Shane Williams could hardly argue with Tommy Bowe's advice about GAA
Shane Williams will always be welcome up in the Glenswilly GAA clubhouse.
The former Wales and Lions winger was the toast of the nation, early last year, as he switched sporting codes with Donegal forward Michae Murphy as part of AIB's 'The Toughest Trade'.
While Murphy headed off to Clermont Auvergne, in the South of France, Williams headed to Glenswilly and found a home away from home. He trained and played with the local GAA team and even managed to knock over some points on his debut.
Williams was in studio for The Hard Yards, ahead of Ireland vs. Wales in the Six Nations, and [from 16:00 below] he spoke about his time playing GAA and shared the words of advice Ireland star Tommy Bowe gave him before his GAA bow.
"Tommy was one of the best signings we ever made at Ospreys," said Williams. "He was one of the best wingers I ever played against, and alongside."
Bowe was part of the Monaghan minors panel but opted to head down the rugby path on his way to finding stardom with Ulster and Ireland. On the advice Bowe gave him about GAA, Williams said:
"We had a little conversation because, obviously, I knew his background was in Gaelic football.
"I knew I was up against it as I had never really watched the sport. I knew what it was but had never played it, so I was looking for a few tips from him for it.
"The first thing he said was, 'You've got to run. Just run!'
"It was not until I went training that I realised the size of the pitch and the amount of grass you have to cover. It was incredible. For these guys being amateurs and putting all that time and effort in, I take my hat off to them."
One year on and Williams remains in awe of the hundreds of thousands that pour themselves into GAA activities, education, awareness and games.
In a post-match presentation, last year, Williams told a packed clubhouse:
"I didn't know much about Gaelic football. I didn't know much about Donegal and the area but I've been pleasantly surprised.
"I've got a total respect for Gaelic football. These guys are so fit - they've got to cover a far bigger pitch than I used to in rugby. I didn't realise that before I came here. I didn't realise how much running I'd have to do as well! I loved every second of it."
We'd love to see The Toughest Trade revisited later this year with Williams' Glenswilly taking on Bowe's Emyvale. We, and many, many others, would definitely tune in for that.