Light touch: Munster’s Joey Carbery on his struggle to gain weight

Light touch: Munster’s Joey Carbery on his struggle to gain weight

Complaining about the weather is an art form unique to the Irish. But Ireland’s Joey Carbery has more reason than most to complain. Born to Irish parents in New Zealand, he enjoyed its temperate climate until the family returned to Ireland when he was aged 11.

To his credit, he keeps his opinions about our on-off summer in check. “It’s a pity we don’t get a bit more of sunshine over here, otherwise the country would be even more beautiful,” he says with a hint of a Kiwi accent.

And when he adds that he’s just back from a “beautiful” two-week holiday in California, you can bet the endless blue skies had a lot to do with it.

He’s in work mode now, and will be in training for the rest of the summer. “It’s going to be busy but it’s going to be enjoyable,” says the 23-year-old.

The move to Munster from Leinster last year meant he had to postpone his degree in sport and exercise management in UCD — he is now based in Castletroy, Limerick. But there is one very good reason to stay in touch with his home base in Athy, Co Kildare: his long-term girlfriend, Robyn Flanagan.

“We’ll be going out four years this August,” he says with a happy lilt. “We started dating when we were aged 19. She’s from Kildare, only 15-20 minutes away from Athy.”

Joey is an ambassador for Avonmore Protein Milk.

What shape are you in?

I’m in good shape right now. I’ve no issues at all with my hamstring which is great. I have met all my targets. We’re in Irish camp at the moment, so the day would normally consist of a gym session, a skills session, maybe a speed session and then a pitch session — rugby skills, running, fitness, and a bit of team play. It’s fairly busy, we’d have four or five sessions a day.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I would be conscious of my diet — I try to eat as much healthy food as I can. I’d be one of the skinner guys on the team. It’s harder for me to keep my weight up, but you can’t put on bad weight either. I try and get four proper meals in during the day, each one consisting of protein, veg and carbs. For breakfast, a few eggs would be a good protein.

Avonmore Protein Milk is a good snack. I wouldn’t have as big an appetite as the other guys. I eat a good bit, but I’d never ever force myself to eat.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

It would be a McDonalds — the Chicken Legend — if I played a hard game.

What would keep you awake at night?

Not much, really. By the end of the day, you are normally pretty tired. Sometimes I fall into checking my social media but other times I’d be more conscious of it. I have a pair of glasses that block out blue light. If I was watching TV late at night I find them quite helpful.

How do you relax?

I hang out with my girlfriend, with friends — even if it’s just sitting in a coffee place for an hour or two or going for a walk. I try to play a bit of golf every now and again. Sometimes, I’d go to the pub to catch up with friends. On the weekend if you have a big game, normally you wouldn’t drink during the week.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

My dad said to me to be the person or player you want to be. It drives you to be better.

What’s your favourite smell?

I love the smell of certain fruits — pineapple and strawberries. When you go into the supermarket it’s that fresh smell you get in the fruit section.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

Probably to naturally put on good weight. My ideal would be 90kg. I’m around 86/87kg now, so I don’t want to put on too much weight. It’s helpful to have a bit more weight behind you, especially when you’re running with the ball or tackling.

Light touch: Munster’s Joey Carbery on his struggle to gain weight

When is the last time you cried?

I did break my arm a year and a half ago — I was almost crying because the pain was so gross. I was playing for Ireland against Fiji. I had to get surgery — they put screws into it. It took 12 to 13 weeks to fully get back to normal.

What traits do you least like in others?

Being selfish.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I find it tough to get up in the morning sometimes.

Do you pray?

I am a Catholic but I don’t go church as often as I should. I wouldn’t pray much, to be honest. My granny, Teresa Foley, does enough praying for me.

What would cheer up your day?

Hanging out with my girlfriend is always a big one.

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