herald

Sunday 20 January 2019

I'll be cheering on my old pal Cian from Croker stands, says rugby hero Luke

RUGBY ACE Luke Fitzgerald is going back to his footballing roots and will be cheering on pal Cian O'Sullivan at the All-Ireland showdown.

Grand Slam hero Luke will be shouting from the stands at HQ this weekend as Blackrock College school pal Cian takes to the pitch with the Blues.

The 24-year-old has his Dubs jersey ready to go and will be making a day of the big occasion at Croker: "I'm really excited, there's a big crowd of us going to support Cian and the team," he told the Herald.

Luke will be joining up with friends early in the day and said that although he won't be able to enjoy a drink afterwards, he is hoping to toast a Dublin win.

"It's great for the county -- Kerry are so experienced, but Dublin will be great.

"I think it'll be very tight --I can't see it being too high scoring because of the nerves of the day.

"I always feel it's better to do well defensively in such a big occasion.

"The hype around the city is amazing, there's such a good buzz," he added.

Luke -- who has seen his fair share of high-profile fixtures for both his province and his country -- is keeping his fingers crossed for Cian. "I'll send him a text to wish him luck and then leave him to focus on the game."

Leinster man Luke also spoke of the pressure his pal is under with the intense media hype.







Pressure

"Of course, there's pressure there, but the players will be concentrating on the task ahead at this stage.

"It depends on the individual obviously, but I've always tried to remove myself from it."

The winger -- who lived in Cork as a child before making the move to the capital -- has spent many summer holidays down in the Kingdom and knows how hungry the Kerry lads will be going into battle.

"I was at the Munster final between Kerry and Cork-- they're fantastic footballers, it'll be a really interesting day."

An avid GAA fan, Luke said that watching such high-quality performances from Dublin recently has reminded him of his days playing at Sandyford GAA club Naomh Olaf.

"I was involved in both hurling and football before my rugby days, but I had to finish up when I was 14 -- the rugby was taking up a lot of my time. I couldn't do both.

"I actually really miss it -- when I'm finished with professional rugby I'd love to go back and play for them -- but hopefully that's a long way away yet."

The Dubliner also gave the thumbs-up to All-Star forwards Bernard Brogan and Kerry hero Colm 'Gooch' Cooper.

"Both Brogan and Cooper are fantastic -- two of the best players of their generation.

"They'll be difficult to stop -- I hope Cian can do a job marking the Gooch too," he added.

hnews@herald.ie

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