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Ex-players who quit the beautiful game to make sweet music

WE PLUMBED the depths with Give It A Lash Jack, but surprisingly Irish football and music have a decent relationship when there's been a crossover from the football into the music, as proved by the potential possessed by former Ireland and Nottingham Forest player John Burns with his new band, the creditable Nottingham outfit The Establishment.

One of the first men to cross over from the glory game into the music game was Brush Shiels. Back in the day, when music was taking a grip on a teenage Brush, he was a decent footballer of note and did enough to earn a trial with Bohemians, spending time with their B team. But he hadn't the patience for it.

"I was there but it was all too technical, it was all about systems and shapes and using a blackboard. I just wanted them to give me the ball and let me go and play, so I walked away from it," Brush once said of his time at Dalymount. Bohs lost out, Brush hooked up with a beat outfit called Rose Tynan and the Rangers, the starting point for his friendship with Phil Lynott and the emerging Thin Lizzy.

Another music star also spent time in the League of Ireland before hanging up his boots -- only this lad actually played for the first team, as Westlife's Nicky Byrne -- then a young Irish lad back from a spell with Leeds United -- had a short spell in the LOI.

Byrne had actually played underage football for Ireland -- he won two U-18 caps under Brian Kerr in 1997, in the same side as future stars like Damien Duff, Stephen McPhail and Alan Maybury, but he also had a short spell in the League of Ireland.

Released by Leeds, he had some time with Shelbourne but found the chance to play first team football with Cobh Ramblers, making seven appearances in the 1997/98 season.

Rock critics are, of course, very sniffy about the music that Byrne and his Westlife mates churn out (and rightly so), but one Irishman did manage to have a moderately successful football career and also earn serious kudos for his music.

Back in the mid-80s, Ballinteer lad Brendan Tallon was just another young lad from the Dublin schoolboy soccer scene trying to break into a Bohemians side which had names like Jackie Jameson, Rocky O'Brien and Gino Lawless. He did manage a few games in the first team for a Bohs side who spent most of the decade playing second fiddle to Shamrock Rovers, but never impacted on the Bohs first team all that much and after a while drifted away from football and into music.


Tallon's first outfit was rock combo The Coletranes, who had an Irish hit single, Wake Up, but no real impact.

That group later became Revelino, the football background evident as their name was a twist on the Brazilian great Rivelino.

Chart success eluded them, but their albums Revelino (1994), Happiness Is Mine (1996) and their best, To The End (2001) were minor classics, now talked about with (deserved) reverence on various music websites.

The group were probably ahead of their time as their indie rock was largely ignored on release, but their sounds are now widely heard in the music of popular bands like Editors, Interpol and Director, who have successfully looted their older brothers' record collections for the back catalogue of Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, etc.

The closest they came to the big time was in 2001 when one of their songs (Step On High) was included on the soundtrack for the rom-com Blow Dry.