Varley earns chorus of approval on bus trips
While it won't feature in a player's contract, the ability to perform off the pitch can be a major asset. After all, one of the most potentially awkward moments is having to come up with a song for the post-match bus trip.
These songs are usually demanded if you have made your debut, or if you have stepped out of line in some way during the week. There are, though, some ways around having to sing – a decent impersonation can generally suffice.
Fergus McFadden's scarily accurate take on Mike Tyson – "my defence is impregnable, I'm just FEROCIOUS ... " – or Brendan Macken's version of commentator Ryle Nugent always go down well. But mimicry can backfire badly, as seen in the case of one unnamed player's impersonation of a coach that nearly resulted in him being dropped for the last few games of the season.
However, there are those for whom the bus journey is a real stage, as evidenced in the musical careers of lads like Barry Murphy, Niall Breslin and now Damien Varley. The Munster and Ireland hooker was hugely impressive on RTE's 'The Saturday Night Show', where he performed an excellent rendition of 'Lean on Me' to raise funds and promote awareness for the Pink Ribbon Charity on breast cancer.
A really humble and talented person, Varley has been clearly able to hone his singing voice throughout those unpleasant post-match bus trips.
No doubt, now that he has proved his singing credentials on the highest stage, the comparisons with Susan Boyle can only increase...