the final, he was forced to look on from behind the TV screen as his team crashed out.
“It was a disaster really for us,” says Geaney who didn’t watch the All-Ireland final between Dublin and Mayo on the day as the reality of their disappointing loss was “still too fresh.” He has since watched the game where Dessie Farrell’s side completed the six-in-a-row.
“I watched it in the pub with my father. We were watching it on a big screen in an empty bar, height of winter. The weather was miserable.
“The next thing, a late goal and we’re pipped. I turned my mind straight away to the boys in Cork, who had to travel individually to the game and then back again.
“Tom O’Sullivan, a club mate and a good friend of mine, was just up the road. I didn’t speak to him for a month afterwards. It was tough that way.”
The shock defeat at Páirc Uí Chaoimh later resulted in rumours of unrest in the Kerry squad while manager Peter Keane was reportedly coming under pressure to make changes to his backroom team.
Geaney, however, insists that those rumours are wholly untrue and stresses that the management has the full support of its players as the new season looms.
“Rumours are rumours,” he begins. “I tweeted at the time about certain rumours, that they were fake news. It was nonsense. Absolute nonsense.
“Just to put a bottom line on it while I have the chance now: it’s absolute nonsense. We’re fully behind the management team. I couldn’t be stronger on that.
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“As an elder statesman in the team, it’s important to really underline that. We’re very happy with the setup. We’ve learned from the Cork game. And we’re looking forward to showing what we’ve learned.”
Remarking on how misinformation can spread rapidly on social media, Geaney added:
“It’s a reality of life today because of the nature of Whatsapp and how quickly you can forward a rumour or pictures or whatever it is these days.
“It’s just reality of the day. You have to live with that. But to be honest, I heard it and then I didn’t take any notice of it. When there’s no truth in it, I didn’t think about saying anything about it.
“There’s been worse said about other players in other situations so it’s just something in general that people in society have to deal with in this day and age because rumours can spread like wildfire.
“I’m ten years playing with Kerry now and any year without a rumour…I don’t know has there been one. If I’d a Euro for every rumour I heard, I wouldn’t worry about having to open the pub next month.”
Different Backgrounds; One Association – Paul Geaney was taking part in the GPA’s Return to Play event to mark the first season where all senior inter-county players are part of the one player association.