Hurling is something ingrained in every Irishman to a certain degree. Some of our most famous sporting stars have a background in the ancient game. Simon Zebo is of course one suc athlete.
For the Cork native, hurling was his first love. Playing with Blackrock, the Munster-winger always held the Clash of the Ash close to his heart, since starting from a young age.
When push came to shove, he had to decide between the sliotar and the oval ball, and it could have gone either way.
“Picking between the two [hurling and rugby] was difficult. When I was 16, I had a sit-down with my family and decided which route I was going to take.
“It was a very tough decision; if it was made at the start of the summer when we had championship towards the end, I could have chosen hurling.
“It came down to the fact that we were coming into rugby season.”
Nonetheless, he still has enormous respect for hurling, and attributes his prowess on a rugby field to his background with the ‘Rockies’.
“It’s so unique as a sport becuase of the speed of it. The talent that’s required to play it and skill level is on par with no other. It’s hugely entertaining.
“It’s the best sport in the world!”
Zebo isn’t the only member of the Munster Rugby squad with an interest in the small ball, although there are different degrees of enthusiasm.
“There are some massive hurling fans in the Munster team. Donnacha Ryan is a pretty big Tipp fan. He certainly lets us know when Tipp are doing well!
“Conor Murray is a bit of a Limerick hurling fan. He’s a bit of a blow-in though, he doesn’t know much about the sport. He never played hurling.”
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— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 10, 2017