Cork hurling trainer Dave Matthews, pictured, has placed speed and endurance ahead of adding bulk in importance to the Rebels’ squad.
The former 800m Olympian has evolved a training strategy in keeping with Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Ger Cunningham’s hurling philosophy.
“The ideal player is someone like Cathal Naughton. He’s not our fastest in our tests over 20, 30, 40 metres, he’s just one of the fastest,” he said.
“In the endurance runs then he’s up with the Seán Ógs without maybe beating them. Cathal has the classic make-up of an 800m runner. Would he be of an Olympic standard? No, it’s a different sport, but you watch Cathal Naughton in the second half of a game — he’s still going like a steam train, he’s still able to operate at a certain pace and intensity.
“Look, if I was over the Waterford or Kilkenny hurlers I’d take a different approach. The same if I took the Cork footballers.
“Their physique is totally different. They’re big strong powerful men whereas the hurlers in general fast, nippy, agile; they play a type of hurling that suits Jimmy and Ger Cunningham’s training and philosophy. There’s no point in trying to brawl with brawlers.”
* See Kieran Shannon column for the full interview
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