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12th May 2021

“I’d love to do my Colin Corkery impression and play Junior B football. It depends on the body”

Niall McIntyre

For now, he’s one of the best tight-heads in world rugby. Don’t be one bit surprised however, if some day in the future, that same guy lines out in a Junior B football match in Wexford.

That’s Tadhg Furlong for you.

We’ve all seen it, that piece of gold from an under-14 game in Wexford where Tadhg Furlong, filling out his Horeswood jersey like it had never been filled before, dispossesses one fella before milling into another, not long after he’d flicked the ball up as if it was Stephen O’Neill in his pomp.

That’s Tadhg Furlong for you.

That rare mixture of aggression, power and finesse has taken Furlong to the top of world rugby but back where it all began, back in Horeswood GAA club in south Wexford, they’d love to see him in the red and yellow again.

Speaking after he was selected for his second British and Irish Lions tour, Furlong reminisces on the days when he played full forward in a Junior B game, and loved every minute of it.

“I’d love to do my Colin Corkery impression and play Junior B football. It depends on how the body is. I played full-forward Junior B when I was 17 and it was my last hurrah. I loved it. I wouldn’t take it too seriously but then again that is what Junior B is for.

“If you’re looking at cross-over elements from GAA to rugby, rugby intends to be quite a forward and back side to side sport. It’s all straight lines give or take. In GAA it is multi-directional, you’re turning, running zig-zags, you’re stepping. It’s that 360 degree movement. And then the hand the eye co-ordination, spatial awareness. There’s a massive over-lap between the sport and how they can help each other…”

In the bish-bash world of life in the scrum, that ‘360 degree movement’ gives Furlong something different that he’s not afraid to use.

As for his first rugby club in New Ross, Furlong aims to give back in the years to come.

“I haven’t thought that far ahead of me, it’s dependant on how the body is,” the Vodafone ambassador says when asked if he could see himself lining out in the New Ross colours again.

“I’d love to give back to New Ross in some ways, for all they’ve put into me. I suppose being a rugby player you have to be a little bit selfish in some ways because you want to succeed. I haven’t gotten down as much as I would have liked. I haven’t helped out as much as I would have liked. I certainly wouldn’t be anything like Seán O’Brien levels but I definitely plan on giving something back to the club when I retire. If that’s togging out and putting the boots on, I’m not sure but there will definitely be something there.”

For now though, it’s all about that British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, and Furlong is intending to make the most of it.

“I suppose you put yourself under a lot of heat the last time where everything was about performing and getting to that pitch on a Saturday.

 “But I think when you look back on it you kind of wish that you enjoyed the middle part of the tour. The test weeks are when it almost calms down a bit. They’re always enjoyable, the build-up etc, but the middle part and the front part, when it’s frenetic, I’m looking forward to hopefully enjoying that a little bit more this time around.”

“Tadhg Furlong is an official Vodafone Ambassador for the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa. Vodafone, along with its suite of Lions ambassadors, will be using the power of connectivity to bring fans closer to the tour than ever before. Download the official Lions app, powered by Vodafone to start your experience now”

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