15 internationals who gave up the GAA makes a mouthwatering team 5 years ago

15 internationals who gave up the GAA makes a mouthwatering team

Ah, lads.

You could've made an All-Star team out of these s**cer players.


But, instead, they turned their back on the GAA and for what? International fame? Incomprehensible fortune? And to get all that for playing sport? Pah!

Where's their senior championship medal though?

We’re very particular about our GAA and we’re even more protective of our Irishness so when some nonsense like that bleedin’ soccer rubbish threatens even an under-16 B league match, it seems to be the straw that breaks the camel's back and it seems to be the end of the world. Every night of the week.

You don’t have to look too far anywhere in Ireland to see a constant struggle between good and evil, right versus wrong, GAA and s**cer.


Here is a list of some of the lads who could’ve gone the whole way if their heads weren’t turned by the bloody "foreign sports".

What a team this would make.



Shay Given

Big Shay was tearing it up in Donegal at under-12 level, playing all over the pitch for Lifford, stuck wherever they needed him, deadly wherever he was deployed. He was dominating as a ball-running midfielder but it was only when his club stole the idea from their soccer rivals to plant Given between the sticks did success come their way with that now famous under-14 B championship title of 1987. How could anyone forget?

Glenn Whelan

Glenn Whelan is the manager’s favourite. He’ll go wherever we ask him. Sometimes, he’s needed at number 10 to do a spoiling, donkey job for the team, he’s filled in at half back and he has proven to be a tenacious man-marker in the corner as well. Not our best marker, but he does the job. The Dubliner is one of the first names on the team sheet but he doesn’t always know where he’ll be playing. Does he cry about it? Does he heck. Never misses a training session. Even practices his skills before big international games as well.


Paul McShane

The Honey Monster will eat you alive. McShane is the no-nonsense, ever-present, blood-and-thunder mad hatter at full back who cleans out the 13-metre line like his life depended on it, taking no prisoners - be it team mates, opposition, umpires, it doesn't matter. If you’re in his way, you’re a problem. Leads from the front with hearty, bullish defending and produces the sort of game-saving high catches that people will name their children after every single Sunday. Still deeply involved, McShane sponsored his old club Newtown’s jerseys just two years ago.

Marc Wilson

The tough-tackling Wilson is the sort of menace opposing number 13s hate the sight of. The armour of Antrim made more memories in his second year Gaelic side than he will ever do playing s**cer. Scored a goal in the 2001 McDevitt Cup final as he led St. Paul’s, Lurgan to unforgettable glory.


Seamus Coleman

The Killybegs man forms the first part of our frightening half back line. Coleman attacks like a dream from number five, he’s fast, direct and damn well unrelenting. Featured in underage panels for his county, Coleman has even marked Michael Murphy in championship finals. Jim McGuinness would’ve been dreaming of his whippet energy on the counter attack. He was a Gaelic man first - just so happened to be bloody brilliant at s**cer too.

Xabi Alonso

Xabi is the pristine anchor that allows Coleman and McClean to bomb up and down the wings as they please. The Spaniard sits and controls games with delicious ease at number six, picking phenomenal passes no-one else could even see, and intercepting countless ball with that wise head of his. The Meath man keeps the rest of the team in check, a real leader at the heart of the side. At 16, Xabi came to Kells on a student-exchange and stayed with Liam and Fidelma O’Brien before trying his hand at the GAA. Naturally – we assume – he was absolutely amazing at it.

A no-handed hand-to-toe from the bearded genius. A no-handed hand-to-toe from the bearded genius.

James McClean

A former player of the year winner with Séan Dolan’s in Derry city, James McClean matches every inch of Seamus Coleman’s lung-bursting runs. He’s aggressive in the tackle, will do a job for you and he’ll terrorise the left flank if granted a licence to. Bought the jerseys for his old club a few seasons ago too like a true Gael. This must be the most potent half back line in Ireland (well, of s**cer players anyway).

David Forde

Big Fordey was apparently a real gem back in the day – back before he lost his way, like. A native of St. Michael’s in Galway, Forde could hog the skylines all over the country and make Given’s job a lot easier by just planting the kickouts into the air for big David to go and catch. None of this short kicking nonsense. He hates it when Shay doesn’t show up though and has to deputise in goals because he’s way too talented to just stand there.

Kevin Doyle

Doyler offers the running power alongside his mammoth number eight. Whilst the Wexford man can hold his own in the air as well, his game is barn-storming bursts into attack.  He’s been steeped in GAA tradition with his club, Adamstown, and he ripped it up at Good Counsel in New Ross where he sat his Leaving Cert. The perfect number nine to compliment an old-fashioned eight.

Niall McGinn

Possibly our deadliest weapon. McGinn scored 0-5 in the 2005 Ulster minor final. Once he has the ball in his hands, relax. He'll take it from there. Huge prospect for Tyrone under-21s as well right up until 2008 when he had to leave to focus on this pie-in-the-sky career across the water.

Eunan O’Kane

Grew up learning his trade from Derry captain Mark Lynch and Ireland legend Sean Marty Lockhart in Banagher, O’Kane is actually a renowned centre forward in Derry GAA circles. A fearsome number 11 throughout his underage career, he offers even more balance to this fantastic team because, whilst he can go at the centre back no bother to him if he’s given half an inch, the Bournemouth midfielder can step back, pull the strings and control a game as well.

Shane Ferguson

Ferguson played ball – proper ball – right up until his departure for Newcastle. A wing forward for Faughanvale on the north coast of the island, Ferguson is a tricky attacker who likes to consistently get on the score sheet. Can switch wings to cut inside and float over off his left.

Robbie Keane

He might only have played until he was 15 with Naomh Éanna in Dublin but Robbie Keane is our score-getter. Well, after all, he was one of the deadliest international forwards in Europe. He’ll go for goal when he should be really taking a score and he’ll sell a dummy when it isn’t on, hang onto it too long and do too much with the ball but you just let Robbie do his thing. His guaranteed 2-2 a game is worth it.

Cillian Sheridan

If all else is lost, hit the bloody thing in. None of the old-timers like this tippy-tap, hand-passing, slow build-up rubbish and, when Cillian Sheridan – all 6’5” of him – is hogging the square, why not plant one or two on top of him? The Cavan man played plenty in his underage career and, even though he’s a rare sight, a man of such stature wearing flashy boots, he is mightily effective. Put it in.He'll do whatever it takes to win it. Obviously...

#ThrowBackThursday Not sure if this is 2004 or 2005? Give me that ball. #iWillJumpOnYourBackToGetIt

A photo posted by Cillian Sheridan (@thesherifff) on

Shane Long

A winner of a Munster Minor Hurling Championship with Tipp, Long’s pace, his eye for goal and his skill mark him out as a must-have number 15. The manager constantly falls out with him though because the Gortnahoe-Glengoole club man prioritises the hurling to no end but, when it comes to it, there’s no way Long is being left off the team.

Tipperary team 10/8/2003