Rob Kearney was always determined to return to GAA after being told he’d never play the Gaelic football again by a senior figure in Irish rugby.
Former Ireland international Kearney was a keen Gaelic footballer in his youth and played for his local club Cooley Kickhams and the Louth minors before turning his attention to a career in rugby.
His rugby career proved to be a very successful one, as he enjoyed long career with both Leinster and Ireland, as well as touring with the British and Irish Lions on two occasions.
However, Kearney had always intended on playing Gaelic football again, telling the Irish Examiner that the words of a senior figure in the IRFU made him even more determined to return to the sport.
Rob Kearney on returning to GAA.
“I played so much of it when I was younger,” Kearney said of Gaelic football.
“When I signed my first academy contract at 18 there was a bigwig in the IRFU, who will remain nameless, who said, ‘That’s it, you’ll never play another game of Gaelic football in your life’.
“That has always sort of stuck with me a little bit since that day. I always said that if the body was good, I’d like to get back and play a few games.
“It’s nice to get back home, see my folks a little bit more often and I hope to play Barbarians in November, so I needed something to keep me ticking over.”
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀. 𝗔𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀 🏉 pic.twitter.com/S93kXr8FS9
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) September 21, 2021
Potential farewell game with the Barbarians.
Kearney has been playing for his local GAA club Cooley Kickhams since his return from Australia after a six-month stint with the Western Force in Super Rugby, after 16 years away from the sport.
The 35-year-old has yet to announce his retirement from professional rugby, although he has admitted that he has “had a little bit of enough of it” and will act as a pundit on Premier Sports for the upcoming URC season.
The Louth man will likely play at least one more game of top-level rugby, having stated his intention to play for the Barbarians against Samoa this November, but is still undecided on his future beyond that.