Byrne goes back to his roots

June 26, 2008
Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions rugby star Shane Byrne has revived his GAA career with his native Aughrim after a 17-year lapse. The ex-hooker, who is as famous for his mullet hair style as for his exploits on the rugby field, lined out at centre back for his home club in a Wicklow junior 'C' league match against Coolkenno last week in what was his first GAA match since the under 16 grade. "I did fine," said the former Blackrock College student. "It's very different from rugby where you mark space instead of marking a man, so I found it quite hard to adjust and the lad I was marking scored a few points off me as well. I don't have the skills yet, but I know what I can do." Byrne, whose switch to full forward failed to stop Aughrim from crashing to a heavy defeat, feels the game is far less physical than when he lasted kicked an O'Neill's ball. "I remember from growing up there was a lot more contact. Now the ref blows for even the slightest contact. It's a physical game and everybody is quite happy to play it physical so why not let them play it physical. "And the jerseys have changed. They're a bit bloody small for me," he jokingly added.


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