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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019

Power ranking the 10 best one-time-GAA-playing athletes

With the Championship coming back again, we look at the sports starts who could have made an impact if fate panned out differently.

10. Clinton Morrison

Clinton Morrison DIGITAL Source: INPHO

GRANTED, MORRISON NEVER played GAA for an actual team, but he was one of the more bemused members of the Irish football team when they once played the sport for fun in training.

9. Ciaran Fitzgerald

Ciaran Fitzgerald 1982 Source: INPHO

The former Irish rugby player and coach also played minor hurling for Galway and helped them get as far as the final against Cork in 1970.

8. Simon Zebo

Rugby Union - 2015 RBS Six Nations - Ireland v France - Ireland Training - Carton House Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Ireland and Munster winger at one point played underage hurling for Blackrock in Cork.

7. Shane Long

Tipperary team Source: INPHO

The Southampton striker was also an accomplished minor hurler, appearing in two All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship semi-finals with Tipperary at Croke Park.

6. Finn Balor

Source: HTWsHighlights/YouTube

“I won a minor county championship, and represented Dublin Schools at Croke Park, so I had a pretty decent Gaelic career,” the WWE star told The42 back in January.

5. Kevin Moran

Soccer - Canon League Division One - Manchester United v Newcastle United Source: EMPICS Sport

Undoubtedly the most successful GAA player on this list, Moran won two All-Ireland Senior Football Championships with Dublin before going on to make over 200 appearances for Manchester United among other sides.

4. Niall Quinn

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Sunderland v Chelsea Source: EMPICS Sport

The Irish legend played underage football and hurling for Dublin, featuring in the 1983 All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final and also getting offered a contract to play professional Aussie rules football, before ultimately joining Arsenal.

3. Seamus Coleman

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Everton v Newcastle United - Goodison Park Source: EMPICS Sport

Coleman began his sporting life as a Gaelic footballer with his local GAA team Na Cealla Beaga, before committing to soccer amid interest from Sligo Rovers.

2. Rob Kearney

Rugby Union - RBS Six Nations - France v Ireland - Ireland Training and Press Conference - Carton House Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Before becoming one of the best fullbacks in world rugby, Kearney played GAA for both Naomh Mhuire and Cooley in the Louth Senior Football Championship.

1. Denis Irwin

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Manchester United v Liverpool Source: EMPICS Sport

Grew up playing both Gaelic football and hurling, as well as soccer, in his native Cork with St Finbarr’s GAA club, and once came up against future international teammate Niall Quinn during a minor match at Croke Park.

Who would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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