"It was torture but it hardened me" - training with Ireland's strongest man on way to county final MOTM 2 months ago

"It was torture but it hardened me" - training with Ireland's strongest man on way to county final MOTM

Mike McMahon was the hero of the day for Newcastle West on Sunday, as the Limerick club retained their county senior football crown.

The 36-year-old full forward kicked 1-3, won man-of-the-match and even popped up in his own full back line late on, as Newcastle West pulled out all the stops to keep Adare at bay.


With darkness descending, Jimmy Lee's side eventually prevailed after extra-time.

McMahon wasn't the only one out on his feet at that stage - there were men cramping left, right and centre - but it's no surprise the veteran kept going because, over the last twenty years, he's always been their man for all seasons.

And while you might think the big man would be winding down at this stage, that it might all be catching up on him, the truth is that, as a dual player for Newcastle West, and a rugby player for Thomond, he's going as well as ever and he's still as hungry as ever.


"I try and train as much as I can," McMahon explained to The GAA Hour.

"I do my own thing when I'm warming up and to be fair to the lads and the management, they all understand that.

"I fall in when I need to fall in because I know what I need at this stage. I'm not quite gone to the Ledley King status, where I just play matches and don't train," he adds with a laugh.


McMahon is your archetypal number 14 and he puts a lot of it, his size and strength, down to the training he does with fellow Limerick man Pa O'Dwyer, Ireland's Strongest man.

"I do a lot of training with Pa O'Dwyer, he won Ireland's strongest man five times and he competes regularly internationally in the world's strongest man.

"I've found that it's stood to me, during lock-down and so on, it was torture but it hardened me."

So what sort of training is that?


"I wouldn't have any of the younger lads doing it, they're at a different stage but I'm able to do it and I enjoy it. I lost a good bit of weight a couple of years ago as well and that's standing to me too.

"You've a lot of standard stuff. A couple of days a week then, you could be loading atlas stones, you could be doing log presses over-headed.

"I was pulling a tractor there one day up at Pa's father's farm so if you want to call that extreme, it's extreme enough. Outside of that, it's mostly standard gym work."

For now, it's time to enjoy this one. Nemo Rangers are next up in the Munster semi-final in two and a half weeks and if there's one thing for sure, it's that the Cork boys will have their hands full with Mike Mc.

"There's a lot of these young lads winning their first county! I don't know were a couple of them even born when I started playing senior football and with the intermediate hurling properly in 2003!


"We're a big dual club, playing premier intermediate, we had ten or 12 throughout the two panels. We'd nine weeks championship in a row at one stage so it was busy."

Listen to the full interview here.