Paul Sharry has admitted that AIB Leinster club success with St Loman’s this weekend would be sweeter than anything he might have achieved in soccer, writes Paul Keane.
The Westmeath star and former county captain was on the books of Shamrock Rovers for three years after being snapped up from Cherry Orchard at 17.
League of Ireland legend Pat Scully drafted him into the Hoops first team though the lure of Gaelic football proved strong and he returned to his first love.
His club is on the brink of their greatest ever achievement now with Moorefield the opposition in Sunday’s provincial final.
“The soccer is a business at the end of the day,” said Sharry. “It’s weird when you see players can be transferred. I remember sitting in the dressing-room in Rovers and someone had just arrived up from Cork City. He was after shifting from Cork to Rovers and that’s where he was based now to play his football. He just had to pack up and go from Cork to Dublin.
“You’re just not going to get that in the club. I grew up playing with the same boys since I was eight or 10 and I’m still looking across at them. You might have one or two lads who are moving county such as Ken Casey and Gareth Hickey, who were in Offaly and moved down the road and are playing with us, but you’d have known them anyway.”
Sharry said the Rovers experience has made him value his GAA club all the more.
“Yeah, that was one of the main deciding factors of why I went back to Gaelic,” he said.
Sharry acknowledged Sunday may be his best opportunity to win a Leinster senior medal as Dublin are dominant at inter-county level.
“That’s true, that’s an honest opinion on it,” he said. “I’d say it was the exact same for every team when Rathnew beat St Vincent’s. It was probably the same talk: ‘Jesus, this is a great opportunity now, a level playing field’.”
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