Belfast Telegraph

Biting back: Ulster Rugby captain Rory Best's choice is not the one for me

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts.

By Steven Beacom

Sporting facts you may not know, number 57: Rory Best is a big Middlesbrough fan.

Much as I admire Rory and hope that his Ulster team defeat Munster in a vital PRO12 League clash at the Kingspan Stadium tomorrow, I'd prefer if he wasn't celebrating a Boro victory this evening.

The north east outfit are away to Brentford in the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final.

Nothing personal against Middlesbrough, but I want the Bees to win promotion purely because it would mean another Northern Ireland player in the Premier League.

When you think about it we have precious few strutting their stuff in the most watched league in the world.

Northern Ireland might be closing in on a place at the Euro 2016 finals but we really could do with more from here making it big over there.

If Brentford were to beat Boro and then Ipswich or Norwich in the Wembley final, Stuart Dallas would be a top flight footballer in England taking on his beloved Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and the rest.

And what a way to do it... from little Coagh United to Crusaders to Brentford.

Like ex-Coleraine hero Gareth McAuley, now a respected defender with West Brom, Dallas could become a poster boy for what a young man starting out in Irish League football can achieve.

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