Lee Chin's just the latest in a line of senior GAA stars to give soccer a go

In the Wexford dual star's case, it's a temporary move to help his home county's League of Ireland club

BY Raf Diallo 14:31 Wednesday 21 September 2016, 14:31 21 Sep 2016

Wexford's Lee Chin ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Renowned hurler, excellent Gaelic footballer and now a "cracking player" on the soccer field.

Lee Chin's talents know few bounds on the sporting field and as confirmed by the manager of Wexford Youths FC last night on Off The Ball, the Wexford GAA dual star will be lining out for the Premier Division soccer club until the end of the season.

"Lee is a fantastic hurler and a great Gaelic footballer as well. But he's a brilliant soccer player. He's actually played League of Ireland First Division when he was a good bit younger with Waterford United. He's a cracking player," Keegan said on Tuesday night, before clarifying that it is a temporary move.

Listen to what Wexford Youths manager Shane Keegan had to say about Chin's move:

Of course, Chin is not the only exponent of Gaelic Games to have made a move into soccer after playing either hurling or Gaelic football at senior inter-county level. 

Dave Barry 

In Dave Barry's case, his love of Gaelic Games and soccer ran in parallel.

A senior inter-county star for Cork's footballers between 1980 and 1991, he won All-Irelands in 1989 and 1990. But for much of that decade, he was also starring on the soccer field with Cork City.

Dublin's Tommy Carr with Dave Barry of Cork ©INPHO

As he once told Off The Ball of the pressure that was put on him to give up soccer, he said: "I was in the papers scoring goals with Cork City. There was nobody else playing any other sport. The hurlers weren't playing soccer. I went to training one day and they came up to me and said 'you have to pack up soccer.'" 

The future Cork City manager did keep playing the sport though as he won the League of Ireland Premier Division as a player in 1993.

 Mick Deegan

Selector Mick Deegan ©INPHO/James Crombie

The 1995 All-Ireland and nine-time Leinster Championship winner with Dublin also played soccer for Crusaders in Northern Ireland and was part of the club's side that won the Irish Premier Division in 1995 and 1997.

As an old 1998 article in the Irish Independent attests, Deegan seemed to reap the benefits of multi-tasking: "Deegan is kept in evergreen condition by a year-round football diet summer is spent with the Dubs and winter with Belfast soccer club Crusaders, the reigning Irish League champions, and Erin's Isle."

Presently, he has been a selector with Dublin senior football boss Jim Gavin.

Michael Donnellan

Galway's Michael Donnellan signs a jersey for a London supporter ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Galway star enjoyed a career of distinction on the Gaelic football field, winning two All-Irelands and five Connacht crowns between 1997 and 2006.

But back in the 1999-2000 League of Ireland season, the three-time All Star signed for Galway United for the second half of the campaign.

Indeed, it turns out a conversation with a certain Brian Kerr inspired him to try out a short spell in the old Eircom League. 

 Kevin Moran

Arguably the most high-profile example, the man who has FA Cup and All-Ireland winners' medals at home even returned to Ireland incognito to play a challenge match for the Dubs without Manchester United knowing. That was in 1980 according to legend.

But he already had All-Ireland winners' medals from 1976 and 1977 before signing for Manchester United in 1978. It wasn't a sudden switch to soccer though as the Dubliner had already played for Bohemians.

Kevin Moran in 1994© INPHO/Billy Stickland

But he maintains that he was a better Gaelic footballer than soccer played despite a career with Ireland and Man United.

"I definitely felt I had much more of an ability with Gaelic Football, I just felt that it was so natural for me to play the game and it came to me easy whereas soccer didn’t, you know. I had to really try and adapt to that and work on that and keep it simple," he once told Off The Ball.

 Jason Sherlock

The 1995 All-Ireland winner is another Dublin man to have given soccer a go, lining out for UCD between 1994 and 1998, before spending the 1998-99 season at Shamrock Rovers.

The forward managed a healthy 40 goals in that time and even won an Ireland under-21 cap in 1995, as well as winning the League of Ireland First Division with UCD.

He did eventually return exclusively to Gaelic football from 2003 until his retirement.


Jason Sherlock ©INPHO/Andrew Paton

 Anthony Tohill

The Derry man won an All-Ireland with the footballers in 1993. But he also had a brief spell on the soccer field.

As well as a two-week trial at Manchester United, Tohill played for Derry City for a season, although an injury led him to decide to concentrate solely on Gaelic football. 

Newstalk's Team 33 have previously looked at some of the examples of GAA players who have tried out soccer:


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