Saturday 23 September 2017

Rob Kearney: Attention seeking pundits like to take "cheap shots"

They sensationalise things and look for a bit of attention, says Kearney

Rob Kearney in action for Ireland
Rob Kearney in action for Ireland
Ireland rugby star Rob Kearney watches what he eats
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Ireland and Leinster player Rob Kearney has criticised rugby pundits who serve up "cheap shots" for the sake of sensationalism.

"I think some of them do take cheap shots, yeah. They try to sensationalise things, maybe try and look for a little bit of attention. Then, there are others whose opinion I would respect quite a lot," the player says.

"I'm sure most people reading would be able to decipher who and what I'm referring to. I won't get hugely into names but the past players, obviously Ronan O'Gara, Shane Horgan, Brent and Conor O'Shea, they all speak a lot of sense."

Kearney is now following in the footsteps of Ronan O'Gara and has signed a two-year contract as brand Ambassador for Newbridge Silverware.

While the Leinster fullback/wing acknowledges that media punditry, which Ronan is now doing with RTÉ, is "definitely an option" when the Co Louth native finally hangs up his rugby boots, the 28-year-old concedes "I don't know if I would be any good at it.

"I love sport, I love rugby, it's all I know, it's what I have done all my life, so seeing a situation where I retire from the game and not have any sort of exposure to it is quite daunting."

Kearney rules out coaching, saying: "I don't think I would be a particularly good coach. I think I would find it difficult being on the field every day and not being able to play."

However, Kearney says he is interested in "the background to how a club and an organisation is run". He already has an economics and a business degree to his credit and a string of business interests ranging from a pub partnership with three other Leinster players in The Bridge in Ballsbridge, a recruitment company and an interiors/lifestyle store called Industry in Dublin.

The player's exit strategy, he says, is "to keep playing for as long as I can to a decent standard".

"I don't want to be playing at 35 years of age, hobbling out onto the RDS and playing really poorly.

"By the time I am coming to my final years of my career, I want to be well equipped with loads of different paths and options that I can explore so that when that time comes, I can start enjoying those last few years as opposed to worrying what the future holds."

For his Masters at the Dublin Business School, Kearney wrote his thesis on the brand equity of Leinster rugby. Kearney's first role with the Co Kildare company is to front the Guinness by Newbridge Silverware Collection which launches next Tuesday at the Guinness Storehouse but without Kearney - as he will be in Ireland camp, preparing for the next game.

The collection which took three years to design includes watches, jewellery and homewares.

Posing with the homewares in photos taken by photographer Barry McCall, Kearney admits that he leaves a lot of the cooking to his younger brother, fellow Leinster player Dave, with whom he shares the house he built near his club.

He enjoys juicing after getting a juicer for a Christmas present and his post-match treat tomorrow will be a pizza with cheese, pepperoni and adding pineapple which is always controversial, he laughs.

"For me, everything on a day-to- day basis is how to become a better rugby player. That's really the basis of how I live my life and my diet is probably the one area that I can make the most gains on and by cooking for yourself at home and knowing exactly what produce you are putting into your own food is probably the best way to improve your diet," he said.

Kearney says he enjoys working with Irish brands. "We are all proud to be Irish and like to support each other.

"I've kept this Newbridge Silverware campaign pretty quiet but when the players see it, I'm expecting slagging. We get it with everything. It's when you don't get slagged, you need to be worried."

Read more: George Hook: Ireland can restore romance and run 'blue monster' ragged

Read more: Schmidt's men deserve to be shown the love

Irish Independent

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