Shane Horgan is preparing for his Croke Park return on Sunday admitting he never expected his decision to pursue rugby would lead him back to the home of Gaelic sport.
Horgan grew up playing Gaelic football and made two appearances at the spectacular Dublin venue, which is the fourth biggest arena in Europe behind the Nou Camp, San Siro and Kiev's Olympic Stadium.
On Sunday the 28-year-old will realise his childhood dream of playing in front of a full house at Croke Park when Ireland meet France in a crucial RBS 6 Nations encounter.
It will be the first time an international rugby match has been staged at the ground - Lansdowne Road is undergoing redevelopment - and Horgan is thrilled at the prospect of making history.
'I haven't run on the new Croke Park pitch because at the time the lads were training over there I was injured. It just wasn't the right time for me to start running on it,' said Horgan.
'When I was younger I didn't make it to Croke Park with the Meath minor team. We didn't have a particularly successful year that year but I played there when I was eight.
'My national school got to a final there I also played at the All-Ireland final, in the mini sevens they have at half-time.
'I think though the pitch may have changed since then and I certainly never envisaged going back as a rugby player.
'I played Gaelic football growing up so my dream would always have been to play at Croke Park and experience that.'
Horgan eventually had to commit himself to one sport and he opted for rugby as it allowed him to join the paid ranks with Gaelic football remaining amateur.
'My path changed direction when I was 18. I played a year of minors and also Irish youths and was brought into the Leinster training squad that year by Jim Glennon,' he said.
'Personally, I wanted to commit to one sport and one of them allowed me to do that professionally and the other didn't.
'Like many people of my generation I played every sport I was allowed to play, whether it be athletics or Gaelic or rugby or swimming.
'I think it's good for everyone to do that and I think there are definitely passover skills there.'
It is to Ireland's good fortune that he turned his back on Gaelic football because he has emerged as one of their most important players.
He played starring role in the autumn internationals, using a rare mix of brute strength and subtle touches to help send South Africa and Australia packing from Lansdowne Road.
A knee injury sustained on Heineken Cup duty last month was expected to prevent Horgan from playing against France - he was due to return for the England clash on February 24 - but in private he had targeted Sunday's showdown.
The powerful Leinster back was initially named on the right wing but was switched to inside centre when Brian O'Driscoll pulled out with a hamstring strain on Friday.