'It's a good reinforcer, but I wouldn't be overly influenced by it' - Paul Conroy on the role of GPS systems in the modern game 2 months ago

'It's a good reinforcer, but I wouldn't be overly influenced by it' - Paul Conroy on the role of GPS systems in the modern game

Paul Conroy is in the middle of his 15th season with Galway but it's far from winding down the St James' man is...

It's 15, still going strong. He will turn 34 in May but as he says himself, how he performs and how he feels matter a hell of a lot more than any date on a page.


And he's still hopping off the ground anyway.

The body will take a lot of older players out of it but, from Conroy's perspective, barring one freak and unfortunate incident, injuries have dealt him a good hand. That's certainly played its part.

It was in 2018 when he suffered that horror double-leg-break after a collision with Kerry's Sean O'Shea and, seeing as he broke both legs, he was consigned to a wheelchair for stages of his recovery.

It says a lot about Conroy that he's come back stronger and that aside, his body has rarely given him any trouble.


Conroy knows very little of the struggle with tight hamstrings and quads and he puts a lot of that down to an active lifestyle, that keeps him on his toes.

"I think if you're active, I know when I was very young you'd spend an awful lot of days out playing golf or soccer or rugby or hurling and you're constantly on your feet.

"Maybe as you change your lifestyle then, you know, people start jobs and start travelling maybe around the country and things like that.


"That often can be something that triggers injuries. But I'm teaching.

"I'm secondary school teaching so I do be on my feet sometimes going around the room and stuff like that.

"Touch wood now I have been very lucky, yeah.


"You see lads who mightn't have many serious injuries but they might pull a hamstring a couple of times, keeping them out for two or three weeks once or twice a year and it affects your training.

"Like, you can imagine if you done a hamstring this week, you're nearly missing the first round of the Championship.

"And then just because you're back it doesn't mean you're ready to play either so you might have to put in a week or two weeks and then all of a sudden you've missed a couple of games and you might have to start getting into a routine and stuff.

"I've been very lucky, just obviously that one in 2018. But no, all good since. I've been very lucky, since I've been very young playing football I've never had any kind of muscle injuries, if you like, very few of them."

As a midfielder, Conroy is right in the thick of the action. There is no hiding place.


In the modern game, midfielders can cover up to 12 kilometres per match and Conroy says that, in terms of gauging his performance, GPS systems are one thing he keeps an eye on.

The info GPS systems provide - distance covered, sprints performed etc. - are used by many county teams these days and while trying not to be overly reliant on them, Conroy does see the benefits.

"I think the GPS, it's a good reinforcer. Some people might say X and Y to people after games, that his person is this or that, or this person is struggling here or they're this, that or the other.

"But I think when you can see the concrete figures there in front of you, it's a good reinforcer, particularly early on in the year when you might be on the way back, or lads might be coming back from injury, and you mightn't have a lot of training done. I think it has its place.

"I wouldn't be overly influenced by it but as I said there when you're coming back to training and I suppose when you can see other lads and see what you're doing and know that you're well able and you're hitting the kilometres or you're hitting the high speed running."

"I think it's good for that.

"But as I said, I think it has its place. Like, if you're running unbelievable amounts of running, but you're having turnovers (against you) and your shots are dropping short or wide, it's not much good to you then. It has its place but I wouldn't put too much emphasis on it and I'm sure managers around the country aren't."

"Regardless of your age if you are hitting the figures on the GPS and getting up and down on match day, making the right decisions, I think you don’t need to be worried about the age, it’s how you feel really."

15, not out.

John West Féile 2023 Ambassador Paul Conroy of Galway at Croke Park today Tuesday. John West, sponsors of the GAA’s under-15 annual Féile Peile na nÓg (football) and Féile na nGael (camogie and hurling) announced details of its innovative nutrition programme for young athletes. The company also revealed the extension of its Féile sponsorship until 2025 and a partnership with SuperValu to promote John West Féile in stores across the country. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile