Here is a list of five footballers from the Republic of Ireland who excelled at other sports.
It’s quite an achievement to be one of the best multi-sport footballers and the Irish have lead the way.
Kevin Moran (Gaelic Football)
The Dubliner is well known for his footballing career at Manchester United, but also is one of very few men who can boast holding 2 All-Ireland Senior Football titles at the same time. A gifted man with his feet, Moran won an All-Star in 1976, and crossed the pond to Manchester United in 1978, scoring 21 goals for the Reds in a 10-year spell before finishing his career at Blackburn in 1994, having represented Ireland at major tournaments as well. A man with a very versatile trophy case, Moran is unique as they come.
The former Sunderland man was a talented hurler in his youth, playing in the 1983 All-Ireland Minor Hurling final at just 16, before rejecting an Aussie Rules contract to go play professional soccer. His youth career at Arsenal was a success, before he went on to spend the vast majority of his career at Manchester City and Sunderland, with six years at each club. Quinn made 92 appearances for Ireland, but having hung up his boots at soccer, he made a late foray into GAA once more, picking up a Junior C County Football title with Eadestown in 2008.
Shane Long (Hurling)
Shane Long made a name for himself banging in goals for St Michaels, as well as that though, it was as a Tipp hurler he had garnered a reputation. He played for Tipperary in two All-Ireland minor semi-finals, in 2003 and 2004. The Gortnahoe man eventually settled on football, plying his trade in England with Reading, West Brom, Hull and Southampton – as well as scoring the famous goal as Ireland beat World Champions Germany 1-0 in Dublin in 2015. He has considered a return to hurling, and if past clips are anything to go by, Tipp really missed out on him.
Aaron Ramsey (Rugby League)
The former Arsenal star had a promising career at the rugby code as a youngster, being offered a contract by giants St Helens, but rejected the offer to take up professional football with Cardiff. It proved a good move for Ramsey, as he went on to become a cult hero in football, playing for the Gunners for 11 years, scoring in 2 FA Cup finals. He now plies his trade for Juventus in Italy and could perhaps prove an option for Conor O’Shea’s Azzurri should they ever get stuck.
Phil Neville (Cricket)
The lesser known of the Neville brothers, Phil was an incredibly talented cricketer at underage level. The former Manchester United full-back was actually captain of his country at U-15 level, plus one of the youngest players to ever line out for Lancashire’s B team, which included now renowned cricket star Freddie Flintoff.
It’s been remarked by many that Neville was even better than Flintoff at the time, and brother Gary even pointed that he reckons Phil would’ve gone on to captain the England senior side. A career with football was the path chosen, and not a bad one either, given his 6 Premier League medals and a UEFA Champions League crown, as well as his current role in charge of the England Women’s side.