Robbie Henshaw, Shane Horgan, Rob Kearney, Tadhg Furlong.

The names of Gaelic footballers who have successfully turned their hand to rugby come readily to mind.

Tomás O'Leary was an All-Ireland minor hurling winner with Cork before he claimed a grand-slam as Ireland scrum-half.

But rugby to hurling is perhaps a route less travelled.

In an alternate dimension, Dublin corner-back Paddy Smyth might be in South Africa right now rather than preparing for Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final against the Rebels.

"I went to school in Belvedere, a big rugby school," the Clontarf native told RTÉ Sport. Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll "only grew up around the corner".

"I played Junior Cup and after that it was curtailed a bit, I had some shoulder problems. I would have played 12. Ball carrying, not much skills to it.

"I slag the lads saying 'I'd be over in the Lions now if it wasn't (for hurling)'

"Rugby would have been one of the main influences. I would have played a lot of Gaelic growing up, we won a minor championship with Clontarf.

"I think I was humming and hawing about going back for Senior Cup but I got called in in 2017 to the Dublin panel so that made my mind up fairly quickly."

The eventual decision to focus on the small ball was helped by the influence of his father, "A big hurling man" who "claims to have played minor and U-21" for the Dubs but for Smyth trying everything was a blessing.

"I take things from all different sport. The rugby obviously has the physicality, the GAA probably has the hand-eye co-ordination, same with the hurling, it's more fitness based in GAA as well.

"Then you have your dual debate. But I would, when you're growing up, try to play as many sports as possible."

Cork got the better of Dublin in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final

Smyth was a 15-year-old in the Hogan Stand the last time Dublin made it to an All-Ireland semi-final, coincidentally one they lost to tomorrow's opponents.

"Cork are a good side," he said. "They knocked us out last year, but it was a close game. We have probably identified a couple of things from that game.

"Structurally we definitely feel defensively more solid. Obviously they have great pace, they have some great attackers but we definitely feel a bit stronger at the back and we have to hurt them more on the scoreboard up front I'd say.

"They're good. Quality forwards. Physical around the middle. Just trying to identify their strengths, nullify them. try and spot any weaknesses.

"We were watching them at the weekend, they're quality hurlers. But we know ourselves, if we bring our performance levels, we'll definitely be in with a good shout."

Paddy Smyth pictured at the launch of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship

For many, Dublin's Leinster semi-final win over Galway was the surprise result of the summer so far. But Smyth insists there is no lack of self-belief in the Dublin camp.

"We were confident going into it," said Smyth. "In 2019, we had a big win against Galway. Obviously, it didn't end up the way we wanted it to after. But we’d no fear going into it. I’m two from two against Galway in championship so there was no fear.

"Growing up at minor, I won a Leinster final. The team we have now, we’ve six or seven lads my age. We won a Leinster final. Just trying to build that tradition in Dublin."

Dublin lost four players - Covid close contacts - on the morning of the Leinster final and only scored 0-19 to Kilkenny's 1-25.

Smyth knows that won't be enough to beat Cork but he's backing his forward colleagues to deliver in Thurles.

"Look, there's some quality forwards. Donal Burke, he could score from anywhere really. Danny (Sutcliffe) has been on fire this year.

"Obviously, our conversion against Kilkenny wasn’t at the level we wanted to achieve.

"(We're) just trying to spread the scoring responsibility around. Hopefully chip in from the backs as well."

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Follow all the championship matches this weekend with our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app.

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