By Alistair McMurran

When Warren Kearney was growing up in Ranfurly he wanted to be an All Black like his great uncle.

He is now an international curler.

Jimmy Kearney was a key player in the great Otago Ranfurly Shield teams of the late 1940s.

He was also in the post-war Kiwis rugby team and played 22 games for the All Blacks.

Warren Kearney was encouraged to excel at rugby by his great uncle before he died in 1998.

Kearney (24), a development officer with the Otago Rugby Football Union, has been a loose forward in the Pirates premier team in Dunedin for the past five years and still has the rugby dream.

His more realistic goal is to represent New Zealand in curling at the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia.

Kearney, the third in the New Zealand team at this week’s Winter Games, started curling in Ranfurly at the age of 15.

“It was a good social sport and I could fit it in with my rugby.”

He first played internationally for the New Zealand junior team in 2003 and has been in the senior team for the past three years and will contest his third Pacific championships in Japan in November.

“It’s definitely harder than domestic curling,” he said. “If you make a mistake you are punished for it.”

Kearney enjoys the precision and finesse that is neededto excel in curling.

“If you improve a little bit it can make a big difference,” he said.

Kearney studied for a sports management diploma at the Sports Institute of Otago in 2003 and has since completed a marketing and management degree at the University of Otago.

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