Gung-ho approach from GAA managers will injure club players, warns Dave Moriarty

Strength and conditioning coach with the Laois hurlers, Dave Moriarty, is concerned a gung-ho approach from club managers during the 11-day window where contact training is permitted ahead of games recommencing will lead to a spike in injuries.
Gung-ho approach from GAA managers will injure club players, warns Dave Moriarty

Dave Moriarty — who previously worked with the Tipperary footballers, Limerick hurlers, and footballers — has urged club managers to adopt a “cautious and sensible” approach. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dave Moriarty — who previously worked with the Tipperary footballers, Limerick hurlers, and footballers — has urged club managers to adopt a “cautious and sensible” approach. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Strength and conditioning coach with the Laois hurlers, Dave Moriarty, is concerned a gung-ho approach from club managers during the 11-day window where contact training is permitted ahead of games recommencing will lead to a spike in injuries.

Moriarty — who previously worked with the Tipperary footballers, Limerick hurlers, and footballers — has urged club managers to adopt a “cautious and sensible” approach during the almost two-week period before club action gets underway.

Players can train in groups of 10 at GAA club grounds from June 29, but it will be July 20 before contact training is permitted. The window for club action opens 11 days later, July 31,  and the majority of counties look set to begin their championships on that August Bank Holiday weekend.

Moriarty studied with keen interest the report from sports scientist Joel Mason that found injury rates in the Bundesliga more than tripled on the first weekend of games post-lockdown. A similar spike can be avoided, reckons Moriarty, if club managers can be persuaded to gradually introduce contact drills into training sessions from July 20 onward.

“The fear is people will say, we haven't done any kind of collective conditioning for the past four or five months so we'll get as much done as possible in these 11 or 12 days. That would be nonsensical,” Moriarty, a tutor at Setanta College, remarked.

You'd like to think there are more educated coaches and managers out there that would say, we need to prepare them as best we can for the championship so less may be more.

“It'll very much depend on draws. If Glen Rovers draw Douglas in the first round of the Cork SHC and its knockout, then it's hard to take the measured approach because you have to have them perfect for the first round of the championship.”

Moriarty, who was part of the Glen Rovers backroom team when they won back-to-back Cork SHC titles in 2015 and 2016, says there is only so much players can do to ready themselves for a return to contact training in the middle of next month.

Ultimately, responsibility will fall to management to ensure a balance between risk and reward is struck.

“Players can do their conditioning work, their prehabilitation, but there is still going to be a big step up between what is allowed during non-contact training and when the switch is flipped and teams are permitted to engage in contact training.

“There needs to be a cautious and measured approach to not go straight into full contact, to not go straight into minutes upon minutes of 15 on 15. There needs to be a gradual build-up. Trying to get so much into such a short period of time will only overcook players, will only lead to muscular and tendon damage.”

Although describing the GAA’s return to play roadmap as the “best approach possible”, the Laois S&C coach says inter-county players will shoulder a very heavy workload in the months ahead. The risk of injury is equally prevalent here as they attempt to serve club and county simultaneously.

If people are naive enough to think inter-county teams won't be training before September 14, I don't think people are going to believe that. You are talking about starting on October 17, which is five weeks of a run-in. Between technical and tactical stuff, that isn't ample time to prepare anyone's team for inter-county championship.

“The club manager needs to be cognisant of what the inter-county player is doing away from contact time with the club team. The fear is there will be so much done during club training and then the inter-county player will have their own inter-county programme or they may get together as an inter-county panel once in that club period, so yeah there is a big risk.”

He concluded: “Take Noel McGrath, just for argument's sake. He plays hurling and football for Loughmore-Castleiney, and they take both codes equally seriously. Noel will be playing a lot of club games and then obviously Tipperary will expect to be involved in the back end of the championship.

“You could see an inter-county player who plays dual club playing up to 15 matches in a similar amount of weekends. There again is another example where things need to be measured and managed properly.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Execution Time: 0.234 s