Shape I'm In: GAA star Séamus Harnedy

It business as usual for the Cork hurling star who is back with his club and training three times a week
Shape I'm In: GAA star Séamus Harnedy
Seamus Harnedy. Picture: Jim Coughlan

It was Cork hurling star Séamus Harnedy’s 30th birthday this weekend. But other than training or playing a match, he’s no plans to celebrate.

“It’ll be business as usual,” he says.

Describing himself as "fairly calm and reserved", it seems he's not the type who would want to draw attention to himself -  even if it’s a milestone birthday.

His day job is a secondary school teacher in CBC in Cork - he teaches business, accounting and economics. The work dovetails well with the GAA seasons,  says the St Ita's club player. 

“Don't get me wrong it's very hard during the year - because you're coming in from training pre-planning lessons or correcting tests the day before, so it's fairly strenuous during the year.”

One of four children, he has a strong sporting background.  His mother Cathy Landers won six All-Ireland camogie medals with Cork; his father Sean played at inter-county level for Waterford. Two of his sisters are based in Sydney, while the youngest Cáit lives at home.

“I'm doing a Cope fundraiser for her at the moment. The organisation has been wonderful to Cáit for years and years. She has a mild learning disability and has become very independent.”

 Asked if he’s dating, he gives a characteristically reserved answer: “I'm seeing someone at the moment - it's only recent.”

For details of Cope Foundation's '5 Peaks 1 Week' challenge see:

 What shape are you in?

I'm getting there. With Covid-19 it was very hard to replicate the amount of training we do in intercounty set up. I'm back with the club and we're doing three sessions a week. You'd nearly miss the people as much as you'd miss the training. Then you'd be doing your own individual bits - your two gym sessions on top of that. I had my own barbell at home and a few weights at home, so I was able to work away at home during lockdown. 

We only went back to playing games last week. I was a bit rusty but not too bad. I enjoyed it.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

We’ve very good nutritionist Johnny Holland who used to play with Munster. He would set out plans and personalise our diet plan if we wanted that. If you have a match on a Tuesday evening, you’re going to carb load a bit more the day before - maybe a bowl of porridge with a bit of fruit and honey in the morning. Around lunchtime, it's some homemade protein balls.  For supper, it might be pasta and chicken and sauce. And just a small snack before bed.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Pavlova with a bit of fruit and cream every now and again. I try to save it to the offseason as best as I can.

What would keep you awake at night?

I’d nearly get nine hours every night. After a match or any strenuous activity, I’d sleep like a log. During the summer I’m partial to the odd nap.

How do you relax?

I like to go to the cinema - but that has been restricted a lot in recent months. A few of the lads from the local GAA team are into FIFA and I join them for a few games. Or we just go for a coffee in Midleton or Youghal. I’m blessed where I live -it’s two and a half miles from the sea. I like to go there for a good walk or go for a swim.

Who are your sporting heroes?

Joe Deane who played with Killeagh. He was an exceptional player on the field with a great temperament. He achieved everything in the game but also was very successful with his career.

What’s your favourite smell?

Garlic. I like Paco Rabanne ‘1 Million’ as well.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

We're all unique so we have to deal with the cards we're dealt with. But maybe a better lower back - I've had disc trouble in the past. 

When is the last time you cried?

Watching The Green Mile, starring Michael Clarke Duncan and Tom Hanks. I'd like to think that was a long time ago.

What traits do you least like in others?

I don't like selfishness. I like people who go above and beyond for others.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I don't save enough money. 

Do you pray?

I do. I'd like to think I'm a man of faith.

What would cheer up your day?

Things going back to normal as soon as possible. It's a strange time to live in.

What quote inspires you most?

‘You have 168 opportunities in a week’. It refers to the number of hours in a week. Just make the most of your time.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

The Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. It's one of the most beautiful places I've been. It's very serene. I went there in 2016 when I went travelling to different parts of the world for three months. It was grand to do it when I was younger.


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