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A day in the life of Limerick hurler and Leinster Rugby physio David Breen

The 30-year-old is juggling his inter-county career and a full-time job with the province.

Limerick's David Breen.
Limerick's David Breen.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

DAVID BREEN IS the Leinster Rugby academy physio and a stalwart of the Na Piarsaigh hurling team from Limerick bidding for their first All-Ireland SHC club title on St Patrick’s Day.

The 30-year-old divides his time between the capital, where he’s based, and his home by the river Shannon where he travels up to three times a week for training and matches.

He’ll do the journey south-west in two hours if he gets onto the M50 and beats the traffic and after a quick bite after club training he’ll be back in Dublin by midnight.

It’s been his life for the past two seasons while he’s been inside the four walls of Leinster’s headquarters in Belfield but aside from looking for more hours in the day, he’s more than happy with his lot.

Here is an average day in his life.

Morning

Typically, I’d be up at 6.30am for a 7.30 start in work. I get into UCD and the first thing we’d do is meet everyone in the office.

This includes the coaches, strength and conditioning guys and physios.

In this meeting we’d normally just plan out where we are with the week and who the priority guys are with regard to injuries and training.

I’d spend most of my morning with the injured players. They’d all be scheduled to see me at different times, based around their individual work with coaches and their own gym work.

The players would usually have their own meeting before going training so we’d try to get a quick bite to eat around then.

David Breen

Afternoon

What time we eat depends on the day but after lunch we’d be out on the pitch afterwards, be it in Donnybrook or UCD.

After the pitch session the players would come back in and we’d usually triage them, maybe some guys are coming back from injuries so you’re seeing how they got on.

Other guys may have picked up a few knocks on the pitch so we’ll be treating them too.

Late afternoon

We’d have some admin work and a few small things to close off the day.

Then we’d make a plan for the following day, be it scheduling lads in for treatment or working around the strength and conditioning programme.

I usually try to get my own gym session in then. There are good facilities in the club and the ethos is good between the coaches and physios.

We train together as much as we can and then if I was with Na Piarsaigh I’d have to be on the road around 4pm to try and beat the traffic.

Evening

I’ll usually hit Limerick around 6.30pm for training with the club.

I pop home for a quick bite and I’d be back on the road to Dublin and do it all again the following day.

That’s usually my Tuesday and Thursday.

The whole week is scheduled around the game, if you’re playing on a Friday you mightn’t come in until late morning because you’ll be there until 10 at night with the game.

This can be a busy spell after a game because we’d have medicals and triage and whatnot.

David Breen celebrates winning with Shane Dowling Source: Conor Wyse/INPHO

Clearly, Breen has a pretty hectic schedule and when you factor in he was an intercounty hurler at senior level for a number of years, it an impressive workload he gets through.

Playing at the top level of club hurling is no mean feat either and with Na Piarsaigh he’s won three Munster club hurling titles in five years as well as a similar amount of county titles.

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They’ve never contested the showpiece event on St Patrick’s Day and for Breen, it’ll be a proud day lining out in Croke Park with schoolmates and close friends.

Luckily for him, for now, he escapes the hype by being based in the capital.

As well as that, working in an environment where the upcoming clash with Cushendall is rarely discussed also offers a welcome distraction.

In the academy he’d oversee – with the help of other physios, a total of 24 players, all of whom are aiming for full-time contracts after they graduate after three years.

“I’m loving it up here,” he tells The42.

“I’ll probably never love that journey down home twice or three times a week but I do love home at the same time and I love getting back to the club.

“Working in this environment with guys that are equally passionate about their own sport is a great place to be and working with other physios at the top of their game is only helping me in progressing my career. It’s a good spot.
“I wouldn’t have played rugby at all growing up,” he continued,

“I’m a GAA man but you adapt to it quickly. I can learn from them and they can learn from me a bit.

“To be honest, doing what I do is a welcome distraction from the final. There’s no chat about the games and you can just prepare for it like a normal game.

“They all know I’ve a big game, Daniel Davey our nutritionist is also playing on Paddy’s Day (for Ballyboden-St Enda’s) but we don’t expect or get any special treatment.

“We have to be fair to our employers as well and we’re still fully committed in the job, but it’s easy being committed to something you love.”

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