Eight stars we'd like to see make The Toughest Trade
Podge Collins fancies taking Lionel Messi's place at the Nou Camp, but here are four sporting switches we'd really love to see
If, like us, you watched the thoroughly enjoyable documentary The Toughest Trade on TV3 last week, you are no doubt hoping the series is no one-off and probably spent several hours concocting outlandish code swaps involving some of the world's greatest sportspeople for a prospective second programme.
'Yeah, sure I'd like to see how long that Ronaldo would last down at Éire Óg...'
Clare footballer Podge Collins certainly did, having seen Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell enjoying sunny Miami and volunteering for duty at Barcelona.
— Podge Collins (@PodgeCollins) March 12, 2015
If our opinion, the scope is definitely there to blow out the show in a proper four-part series, each focusing on a different switch and to help move the process along we have come up with the perfect line-up:
Episode 1: Richie Hogan and AB de Villiers
Tyrrell tried his hand at another 'stick sport' when he spent a week with the Miami Marlins baseball team, so why not ask team-mate and Hurler of the Year Hogan to do the same? In fact, long before becoming the dominant hurling county in Ireland, Kilkenny was a cricketing stronghold, with more than 50 clubs in the county at one point, and we'd like to see Hogan test his hand-eye coordination while facing 140km/h fast bowling.
Coming the other way, the easy choice would be Eoin Morgan, whose affinity for hurling is well documented for its contribution to his inventive shot selections. But, rather like former Major Leaguer Brian Schneider, we're going for a fish rather more out of water and choosing fiery South Africa captain AB de Villiers.
De Villiers' prowess with the bat has been on regular display at the World Cup - he is a powerful striker of the ball and swift between the wickets, but he is also one of the world's finest fielders and at roughly six feet tall we reckon he'd have no problem going up to challenge for a long puck-out.
Episode 2: JJ Watt and Rob Kearney
Watt, the NFL's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has already teased us with a potential appearance on a rugby field and the prospect of him throwing himself at onrushing ball-carriers is a mouthwatering one.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 7, 2013
We're more than happy for the Houston Texans star, who measures up at 6ft 5in and more than 130kgs, to pack down at the base of the scrum, where his explosiveness would give the other side fits in both attack and defence. He's pretty good with the ball in his hands too, catching three receiving touchdowns on offence and outrunning the opposition on this interception return.
Ireland's back-row forwards might struggle to convert to the NFL, as at roughly 20kgs smaller they lack the size to line up on the defensive line and the pure speed to play linebacker. Kearney, however, would in our opinion be able to find a role. His sure-handedness under the high ball lends itself perfectly to return punts and kick-offs, while the defensive duties of a full-back are not a million miles away from that of a free safety, who is required to diagnose offensive threats and often act as the last line of defence.
Episode 3: Anna Geary and Derval O'Rourke
Two of Cork's most celebrated sportswomen would make for an interesting exchange. Former world indoor hurdles champion O'Rourke has retired from competitive athletics but has already displayed her interest in other sports by taking up the role of player development manager with the Munster rugby team, and we're sure she has picked up a hurl once or twice so we'd like to see how her speed would translate down in Milford.
Geary is the golden girl of Cork camogie and while her wide array of Gaelic skills may not directly compare to anything on the track, we'd love to see how the gruelling training regime she adheres to would set her up for a tilt at the queen of track and field events, the heptathlon.
Episode 4: LeBron James and Kieran Donaghy
We're getting a little bit out there now, but Kerry colossus Donaghy is a former Irish basketball player of the year and has won Superleague and National Cup titles with Tralee, so it would be fascinating to see him match up against the really big men across the pond, most likely in the NBA's Developmental League. Donaghy is a giant on the turf at Croke Park, but at 6ft 5in he would be giving up plenty of height to America's finest.
The idea of LeBron James trying out Gaelic football is an admittedly ludicrous one, but if you thought Donaghy was big, could you just imagine the 6ft 8in Cleveland Cavaliers star setting his stall out at the edge of the square or charging at the full-back line like this?
For anyone who didn't see The Toughest Trade on TV3 the full episode is here.