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14th Feb 2017

Lee Chin’s take on celebrating soccer goals couldn’t be any more GAA

Same country. Different planet.

Patrick McCarry

Lee Chin got the call and he answered. Then he answered again.

With his soccer club, Wexford Youths, threatened with relegation and key players heading off to New Zealand, Chin told manager Shane Keegan he would lace up and help out.

He prefers to be modest about his soccer comeback but, in reality, it was remarkable. He set up two goals in a 5-4 win over Galway and, in a promotion/relegation play-off with Drogheda, rammed home a screaming volley.

And for the second time in his life, Chin was part of a mob celebration. The Wexford hurling star let out a roar as he charged for teammate Danny Furlong and was soon mobbed by the rest of the Wexford Youths XI.

Sitting down to talk with us about his switch to ice hockey and the Vancouver Canuck’s for AIB’s The Toughest Trade, Chin is sheepish when the goal, and its joyous aftermath, are mentioned. “It was strange going off celebrating, I’ll put it that way,” he admits.

“It was very strange. It was something that I wasn’t there to do. I wasn’t there to score goals or anything like that – I was there to break up play and stuff for the team. It just so happened that the ball fell to me that night. I thought it was going to be a crucial goal but, obviously, it wasn’t.

“But it was very strange when I went out first because, when the team scored, I just didn’t feel like celebrating. It was very strange for me. I used to stand in the centre of the field on my own while the rest of them ran over to the corner.”

Chin admits the whole orgiastic goal celebration thing was somewhat of an alien experience for him. Steeped in Gaelic football and hurling from an early age, it is not surprising.

Wexford had gone 5-0 up against Galway, last October, and were riding high before they shipped four straight goals and were left clinging on at the end. Chin never felt safe celebrating, even when Wexford were well clear. He says:

“I was nearly panicking because I’d remember an experience I’d had when I was younger. I played in a final with my club – Wexford Bohs – back in Wexford Town.

“We scored a goal and we went off celebrating and – you might have seen it on Soccer AM a few years ago [video below] when a team went off celebrating and the opposition just went and tipped off, ran and kicked it into the goal. That actually happened in us, when I was playing youths, and it was really ingrained in my mind.

“So when Wexford Youths scored – that day we scored about 5 against Galway and were winning 5-0 – each time they went off to celebrate and I couldn’t do it. I didn’t know how to do it, to be honest with you.”

Chin does not know his schedule when he gets to Vancouver but is hoping his Wexford Winter Wonderland ice-skating practice might lead to him getting a run/skate out in a match.

“I’ll do a lot of training and try and fall into the lifestyle of a professional athlete over there,” he says.

“[As for] the end goal, I’m not sure but hopefully I might try and get involved in a game but it’s yet to be foreseen.”

Knowing Chin, he’ll probably score… and he’ll probably not celebrate.

*Lee Chin will star in The Toughest Trade documentary series, airing on RTE 2 on Friday, 10 March. For exclusive content and behind the scenes action from The Toughest Trade, follow AIB GAA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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