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'Then Panti Bliss looks me up and down and goes 'you'll do'' - The man who ran away from the GAA to join the circus

Ronan Brady was a member of the Roscommon county panel 10 years ago, but a period of reflection led to him leaving the game and his teaching job behind, choosing instead to jump through hoops for a living

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Ex-Roscommon footballer Ronan Brady performs with Panti Bliss. Photo credit: Allen Kiely and THISISPOPBABY

Ex-Roscommon footballer Ronan Brady performs with Panti Bliss. Photo credit: Allen Kiely and THISISPOPBABY

Ex-Roscommon footballer Ronan Brady performs with Panti Bliss. Photo credit: Allen Kiely and THISISPOPBABY

MANY books don't live up to their title, but it’s fair to say that abandoning inter-county football with Roscommon, as well as his career as an engineering teacher, to join the circus certainly constitutes Ronan Brady's diverging career paths as 'Worlds Apart'.

Ten years ago, he was a member of Fergal O'Donnell's Roscommon squad that tasted Connacht SFC success alongside the likes of Donie Shine and Cathal Cregg. His was a monastic devotion engrossed in football with a job in teaching, along with every other life choice, helping to facilitate his inter-county dream.

Nothing else mattered, but an arthritic ankle would soon force him to assess what he really wanted from life, and it took him in a radically different direction, somewhere he, as well as those who knew him best, could scarcely have imagined.