By Gordon Deegan

A 78-year-old farmer who has won a coveted framed pair of O’Neill’s shorts signed by actor, Paul Mescal has admitted that he has never watched ‘Normal People’.

The TV breakout hit of 2020 has made Paul Mescal a global star but west Clare man Noel Ryan said today: “I didn’t even look at it”, when asked did he see Mescal star in Normal People.

Ryan made his comment after Cooraclare GAA club confirmed that he had the winning ticket for the Paul Mescal-signed O’Neills shorts that were raffled as part of a fundraising driver for the club.

Noel Ryan said that he is “delighted” to have won the shorts and they have now pride of place at his Cooraclare home.

O’Neills shorts

The O’Neills shorts contain the dedication penned by Mescal ‘to the Normal People of Cooraclare’.

Paul Mescal on a recent visit to Cooraclare GAA club where he met up with his godson, Darragh Mescal and other budding Cooraclare footballers

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 club facilities on the back of the €20 Mescal shorts.

The club sold around 5,000 tickets and Noel Ryan said that 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”. 

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”.

“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,” Considine added.

Considine added that the club sold tickets “home and abroad” through the association with Paul Mescal.

Mescal connection

Paul Mescal’s father, Paul Senior 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 went along to watch his godson, Daragh Jim, train with the club’s under nines at Cooraclare GAA grounds.

Co-owner of O’Neills, Paul Towell, said: “We’re delighted that a pair of O’Neills shorts has helped raise this type of money for a GAA club.

“It is a pity that Paul Mescal can’t sign all our shorts,” Towell quipped.

However,Towell said that the ‘Mescal effect’ continues with sales of the €20 Mourne shorts.

Last month, Towell said that the €20 Mourne shorts was “by far O’Neills’ best selling product for 2021, and sales have increased by 30% 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 ONeills shorts, before wearing them with a €10,000 fleece for a GQ cover photo shoot last autumn.