West Brom defender Dara O’Shea is comfortable with the rough and tumble of Premier League

Albion defender Dara O'Shea says the rough and tumble of Gaelic football and hurling was a great learning curve for the physicality of the Premier League.

Newcastle United's Joelinton (left) and West Bromwich Albion's Dara O'Shea
Newcastle United's Joelinton (left) and West Bromwich Albion's Dara O'Shea

The Dublin-born star is currently on international duty with the Republic of Ireland and impressed despite his side falling to a 3-2 loss against Serbia on Wednesday.

O'Shea has been in excellent form for the Baggies in recent weeks with the 21-year-old's performances keeping Semi Ajayi out of the team.

And he believes playing Gaelic football and hurling when he was younger – two sports that are notorious for nasty injuries – has helped him cope with the physical demands that come with playing in the Premier League.

"Playing those two sports when I was younger brought me up in that environment of being tough and ready – I like that said of sport," O'Shea said.

"To be honest, hurling is not as dangerous as Gaelic in my personal opinion. Hurling, the closer you get to someone, the less likely you are going to get hurt, as mad as that sounds.

"In Gaelic there’s a lot more bad injuries and bad tackles. It was tough but I loved playing Gaelic and hurling because you’re playing with your friends at the end of the day.

"It’s a community sport, you play for the one club, that’s where you live and that’s where you grow up. They tend to be your friends for life."

O'Shea continued playing Gaelic football and hurling after joining St Kevin's Boys – a football club famous for producing the likes of Liam Brady, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick.

But he said once he got to St Kevin's, he quickly realised being a professional footballer was his dream.

"I started to progress a lot more when I went to St Kevin’s," the defender continued.

"And then I started to get opportunities to go on trial at clubs. It opened my eyes to how good football really was.

"I was on trial at a few clubs prior to signing for West Brom.

"But St Kevin’s had a link with West Brom and we’d been coming over every January and playing games against West Brom.

"I was used to the surroundings. I think I came over to West Brom the most on trial and it just felt the right fit for me.

"My family felt the same, that it was a nice family club where I could kick on and hopefully break into the first team, which I’ve done."

Away from football, O'Shea enjoys playing golf and taking his dog for a walk.

So what type of dog does a bruising Premier League centre-back own?

"It’s a cavapoo," O'Shea said with a smile.

"He is six months old. He is like a teddy bear. He was my Mrs’ choice. I did want to get a bit of a bigger dog!"

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