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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018

Meet the Limerick man who has one of Cork's top hurling clubs in peak condition

David Moriarty is strength and conditioning coach with Glen Rovers.

IT STARTED WITH a phone call from Tommy Dunne in December 2013, David Moriarty recalls.

The men knew each from Setanta College, where budding strength and conditioning coaches are tutored and mentored to the highest standards.

Moriarty was, and still is, a lecturer there and at the time, Dunne was in the process of completing his degree.

“He had some kind of relation involved with Glen Rovers,” Moriarty remembers.

“They were looking for a strength and conditioning coach.

“I met Richie Kelleher and Ian Lynam, manager and hurling coach, in the Charleville Park Hotel.

david David Moriarty is a lecturer with Setanta College.

“What I got from them was a good vibe – they were involved in 2010 when they got to a county final and they had somebody from Dublin doing something similar.

“I started in the last week of January 2014.”

By the end of the season, Rovers were back in another county final but it was a chastening experience.

Sarsfields dished out a 2-18 to 0-8 beating but to their credit, Rovers regrouped and are back again this afternoon for the Páirc Uí Rinn showpiece.

Patrick Horgan celebrates at the final whistle Patrick Horgan is a key man for Glen Rovers. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The gap should be much closer, Moriarty hopes, and the players have another year of his work under their belts.

He brings plenty of experience to the job, having worked with the Limerick senior footballers from November 2001 until July 2005, before linking up with the county’s hurlers for a two-year spell alongside Richie Bennis from July 2006.

As well as his current role with Glen Rovers, Moriarty is also the lead strength and conditioning coach with Young Munster, for whom he previously played rugby.

“I didn’t play hurling and Gaelic Football to a great extent,” he explains.

“I gave up at 19 years of age – rugby was my game.

Ian Lynam Ian Lynam, Glen Rovers hurling coach. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“The S & C programme should always be guided by and reflect the demands of the sport and rugby and hurling are poles apart.

“Rugby is very much power and strength oriented, breaking and making tackles, while hurling is very fast – speed and agility are the keys.”

When Moriarty arrived on the northside of Cork city to take up his post with Glen Rovers, he got the ‘buy in’ that he was looking for.

“I did a fitness test on the lads, they were in decent enough nick,” he recalls.

“Obviously some were in better nick than others and the first three months was concentrated on increasing strength and power output, looking at their anaerobic capacity.

Richie Kelleher Glen Rovers manager Richie Kelleher. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

“Because the numbers were so big on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we divided them into groups – one group on the field and the other in the gym.

“It was a fairly good and decent equipped gym but I said get rid of x, y and z, the machines, and put more money into free weights and medicine balls.

“Come the brighter evenings on the field, I continued to give them resistance programmes but my main focus then was on increasing their game-related fitness.

“I did a lot of drills with them at the highest intensity possible.

“That’s also when Ian’s focus on the coaching elements of the game came into play.

“We could bounce things over and back and he was a different voice when they were getting sick of me, and vice versa. 

“Obviously last year was relatively successful in that we got to the county final.

Tadgh Og Murphy lifts the cup Sarsfields romped to victory in last year's Cork final. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

“I don’t think we did ourselves justice and while Rovers will be remembered for 2014 in that they really underperformed and were badly beaten in the county final, I don’t think the team was given enough credit for the work done up to that.

“The main motivation that is driving us this year is redemption, making up for the failure of last year’s county final.

“We didn’t do ourselves justice last year, we were a better team than we showed in last year’s county final and hopefully our performance can reflect that on Sunday.

“Whether that is good enough to win on Sunday remains to be seen. Sarsfields are probably the best team in Cork over the past ten years or so.”

What Rovers have is excellent team spirit, older players like Graham Callanan and David Cunningham and at the other end of the spectrum, some minor graduates who were blooded last year.

Nathan Wall speaks to team captains Tadgh Og Murphy and Graham Callanan Graham Callanan (right) was Rovers captain for last year's county final. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

“These guys have really developed physically over the last 18 months,” Moriarty says.

“And that’s testament to the work the club did.

“I remember doing a forum on the long term player development pathway with the underage coaches in the club, stuff like ‘this is what you need at 6, 8, 10 years of age, physically, not technically or hurling wise.

“They bought into it and were open to the ideas I brought. That’s the purpose of it – leave the club in a better place than when I came there first.”

Whenever he leaves, he’ll leave with good wishes and plenty of memories to last a lifetime.

On the Ballincollie Road, he’s been made feel very welcome.

Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the Glen, very dedicated players willing to learn from the ‘outsider’”, Moriarty smiles.

“People often say Cork city is a parochial area but I have never found that, the club have always supported me in what I have being trying to do here, be that is developing or buying equipment for the gym.”

A 26th county title, and first since way back in 1989, would make his time there all the sweeter.

Here are this weekend’s key GAA club fixtures from around the country

The Limerick senior hurlers have appointed a new coach from Tipperary

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