In conversation with Paul O’Donovan
“When you mention ‘the border’ in Ireland most people are talking about the border between Northern Ireland and The Republic, but for us here in Kinnegad the border has always been between Westmeath and Meath,” said Larry Giles with a wide grin.
It seems strange that a man, who has dedicated so many years to playing GAA with his beloved Westmeath, was actually born, and still lives in Meath!
“There is great rivalry here on the border. Once you cross that bridge, you are in Meath,” said former Westmeath footballer and hurler Larry Giles, as he glanced out the window of his house, which is situated a couple of hundred meters inside the Meath border. However, it is that type of rivalry that has driven Larry to excel on the pitch, both at club and inter county level.
In this special two-part interview with one of Westmeath’s most talented footballers, Larry Giles talks about playing sport as youngster, winning a senior football title with Coralstown/Kinnegad, progressing onto the Westmeath senior teams, his ability to hurl with the best in county, watching his family growing up, and his thoughts on how the GAA has changed over the years.
“I was born here, yeah, I know we are in Meath, but for me everything was about Westmeath once I went to school in Kinnegad,” said Larry, who turns 55 years of age this coming April. “Ballinabrackey is up the road, and the children that went to school there are all steeped in Meath, but for me it was always the maroon and white of Westmeath,” said Larry, passionately.
Larry has been steeped in sport throughout his life, and points to his late father Paschal (Pa) Giles, as a major inspiration for him. That is why the recent passing of his late mother and father, just five months apart, are still very poignant for Larry.