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Rugby nearly ended my music career -- Bressie

TV star Niall Breslin's music career was almost ended by an aggravated rugby injury.

The Voice Of Ireland judge (32) was forced to have surgery over Christmas.

Bressie's little finger and knuckle were left badly damaged after his stint with Leinster from 2002-2004. But recently it started affecting his ability to perform.

"It was an old rugby injury so I went into hospital at Christmas to have surgery. I got a chest infection while I was in hospital so this is my second day out of bed. He realised that surgery was his only option, adding: "My fingers had started curling up and I had started looking like Jeremy Beadle so I went into the doctor and he said, 'You've got to fix that and fix it quick'.

"They would have ended up completely curled and would have been useless.

"It's fine if you're a guitarist but I play piano as my first instrument and I found myself not being able to play."

The burly star will be returned to our small screens last night when the Voice Of Ireland started its second series.

Last series his act Pat Byrne won but he said that many of this year's contestants have tried to emulate his success with lots of auditions from aspiring singer/ songwriters.

"This time around, people assumed they had listened to everything we had said. There's some amazing singers who just had it but there's a fine line between a professional singer and an amateur singer," he said.

"A lot of people think they're better than they are. There was one in particular, I wanted to get on stage and drag him off."