Tuesday 21 November 2017

Tipp star reveals the two attributes that would have made Shane Long a 'massive addition' to hurling

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Shane Long will likely lead the line for Ireland against Belgium this afternoon at Euro 2016 but he could easily have been representing Tipperary in Sunday's Munster hurling semi-final had his career taken a different turn.

Long played for Tipperary minors as a 16-year-old and again a year later, excelling in the forward line, before deciding to concentrate on his professional football career.

It is hard to say he made the wrong the decision, with the 29-year-old striker now a Premier League star with Southampton.

But it is interesting to speculate on what sort of transition Long would have made to the senior team, and whether he could have become an even better hurler than he is a footballer.

RTÉ tried to find out, with the Countrywide program asking Tipp hurler James Woodlock - a former minor team-mate of Long's - about the Ireland international's underage career.

Woodlock singled out two key qualities that make Long a top class footballer - and which would have seen him do serious damage to hurling defences too.

"Shane has serious pace and that allows him to be a great finisher," Woodlock said.

"He has a great ability to leap from the ground which is good for the sport he is in.

"It is a massive loss that Shane has gone to play soccer he would have been a massive addition to Tipperary hurling.

"We played two Munster finals, one where we beat Cork and another where we lost. We then lost two All-Ireland semi-finals unfortunately."

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