Describe Your Career To Date
I have been a member of the Kilkenny senior hurling squad since 2007 and have been very fortunate to be part of six (now seven) All-Ireland winning teams during that era.
What does your weekly commitment to the county game look like?
With the way the inter-county game has developed in the last few years, there is a constant need for players to operate in a set-up that is as professional as possible. A typical in-season training week for us would contain three hurling field sessions, two gym sessions, three recovery sessions as well as skill sessions done on an individual basis. Added to this would be physio sessions on recovery days along with rehab and corrective exercises done on rest days.
In what way has the GPA supported your own personal development?
The GPA has been a huge help to my personal development to date. Through the players’ body I have had the oppurtunity to take a career break from my current job and complete a fulltime Masters Course in DCU. I also availed of many other services through the GPA such as Personal Career Development Programmes to aid me in the direction I want to go in my working life. This has had a great influence on both my career and my outlook on my own future in terms of the choices I will make when I am finished as an inter-county player.
Have other players within your squad availed of support through GPA programmes? Is there potential for others in your county squad to benefit?
I feel that the courses and programmes available to players in my county could be utilised a lot more and with increased awareness of the opportunities afforded to players through the GPA Development Programme, these courses will increase greatly in popularity.
Do you think players and other stakeholders in the game understand the importance of personal development?
I think that there is a tendency for players to put proffesional career goals on the long finger until their GAA career is nearing an end and this can lead to many missed opportunities, especially among younger players.
What are the biggest challenges facing players in retirement?
The main challenge affecting a county player when their career is finished is finding the activities to fill the massive void left. It is important that a player in this situation is in the right environment and the right career in order to pursue the next goal that they wish to achieve, this time off the field.
In terms of what the GPA can do – what is the most important single message you could give to your colleagues on county panels all over the country?
The most important message I can give to players across the country is to speak up and make your views known to your GPA reps and ensure that you enquire and investigate what the GPA can do for you as a person rather than as a player.