Thursday 22 February 2018

Chin reluctantly rules out dual role for now

Wexford's Lee Chin
Wexford's Lee Chin
Leinster and Wexford players Lee Chin (L) and Jack Guiney (R) with Kevin Whelan after an exhibition game in Chicago, USA
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Wexford's Lee Chin has not ruled out the prospect of trying to balance inter-county hurling and football in the same season at some stage in the future.

But after experiencing the stresses of a busy schedule playing both games at a high level in 2013, he is certain that the structure of the GAA just doesn't allow for it at the moment.

As Cork footballers Eoin Cadogan and Aidan Walsh prepare to link up with the Rebel hurlers next week when they return from a team holiday in the Caribbean, Chin has outlined the weight lifted from him since he made his decision to pitch in exclusively with Liam Dunne's hurlers.

"I'm seeing things clearer now that I have decided to concentrate on hurling only and I hope it will help my game," said the 21-year-old.

Chin was the only dual player to operate at the highest level last year and found himself in some challenging positions during the season.

Having hopped between the two codes during the leagues, he featured as a substitute in Wexford's Leinster hurling quarter-final draw with Dublin on the night before he headed to Drogheda to help the footballers to a narrow victory over Louth in the provincial football last eight.

The following week he featured in the replay defeat to the Dubs.

He went on to play a part in victories over Carlow and Antrim in the hurling qualifiers, and was on the losing side against meath in the semi-finals of the Leinster SFC.

A knee injury sustained on duty for the U-21 hurlers as they claimed the Leinster title ended his inter-county season, precluding him from playing for the hurlers in the thrilling extra-time loss to Clare in the qualifiers in thurles or for the footballers in their victory over Longford in the qualifiers the same evening (July 13).

Chin said he would have leaned towards hurlers if he been fit that day. "I was in Thurles that evening and was a water carrier for the team. I suppose that (hurling) would have been my choice."

He also insisted that any pressure he felt last season came from himself and he credited both hurling and football managers for a patient approach to his situation.

"In fairness, both managers were very accommodating last year. But while it is hard to walk away from the footballers and the management, the decision really was easy. Hurling is my first game and it isn't possible to do both.

"I got great experience from it. People often refer to the day I was driven down from Armagh to play in the Walsh Cup final after the football game was called off, but I quite enjoyed that."

As Cadogan and Walsh prepare to spread themselves between two Cork teams, and Clare hurling's Collins brothers, Podge and Sean, prepare to commit some time to the Banner football team, now managed by their father, Chin no longer believes a dual role is feasible at this level.

"If the GAA was able to accommodate a dual player, it could make life a bit easier. But that's not the case," he said.

"The way the fixtures and training are now, it is a bit too much. The game is so professional, there are so many demands, you can't give 50pc."

Irish Independent

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