Former Premier League star David Bentley to line out for Crossmaglen Rangers
FORMER English Premier League footballer David Bentley will tonight line out on a GAA pitch for Crossmaglen Rangers.
The ex-England international has already got a taste of Gaelic football following two nights of training with the south Armagh side.
Bentley, who has swapped codes with former Armagh GAA star Aaron Kernan for a television documentary, will be part of the Cross side for a challenge match against local rivals Silverbridge.
During his stay in Crossmaglen, he has also been working at Kernan's family business to get a full flavour of the busy life of an amateur GAA player.
Bentley, who lives in Marbella, took his counterpart's chair in the office at Kernan Property Services yesterday and spent part of his day showing houses in Belfast.
It is all part of a TV3 documentary called The Toughest Trade - linked to the AIB All-Ireland Club championship - which aims to compare the lives of amateur Gaelic players with professional athletes.
Kilkenny hurling star Jackie Tyrell is also taking part in the show, going to Florida to train and play with a Major League Baseball team in a swap with former catcher Brian Schneider.
Aaron Kernan (30), pictured, will swap his life in Crossmaglen for that of a Premier League footballer in Sunderland when he trains at the Stadium of Light with Gus Poyet's side, who are close to the relegation zone.
His father Joe last night described how Bentley had been adjusting to full-time work at their estate agency along with being "a top Gaelic footballer at the same time".
"We met him yesterday for the first time so officially he started working here this morning. He's answered the phone already, I think a lot of people have called up out of curiosity, instead of looking about houses," he told QRadio.
"But he's in Aaron's chair in the office, he's actually showing houses today in Belfast and round the town here, he will be playing a match tomorrow (Wednesday) for Cross.
"He's finding it hard to understand how you work full-time and become a top Gaelic footballer at the same time."
Mr Kernan said Bentley - who played as a winger for clubs including Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur before retiring aged 29, saying he was disillusioned with the game - was also feeling the effects of the tough training sessions with Crossmaglen Rangers.
"He was a bit sore this morning after the training last night - the conditions were a bit heavy up in the field," he said.
"He said he couldn't understand the welcome he got from all the players - he said that isn't in soccer any more, the boys stayed and talked to him and he said training was fun for the first time in a long time."
He added: "I think he will leave here amazed at how somebody can give so much, then be expected to go out and perform at a top level and that's what the whole thing is about - do Gaelic players do more than soccer players?"
The Toughest Trade will be shown on TV3 on March 9.