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Rugby

'My best rugby growing up always came after GAA season' | Tommy Bowe

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

16:00 25 Nov 2020

When Tommy Bowe was 17 he made a decision about the direction of his sporting life. 

Having tried his hand at everything from golf to horse-riding, tennis to soccer, Bowe finally decided in 2001 to step away from GAA in favour of rugby.

It was a difficult decision, Bowe told Bernard Brogan on OTB Sports' new series, The Bernard Brogan Podcast.

"GAA was everything to me growing up," the former Ulster and Ireland winger detailed to Brogan.

"I am from a little village called Emyvale which is in north Monaghan. Listen, Monaghan wouldn't be renowned for their rugby, that's for sure there is only one rugby club in the whole county.

"But really growing up gaelic football was everything to me. I played for the local parish, we had so many rivalries between Scottstown and Monaghan Harps – these rivalries I still remember the emotional attachment to it."

As some in sport seem to be increasing the pressure on young people to dedicate themselves to just one sport, Bowe said he saw his dual sporting talents was an advantage on the pitch.

"I actually attribute a huge amount of the skills I had, from gaelic football [being] transformed into the rugby side of things."

Returning to the oval ball every winter after a season of football, the grand slam winner said he played his best rugby when GAA technique was still at the forefront of his mind

"Every year when I came back from gaelic football to rugby, I was playing the best rugby I ever played because of certain things like attacking the ball.

You know yourself, when there's a kick out in gaelic football it's all about attacking the ball and trying to catch it at the highest point in the air but in rugby, they cradle the ball and catch it into their chest."

The transferrable skills are something, the 2010 Six Nations Player of the Year said, should be exploited more in Irish rugby.

"It's definitely a skill set within Irish rugby that we really need to excel and try and use because so much of the rugby team have a gaelic background.

"We do have that strength above a lot of nations definitely in taking different skillsets."

SuperValu – proud sponsors of the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championships – see YouTube.com/SuperValuIreland for more details

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Bernard Brogan Emyvale IRFU Irish Rugby Monaghan GAA Six Nations The Bernard Brogan Podcast Ulster Rugby

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