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27th Jan 2022

Padraig Pearses’ star reveals what it’s like training for an All-Ireland Club semi-final when it would normally be pre-season

Lee Costello

“It’s not as difficult physical-wise, it’s just different as opposed to easier.”

Everyone in GAA circles understands the graft and hardship of training during January, and the sort of work that the cold month normally entails.

It’s typically pre-season time, so the goal is centred around fitness primarily and getting your sharpness back, while the technical side of things takes a back seat.

However, if you have just won your club’s first ever Connacht title, and are now prepping to play in the All-Ireland club semi-final, then training is obviously going to be a bit different.

Padraig Pearses’ David Murray explains what the differences are when training for championship games during winter, as opposed to the dual pre-season programmes he would normally be following.

“It’s just unreal for the group to be training in December/January for big championship games. Training for county finals, Connacht semi-finals, Connacht finals; while in other years I might be doing pre-season stuff, so it’s very easy to focus on finals, rather than pre-season stuff.

“Especially when you’re training, without having a goal as close as this is, so although it’s winter training, it’s very easy to motivate people, when you have those big championship games. 

“You could call it easier, maybe less running and physical training, if that’s considered easier, but there’s a lot more tactical focus on specific things, so although it’s not as difficult physical-wise, it’s just different as opposed to easier.

“You’re more game-focused, whilst before you might be more into development, trying to get yourself to a certain fitness level. Whereas if you’re training for these big games, your training is tailored a bit more towards those games themselves.”

The incredible thing about this run from the Roscommon champions, is the fact that they keep travelling into unchartered territory, and keep coming out on top.

They won their first county championship in 2019, repeated that feat this year, then went on to clinch their first ever provincial title.

The problem with such success, is that it always leads you to a bigger game, which of course needs to take focus.

However, Murray explains that although focus hasn’t shifted, everyone in Padraig Pearses made sure to make time for celebrations.

“We definitely are enjoying it, county finals and Connacht finals are so rare for us, so 100% we really enjoyed them.

“We try to knuckle down a couple of days after or whatever, but as a group, it is important. What it does, is build team morale and stuff, when celebrating these wins, because it’s ultimately what you’re playing for, these wins and being able to celebrate with your teammates and stuff, if you don’t do that, it’s not really worth playing.

“There does come a point when you have to get back and refocus, and to have the chance to do that, and look forward to an All-Ireland semi-final, is great.”

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