In an effort to trap more heat during the recent cold snap, the old-fashioned beard has made a comeback with the Kildare under-21 footballers.
At least four players – goalkeeper Mark Donnellan, defenders Jonathan Byrne and Fergal Conway as well as freetaker Liam McGovern – have sported beards of varying quality so far this year while their manager Kieran McGeeney has taken his facial hair to new lengths on the sideline.
However the Armagh man denied he was following the lead of Kerry fashionista Paul Galvin.
“I grew it because I got cut,” McGeeney growled before adding: “Definitely anything I do is never due to fashion. That’s one thing I can never be accused of.”
Those looking for grooming tips from the Geezer would want to tread carefully because the former All-Star recently earned a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu .
“I have to have something to take my angst out on, I’m not allowed take it out on anybody else,” he said before thumping his chest. “I find it hard to switch off some aspects of it (GAA) because the one thing you’re not allowed in the GAA is an opinion.”
McGeeney has been training with renowned coach John Kavanagh, who has unleashed numerous warriors into the mixed martial arts world.
“Going from blue belt to purple was a big step for me, personally,” McGeeney revealed. “Purple to brown’s a different class altogether. It’ll take four or five years of solid training to get to that next stage. There’s huge competition in it – there’s Europeans and all that sort of stuff that you’d love to have a pop at. I started it fairly late. I was 38, 39. The coach I have, John Kavanagh, is probably one of the best in the business, not just in Ireland.”
Next time you walk onto the field, don’t say you haven’t been warned.