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Friday 23 August 2019

Can Galvin join the comeback kings?

Weird Wide World of Sport

Paul Galvin in action for the Kingdom in 2013 against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final
Paul Galvin in action for the Kingdom in 2013 against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final

Daniel Gorman

Mick Jagger says that you can't always get what you want. Mick Jagger says a lot of things, but the former is probably true.

What I want is to frit away a few hours a week playing some G.A.A. but at the moment I can't due to a pesky ankle problem.

I haven't a pick of muscle or fat on me and all references to butchers' pencils are fair enough so I don't know what my ankle is complaining about, it doesn't exactly have a heavy workload.

But how and ever.

This means every Tuesday and Thursday evening there's a little pang of sadness and heartbreak as I watch the cars of my friends and would-be team-mates heading off to training.

I see the odd in-joke on social media and a little tear drops onto my phone screen.

When I get the all-clear and the little fella feels up to it again, I may well make a cautious return to the playing field.

And I apologise in advance if the national papers splash it across their back pages and social media explodes and divides with the news.

I'm just like that bloody Paul Galvin fella.

His return to the Kingdom certainly came as a shock.

He is not the first, and certainly will not be the last hero to return to the battle field but it is particularly peculiar in his case because he is not exactly needed.

Roy Keane returned to action for Ireland once-upon-a-time but that's because he was Roy Keane, the Irish hero.

Galvin was a fantastic player in his day and is a big name in the G.A.A. world even in retirement but is he actually needed by Kerry?

They won the All-Ireland last term without him and looked quite capable.

This time around, they'll be able to welcome back Colm Cooper and the returning Tommy Walsh, so where does Galvin fit in?

I'm all for an heroic comeback, every sporting movie I watched as a kid swings entirely on the late return of the hero to the changing room just in time to save the day and sometimes get the girl (there wasn't always a girl, they weren't made for the women these films but sometimes there was a love interest and sure power to them; as long as it doesn't distract anyone from the sport it's no harm).

So will this be one final, romantic fling for Galvin and will it end in a nasty break-up?

I don't know the fella (although we are very alike; fantastic beards, fashionistas and fantastic footballers) but I wouldn't want to see him becoming a spare tyre after all this furore.

Comebacks are one of the best things about sport and it has had plenty, so here are seven other athletes that have been lured back (in no particular order):

Zinedine Zidane

The legendary footballer announced his international retirement after Euro 2004 but in August 2005, the 33-year-old decided to pull on Les Blues jersey once again to bail them out of their struggling World Cup campaign.

He got them to Germany 2006 and was a key figure as France got all the way to the final, but it didn't end very gracefully for one of the most graceful footballers of all time as he stuck the head into Marco Materazzi when the Italian asked Zidane how his mother was for turf.

Or something like that.

George Foreman

George Foreman is more than just the face of the lean, mean grilling machine.

Ten years after stepping away from the ring, he rocked the boxing world by announcing his comeback.

The then 38-year-old racked up 24 victories in his second coming and after losing out on a unanimous decision twice in two title fights, but seven years later, the crazy 45-year-old got his hands on a belt and retired to fully focus on helping people to not become overweight. Fair play!

Steve Redgrave

The legendary Olympian declared after the 1996 Oympics 'if anyone sees me anywhere near a boat, they have permission to shoot me'.

Four years later, he claimed his fifth gold medal in Sydney.

Muhammad Ali

The greatest of all time didn't just have to fight opponents, he had to fight detractors and begrudgers and was locked up for refusing to serve in Vietnam.

His boxing license was stripped from him but he bounced back and went on to enjoy the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila.

He's my absolute hero.

Michael Jordan

He's not here for his starring role in Space Jam, as brilliant as that was.

Basketball's greatest-ever player switched allegiances to baseball in the '90s but when that didn't quite work out, he returned to the court and he carried the Chicago Bulls to world domination.

Retired again and then made another comeback at the start of the millennium but that didn't go quite as well.

Mike Tyson

I don't really know what to say here because Tyson has had more comebacks than all the boybands put together.

Rumour has it he's even in the process of mounting yet another comeback at the ripe old age of 48 and sure good luck to him.

Maybe he's just missing the thrill of competing; if that's the case I reckon he could do a good job at full-back for my local Junior 'B's. God help any referee having to show him a black card.

Wexford People

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