A 78-year-old Clare farmer who won a coveted framed pair of O’Neill’s shorts signed by actor, Paul Mescal has admitted he never watched ‘Normal People’.
The TV breakout hit of 2020 made Paul Mescal a global star but west Clare man Noel Ryan admitted, “I didn’t even look at it,” when asked did he see the actor in it.
Mr Ryan made his comment after Cooraclare GAA club confirmed that hen had the winning ticket for the signed shorts that were raffled as part of a fundraising drive for the club.
He did however say he is “delighted” to have won the shorts and they now have pride of place at his Cooraclare home.
The O’Neills shorts contain the dedication penned by Mescal ‘to the Normal People of Cooraclare’.
The Kildare man has close family links to the west Clare village and his celebrity status has proven to be a winner for Cooraclare GAA which has raised €10,000 for much-needed improvements to club facilities on the back of the €20 Mescal shorts.
The club sold around 5,000 tickets and Mr Ryan said he was one of the first to buy a ticket.
Cooraclare GAA spokesman, Joe Considine said that Noel Ryan “has been a member and supporter of Cooraclare GFC all his life”.
Mr Considine said that Noel knew Paul Mescal’s grandparents, the late Michael, and Mairead who still lives in the Mescal homestead.
He said that Noel worked with Paul’s uncle Paudie Mescal “when they both drove for the McNamaras, a local silage contracting outfit. The club is delighted that Noel won this prize as he was one of the first to buy a ticket “as he always is”.
Mr Considine said, “The funds will go towards badly needed renovations of our gym facility and the balance is earmarked for covering yearly running costs and maintaining our pitch.”
He said that the club sold tickets “home and abroad” through the association with Paul Mescal.
Paul’s father, Paul Snr was born in the parish and his Uncle Paudie, nephews and nieces, Clodagh, Aoibhinn, Páraic and Darragh Jim and first cousins are an integral part of the Cooraclare Club today.
During the autumn, Paul came along to watch his Godson, Daragh Jim, train with the club’s under 9s at Cooraclare GAA grounds.
Co-owner of O’Neill’s, Paul Towell said on Wednesday: “We’re delighted that a pair of O’Neill’s shorts has helped raise this type of money for a GAA club.”
Mr Towell quipped. “It is a pity that Paul Mescal can’t sign all our shorts”.
However, Mr Towell said that the ‘Mescal effect’ continues with sales of the €20 Mourne shorts.
Last month, Mr Towell said that the €20 Mourne shorts was “by far O’Neill’s best selling product for 2021 and sales have increased by 30 per cent on last year”.
Mescal made the O’Neills shorts one of the most sought after fashion items of this year after the former Kildare minor football captain was photographed out and about during 2020 sporting his O’Neill’s shorts before wearing them with a €10,000 fleece for a GQ cover photo shoot last autumn.
By Gordon Deegan