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Ireland call upon former Armagh footballer McNulty

The experienced sports psychologist has been brought in by Declan Kidney for the duration of the Six Nations.

McNulty at Carton House earlier in the week.
McNulty at Carton House earlier in the week.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

IRELAND MANAGER MICHAEL Kearney believes that the addition of Enda McNulty can be have a significant impact on the team.

Former Armagh footballer McNulty, who won an All-Ireland title in 2002, was named as the official performance psychologist at a press conference today as Declan Kidney looks to sports science ahead of this year’s Six Nations tournament, which begins with a trip to Wales on February 2.

McNulty has worked with Leinster over the past five years but has also helped the likes of golfer Shane Lowry and athlete David Gillick in the past.

Speaking to reports, Kearney spoke glowingly of the new member of the Irish backroom staff.

“Declan would have met Enda a couple of times over the last six months and I think he just felt that there were marginal gains to be had by bringing in somebody with his experience.

“He has been working with sports team for the last 15 years or so and worked with Leinster under Michael Cheika and Joe Schmidt. He would have a lot of experience in working with elite athletes not just with rugby.

He has a long track record in the field and we can take advantage of that. Personally I know him a long time, I’m delighted he’s in and believe he can have an impact on the squad.

“He will observe training sessions, sit in on the coaches’ meetings and is also available to the players on a one-on-one basis if they’d like to talk to him.”

McNulty has been brought in for the duration of the Six Nations but the possibility of extending his stay if all goes well was not ruled out.

“It will be assessed on two fronts by the management and on the impact he can have,” added Kearney. “There are certain tweaks that Enda recommends in terms of communication which can be useful.

“Sports psychology plays an increasingly important role. He has experience in dealing with about 10 or 12 of the squad up to now. They’re familiar with him while some of the others would have talked to him. He’s very comfortable in the team environment.

He’s obviously a former All-Ireland winner and All-Star so he’s used to being around teams and will fit in very well.”

Caption competition: Donncha O’Callaghan doing the unseen work again in Carton House

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Ben Blake

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