Ireland rugby legend Tony Ward opens up about his parallel love for soccer

Munster and Ireland rugby legend chats to Oisin Langan and Richie McCormack about his soccer spells

BY Raf Diallo 16:49 Wednesday 11 May 2016, 16:49 11 May 2016

Tony Ward in 1981 friendly with Limerick ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

A couple of weeks ago, Ireland and Munster rugby legend Tony Ward was named honorary president of League of Ireland soccer club Limerick FC.

The 61-year-old, of course, was not only involved in rugby during his playing career but also played League of Ireland football with both Shamrock Rovers and Limerick in the 1970s and '80s, and also played soccer in his youth.

Ward joined Richie McCormack and Oisin Langan on Newstalk's Airtricity League Podcast this week and he recalls that combining soccer and rugby at high levels concurrently had benefits for him. 

"If anything, Richie, [playing soccer too] helped my fitness at the time," he said.

"When I started playing rugby, you had to be that little bit heavier - and nothing like today when you look at the weights of players today in the professional game by comparison - but even back then, you had to have that bit more meat on you to survive in rugby at the higher level and trying to combine that with playing football where you obviously needed to be quicker and more agile, that was a difficult balancing act at the time. It was difficult and yet certainly worthwhile."  

He also spoke about sport in Limerick "won him over" and also discussed the sociological side of being involved in the soccer and rugby worlds at the time. 

Ward also spoke about why its important for kids and teenagers not to be constrained into sticking to one sport from a very early age, explaining how transferable skills can be between different codes.

Ex-St Pats player Damien Lynch also joined Richie and Oisin on the podcast. Listen to both interviews on the podcast player below or on iTunes:

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