Paul Galvin has set himself the goal of bringing the stories of forgotten Irish sports heroes into the fashion arena, and today he’s kicking off with a new lifestyle project where, he says, “the story , GAA and design collide “.
Kerry’s former football star dedicated the âKeohane Athletic Clubâ clothing collection to celebrating forgotten sportspeople through athletic wear.
He has spent the past three years developing a clothing collection that he says is a “labor of love.”
The Finuge club player already has a successful partnership with Dunnes Stores, for whom he has designed an eponymous men’s clothing line for the past seven years and is currently working on his latest collection for the Irish retail chain.
Galvin co-founded the Keohane Athletic Club brand with Ashley McDonnell, a digital designer from Galway.
Their first collection officially launches today with two styles of six-print jerseys celebrating the achievements of the players and their communities.
âIt’s created in memory of forgotten athletes, teams, jerseys and travels through print design and storytelling,â said Galvin.
The brand, with its motto “run on memory”, is named after Joe Keohane, a former player and manager of Kerry.
âIt all started a few years ago when I was talking to some kids at Joe’s club, John Mitchels in Tralee, and they hadn’t heard from him,â says Galvin. âAfter that I started doing more research on other important names in football who were politicians, writers and soldiers. They were great cultural figures and I thought they couldn’t to be forgotten, so that’s kind of why I started this.
The âPlacesâ camouflage print is based on old military maps of Ireland, Munster and Kerry, places footballers and soldiers fought for, while the âHoly Terrorsâ print, worn along with the brand’s shorts and socks, is a nod to his father’s nickname for his father’s hurling club, Ballinclogher.
The ‘LA / 32’ print is reminiscent of the 1932 Olympics where former All-Ireland footballer Kerry Eamonn Fitzgerald finished fourth in the triple jump, while the ‘Transatlantic’ print bears an exact copy of the ocean liner St Louis which has transported the Kerry team to the United States in 1931, as the brand strives to create a link between diaspora and culture.
âI have learned so much working with Dunnes Stores and still am,â says Galvin. âThe Keohane Athletic Club is something that I miss in the GAA market from a design standpoint. It’s very design-driven and it’s a design challenge for other vendors in the GAA marketplace. “
While the first collection has a definite Kerry genesis, Galvin confirms “that there are also countless stories from other countries to come” and that the brand has already made orders from GAA clubs to capture their history in made-to-measure swimsuits.
Ashley McDonnell says the brand will resonate with the Irish diaspora around the world.
âOur ultimate goal is to bring meaningful design and storytelling to Irish sportswear, and to provide Irish people and teams around the world with a product they will love and wear with pride,â she says.
Galvin says that from a design standpoint, they aim to create memories for the people of Keohane. âIt’s something meaningful to people, especially those overseas, and it’s the reality of the diaspora, the connection to GAA,â he says.
Galvin is married to Louise Duffy, a former Today FM radio presenter, and the couple have two daughters. Last year he admitted that a combination of work-related pressure and moving to Co Mayo during the pandemic had caused him to resign from his managerial post at Wexford, but he’s not ruling out putting on a coat to manage. âI enjoyed Wexford, I enjoyed coaching and I’m definitely going to get back to it,â he says. “I took a lot of my experience at Wexford to tell myself that I wouldn’t be afraid to come back there by any means.”