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Joining forces with 'deep thinker' Galvin and helping the club survive relegation at 40

Matty Forde will work with the Kerry legend on the backroom team for the Wexford footballers.

MATTY FORDE SAYS he’s “really looking forward” to working alongside Paul Galvin when the Kerry legend takes over as manager of the Wexford senior footballers.

paul-galvin Paul Galvin is the new manager of the Wexford footballers. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Four-time All-Ireland winner Galvin was ratified as the new manager earlier this month, with Forde coming on board as part of the backroom team, which also includes Tadhg O’Donoghue, Eamon Sayers and Shane Roche.

Galvin first contacted Forde about the position about a month ago, and the 2004 All-Star forward says he’s excited about the prospect of joining forces with the former Footballer of the Year.

“I took a bit of time and had a think about it and eventually decided it was something I’d definitely be interested in,” Forde tells The42.

I’ve a fair good idea of who he is and what he’s about and from speaking to him a couple of times, I like what I hear.”

This is the first time that Forde and Galvin will be working together in management, having previously represented Ireland together on International Rules outfits.

The Wexford job represents Galvin’s first step into inter-county management, although he has some experience after his stint as joint-manager of the TG4 Underdogs team last year.

Forde watched the TV series with interest and likes the kind of leadership style that Galvin will be bringing to Wexford.

“He’s exactly the same in person and that’s exactly the kind of philosophy he tries to get across.

Just his passion for football. He’s a huge thinker about the game and thinks very deeply about it.

“He looks at things that maybe other people haven’t seen. Everyone’s going to be saying it’s his first job in management and it is, but everyone has to start somewhere.

“Something that struck a chord with me is he’s big on the basics and the simple things in football.”

matty-forde Forde in action for Wexford in 2010. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The 2019 season was a challenging one for Wexford, as their league campaign yielded a sixth-place finish in Division 4. They lost out to Louth in the Leinster SFC, before suffering a heavy defeat to Derry in Round 1 of the qualifiers. 

Forde says that Galvin’s appointment has been greeted with optimism among players and fans around the county and the Kerry man has already attended several club games to take a look at the pool of talent at his disposal.

“It’s very positive around the county,” says Forde.

“Everyone is saying that the only way is up and it is. I think the reaction is very good from what I’ve seen and heard over the last couple of weeks.

“Everyone is in agreement that we’re in need of a shot in the arm. We’re at a low ebb, probably as low as we have been. It’s not dissimilar to where we were 20 years ago when I first played senior in 1999. We were at a really low ebb.”

Forde produced some extra-time heroics for his club Kilanerin Ballyfad recently, hitting 1-4 in a relegation final against St Anne’s to preserve his side’s senior status.

The 40-year-old, who retired from inter-county football in 2011, reckoned his senior club career was over last year and had even slipped back to the junior grade for this season.

matty-forde-with-team-mates Forde alongside his club teammates in the 2008 Wexford county final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

But he offered his services one more time to help Kilanerin Ballyfad avoid the drop, and managed to hit 1-2 in extra-time to secure a vital win.

“My brother is the trainer and one of my best friends is involved with them,” Forde explains.

“In fairness, they hadn’t asked me all year to play, but when we ended up in the relegation final by a lot of bad luck, I said I’d tog out if they wanted me.

“I’d no intention and wasn’t expecting to be playing. I was hoping I wouldn’t be needed at all, it would have suited me fine sitting on the line. But they told me 10 minutes before the match that I was actually starting and the legs literally went from under me. That’s not an exaggeration,” he laughs.

It was just after half 10 at night coming off the field, so it was tough going, but the soreness waking up the next morning after winning is completely different to the soreness after losing.

“We’re safe for another year.”

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