The former Killkenny back, whose style goes between a three-piece suit and the red and green kit of his club James Stephens, tells us about the go-to pieces in his wardrobe, how GAA players are expanding their style horizons off the pitch, and why he’s looking forward to dressing up for the All-Stars.
You’ve won 4 All-Stars yourself, can you describe how it feels when you hear your name being called out?
“It’s a great feeling to hear your name being called out as an All-Star. It’s a bonus and recognition individually for your efforts throughout the year. It is very special to be rewarded as one of the best 15 hurlers for that year. It’s a great night to enjoy the down time with players from competing counties that you were playing against all year.”
Did it add any extra pressure on you to keep winning once you had one in the bag?
“No, it was something I thought about after the games when the season was finished. It’s a bonus award, the All-Ireland medal is the most important. During a match you’re totally focused on the game, the man you’re marking and the next ball, you’re totally absorbed in it. It’s only after you think of the All-Stars etc.”
You have an interest in style yourself, do you look forward to getting dressed up for the event?
“Yes I really do, it’s a big occasion with a lot of focus on it, it’s the GAA’s big night so I put a lot of time and effort into what I will wear for the event and plan out my look. Everyone likes an excuse to get dressed up for big events and this is the perfect opportunity.”
What do you like to wear, off the pitch?
“I like to mix up my style, sometimes casual sometimes dressy. Skinny Jeans and white trainers are a real favourite of mine, dressy and very comfortable for all occasions. I also like blazers and stylish suits for formal events and The Sunday Game. Contrary to what social media portrays, I do wear socks on The Sunday Game!”
Have you got a style staple for winter?
“Trench coats, a classic and timeless!”
There are some very stylish GAA men around these days! Do you think it’s easier now for athletes to express themselves through fashion?
“Yes I do, because society is very diverse and accepting of different trends and looks. Men are expressing themselves in lots of different ways. We are slowly moving away from narrow minded approaches to men’s fashion which is great and very reflective of the modern man. GAA players have the attitude of if they look good, they feel good which results in positive energy to go train and perform on the field.”
The big day is fast approaching Jackie, can you give us any clues as to what your wedding suit will be like?
“No real clues, but it will be different and not something that’s been done before, or the norm!”
How are all the final preparations coming along?
“Yes, really enjoying them and not long now, all I have to say is ‘I do’, it’s easy!”
How has life been since releasing your book ‘The Warrior’s Code’? Busy?
“It’s been great, a lot of banter and chatting to people from Kilkenny and outside of the county. People appreciate the honesty and the realness in the way I tell my story and it has been well received. I am very proud of it and I stayed true to my values at which I strive to play the game I love- honesty, hard work, passion and giving it 100%.”
Did you enjoy the process of writing it?
“I loved it, because I had a great writer in Christy O’Connor. He is a deep thinker of the game like myself and having played, he knows it inside out. I loved going back down memory lane again and reliving all the great games and moments in my career. It made me very nostalgic and appreciate what we achieved as a group and the great effort it took to get to where we were.”