Kieran McGeary honoured to be part of Niall Laird's artwork

Kieran McGeary in artform - an impression that will be up for auction this evening at the Glenavon Hotel
Kieran McGeary in artform - an impression that will be up for auction this evening at the Glenavon Hotel Kieran McGeary in artform - an impression that will be up for auction this evening at the Glenavon Hotel

ALL-IRELAND player of the year Kieran McGeary says he is “honoured and delighted” to be the subject of an artist’s impression of him playing for Tyrone that will be auctioned off at a special GAA Championship talk night at the Glenavon Hotel this evening.

The fundraising night that will feature guests Kieran McGeeney, Joe Brolly, Owen Mulligan, Feargal Logan and Vikki Wall has been organised by Holy Trinity College, Cookstown with all proceeds going towards a new state-of-the-art school building.

McGeary, who now teaches at the school he once attended, is hoping Niall Laird’s masterpiece - a one-item auction - will fetch a tidy sum and go some way towards helping the new build become a reality.

Currently preparing for Tyrone’s Ulster title defence against Fermanagh in just 10 days’ time, the Pomeroy man said: “I saw the picture a couple of weeks ago. John [McKeever] and Peter [Canavan] both showed it to me.

“It’s a cracking piece and all credit to Niall who did it; he’s extremely talented. He’s done Tyrone pieces in the past, so I was honoured and delighted that I even got a chance to be on one of them."

The image was captured during last summer's memorable All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry at Croke Park with Tom O'Sullivan trying to stop McGeary.

“It’s not so much the artwork, it’s more what the artwork is being used for," he said. "Hopefully Wednesday night goes well for everyone associated with the school with all the proceeds going to Holy Trinity College, which is my old stomping ground and where I teach.

“We’re due a new school as it’s been a long time coming. All the kids that go there deserve a new facility, so we’re badly in need of it and where anything can be done to quicken the process of making that happen, if Niall’s work helps in any way shape or form, that will be warmly welcomed.”

Now in his third year teaching at Holy Trinity, McGeary found it a little awkward at first getting used to being a colleague of those who once taught him.

“It was strange at the start probably seeing the teachers because I still felt like a pupil,” he said.

“At the start, I had an awful habit of calling them ‘Sir’ or ‘Miss’ – I was addressing them very formally, and five or six of them would have stopped me in the corridors and said: ‘You can stop calling me that now, Kieran!’”

Trying to impart his football wisdom on Holy Trinity’s first years, McGeary enjoys the teaching profession and says there’s never a dull moment at the school.

“I like a lot of things about teaching. I like the fulfilment of kids learning and you showing them. It keeps me on my toes in the PE department with the practical and the theory side. The teachers are great, the pupils themselves are fantastic. You build a lot of friendships and you get to know kids from different parts.”

McGeary felt there is real momentum behind the school gaining brand new facilities and paid tribute to Peter Canavan, a teaching colleague, and school principal Mrs Russell.

“It’s been in the pipeline for quite a while now and there have been a lot of people involved who have invested a serious amount of work to get it where it’s at; let’s just hope and pray everything stays on the timeline that it’s on at the moment.

“The night itself at the Glenavon Hotel should be great craic. It shows everyone at the school is pushing things in the right direction.”

For further information, please contact Holy Trinity College, Cookstown 028-86762420