Dublin strengthen backroom for five-in-a-row bid

Dublin hope their tilt at claiming an historic five-in-a-row will be aided by the recruitment of top strength and conditioning coach, Shane Malone.

Malone, who has worked with Mayo and Kildare in the past, will operate alongside Bryan Cullen, Dublin GAA’s high-performance manager.

Malone is also the IRFU’s head of sports science where he is responsible for monitoring the training load of players.

An associate lecturer in exercise physiology in IT Tallaght, Malone conducts his research in the college’s Gaelic Sports Research Centre, while he has also been working with Celtic, Benfica and Udinese. His PhD has been focused on investigating training load in elite Gaelic footballers.

His switch to Dublin means that three of Mayo’s previous management team have linked up with rivals of the recently-crowned Division 1 champions: Stephen Rochford is now a selector with Donegal while Donie Buckley is now part of the Kerry backroom.

Meanwhile, the Galway senior hurling management remain hopeful Joseph Cooney will be available for the Championship. The 28-year-old transferred from his home club Sarsfields to Michael Cusack’s in Sydney on February 22 and hasn’t been in Galway colours since the Wild Geese Trophy game against Kilkenny in the New South Wales city last November.

With his namesake Conor suffering an ankle injury for St Thomas’ at the weekend, there are growing concerns Galway could go into the Leinster SHC without four of the forward line that started last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Limerick.

At the earliest, Joe Canning won’t return until the latter stages of the provincial campaign while Jonathan Glynn’s availability remains uncertain. Cathal Mannion has been operating in midfield for Galway during the League but is in line to revert to attack.

Galway’s attacking options have been diminished this spring with Fintan Burke damaging an anterior cruciate ligament in St Thomas’ All-Ireland final loss to Ballyhale Shamrocks and Éanna Burke sidelined for the foreseeable future.

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