No regrets for Supple after shunning life in soccer
HAVING made the switch himself, Shane Supple is not surprised that a large number of soccer players who return home from England are turning to the GAA.
FAI international high performance director Wim Koevermans last week revealed that soccer chiefs are getting concerned at the growing trend of young players switching codes when they failed to get contracts across the water.
St Brigid's goalkeeper Supple broke into the first team at Ipswich Town as a promising young player, but he turned his back on the professional game two years ago. And the 24-year-old has no regrets, even if he could have been part of Giovanni Trapattoni's squad heading to Poland next summer if he'd stuck with soccer.
"I'd love to go out to Poland to cheer Ireland on, but I have no sense of regret," he said. "I'd rather be looking forward to a Leinster final with the club. I've no regrets, even if there could have been a possibility of going over if I had stayed with it.
"Certainly, I think the GAA is special to be part of. I don't think you really get that in soccer, it's a different culture altogether.
"You can see lads coming home from England, for whatever reasons -- they have been released or they don't want to do it anymore -- they have got involved in their national sport.
"It is a bit different to the soccer side of things, it is a bit more family orientated.
"It is hard to describe unless you've done both, but we played against Portlaoise last week against Paul Cahillane and he was with Celtic and I'm sure he's happy to be home, like myself."
Success has helped. Supple (right) has skippered the Blanchardstown club to a Dublin championship and could lift the Leinster trophy if his side beat Garrycastle on Sunday.
"I've really enjoyed it, it is all I thought it would be, coming back and getting involved and this year has proved it for me. It's been something special."
Supple admits he has lost plenty of his sharpness since reverting from professional to amateur sport.
"You're only training a couple of nights a week and doing your bits and pieces in the gym," said the former Ireland underage international, who now works at the Mater Hospital.
"It's very difficult to keep up that standard and keep the body tuned. I'm not as fit as I'd like to be. But what can you do? You have to just bite the bullet, unless you're on the dole."