Richie Hogan: I’ll sweep streets for 50 years if I can hurl ‘til 35

Richie Hogan has no intention of returning to teaching, having quit it to concentrate on hurling on a full-time basis.

Kilkenny’s 2014 hurler of the year left a primary school position in Easter of last year to devote more of his time to the game.

The 28-year-old believes the decision has assisted him in dealing with chronic back difficulties, for which he has taken steroids and injections the last number of years, the latest an epidural he believes has him fit and ready to go against Limerick in Saturday’s qualifier.

The lack of a steady income doesn’t perturb Hogan in the slightest.

“I’m incredibly lucky that I’m very good with money. I worked for seven years and I also have a masters in business and finance. I worked for seven years, I saved a huge amount of money.”

He does a small bit of work as a director of e-Frontiers, which specialises in recruiting teachers working in the Middle East, while his car is sponsored by Michael Lyng Motors.

“For me, it’s not even about money at all. There’s some people who need money, who like to be able to live that lifestyle and focus on their career and that’s hugely important and the GPA are doing a huge amount of work on that. It’s just not that important to me.

“I remember saying to one of these life coaches: ‘If I play to the age of 35 and get absolutely everything out of myself, I will gladly sweep the streets for the next 50 years.’ It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest, but I’m lucky in the sense that I’m a teacher, I’m qualified, I can go and get a job whenever I want, so it shouldn’t be that difficult if I ever decide to go back.”

He hasn’t looked back since finishing up in Dublin’s Belgrove Senior Boys School.

“Since I stepped away from it, it’s just been absolutely brilliant. I like to be able to do hurling every day. I used to do the gym sessions in the morning, so I’d go to DCU and I’d do the gym session at maybe 6.15am and then go to work, and I’d do my hurling in the evening and then, on a training day, I’d travel home.

“Now, I’m able to recover properly, so I don’t have to go to the gym at six o’clock in the morning, I can go to the gym at nine o’clock and take that break in the afternoon and then do my bit of hurling and then do a bit of yoga, core work and work like that. It just makes a huge difference and I’m at the age where, look, I’m 28, I have to look after myself properly. That’s my highest priority.”

The only downside, he says, is the amount of work he does in a solitary capacity.

“It’s great, sometimes, but sometimes it can be difficult, because you’re completely on your own. It’s alright going to training sessions and you’re around other people, but when you’re training as an individual, and I have great sympathy for triathletes or runners or whatever, if you look at them they all try to train in groups of threes or fours. It’s quite difficult when you’re on your own, especially when every [Dublin] club keeps kicking me off their hurling pitches!”

Hogan lives in Whitehall with his girlfriend, but bases himself for the summer in Kilkenny. He admits part of the reason for quitting his profession was the travelling, which was taking its toll on his back.

“I’ve three protruding discs, bulging discs, at the base of my back. Two of them are very worn from years of playing. I played a lot of hurling as a kid, but I also played a lot of handball, where there is huge pressure on the back, a lot of twisting and turning and movement. I would do a huge amount of practice, not just in the gym, but swinging. It flares up every now and again.”

Hogan almost missed the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final and final due to his back complaint. Cortisone injections into the joints have only offered some relief and he again suffered difficulties with it in the recent Leinster semi-final defeat to Wexford.

“I was very doubtful before the game. I felt great going out in the warm-up, felt fine in the first half. Tired quickly. Hadn’t done a huge amount of training. Just happy to be on the pitch, because I missed the first match last year with a broken hand, half the Leinster final as well.”

However, an epidural injection into the discs last week has given him a new lease of life.

“Literally woke up the following day like a new man. It’s bothered me for a while. I get a lot of hamstring issues because of it. This seemed to work. Delighted.”

Richie Hogan yesterday launched Sure deodorant as official statistics partners of the GAA. The ‘Never More Sure’ campaign gives fans a chance to win a seat for the season in Croke Park.


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