"Your community, and what it means for your club, it's massive" - O'Brien praises Kearney's GAA move
"That's a good name, that. Say it again!"
Rob Kearney's GAA comeback, after a long absence, is even making headlines beyond these shores.
The former Leinster, Ireland and Lions fullback was a talented footballer, growing up, and played with the Louth Minors at Croke Park. He ultimately went down the rugby route but always vowed to return to play some club football once he retired from the professional rugby game.
Kearney has now lined out twice for Cooley Kickhams since getting back from his Super Rugby stint in Australia with Western Force. He was in action, on Sunday, against Newtown Blues at Fr McEvoy Park in Carlingford.
On the latest House of Rugby Lions Series episode [LISTEN from 47:00 below], Kearney's former teammate Seán O'Brien filled in Adam Jones and Alex Goode on the GAA's big-name recruit and his own spot of club football down in Carlow.
Alex Goode, who primarily plays at fullback for Saracens and England, took a keen interest in the Rob Kearney tale. With his high fielding skills and accomplished kicking game, he was perhaps seeing if there was way he could give GAA a whirl.
"By all accounts, Cooley Kickhams are pretty decent," said O'Brien.
"In Louth, GAA is massive there. It's massive everywhere in Ireland, now, but to have someone like Rob going back to his club, and giving something back, will be huge for the area.
"We always give him abuse for not doing anything for anyone in his area! So now he's going back to play Gaelic football.
"In fairness, it's something that nearly every rugby player in Ireland - if they had GAA roots - we'd obviously love, if your body would allow, to go back and play with your club. Because your community, and what it means for your club, is massive."
O'Brien himself played some club football, for Fighting Cocks, while he was a Leinster player. He lined out for his local side in Junior B action during the summer of 2014.
— Fighting Cocks GFC (@FightingCocksIE) June 2, 2014
Asked if he would be tempted to go back, after he hangs up his rugby boots, and play for the Fighting Cocks again, O'Brien declared:
"Oh yeah, I'd go back. If I can move properly, at that stage [after I retire from rugby].
"I wouldn't be a goalie! I'd be playing full-back... I'd be playing at either end of the pitch. I'm a better Gaelic footballer than a hurler... That's class for the area. It's what everyone aspires to. Everyone that started out as eight or nine-year-olds, many of us in Ireland, started in the GAA and then developed into rugby. It's great to go back and finish off there. He's a class footballer."
O'Brien still has some unfinished rugby business with London Irish so he will not be following Kearney into club GAA just yet.
When he does, it would be great if both sides could arrange a wee exhibition match. Cooley's Rob Kearmey being man-marked by Seán O'Brien on the Fighting Cocks - a clash we'd all pay to see.
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