The Irishman working with Pep to lead Manchester City to glory

Malahide native Donough Holohan is one of City's resident sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches, and he was on the sideline last Sunday
The Irishman working with Pep to lead Manchester City to glory

Manchester City players on stage during the Premier League trophy parade in Manchester. Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

There haven't been too many Irish players at the business end of the Premier League in the last ten years. John O'Shea and Darron Gibson were the last Irish players to claim Premier League winner's medals for Manchester United in the 2010/11 season.

But a least one Irishman had a better seat than most this past Sunday as Manchester City recovered from the shock of going 2-0 down at home to Aston Villa to win 3-2 and claim the title by a point from Liverpool.

Malahide native Donough Holohan is one of City's resident sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches, and he was on the sideline.

"When the third goal went in it was just unbelievable," he told RTÉ Radio's Ryan Tubridy Show.

"It was bonkers. I've been watching football for 20 years but it was the first time I had tears in my eyes.

"My heart rate was all over the place, everything was all over the place, my voice was gone. We were shouting and screaming, everything was just through the roof.

"The emotion of it all is just impossible to describe, really.

"Looking back on it now two days later, I really can't figure out how it all happened - but it did and it was wonderful.

"The way it turned out, we just ran onto the pitch and the crowd were on the pitch.

"My partner Hannah and my six-month old-son, neither of them had ever been to a game of football. They were sitting in a different part and I just ran down to give him a big hug.

"Then there was just an impromptu party for the staff and I said to Hannah 'I could rock in at 5 or 6 this morning' - I was home by midnight because I was just so drained by the whole thing."

Aged 29, Holohan decided he wanted a career change and began a degree in sports science. He followed that up with a master's in exercise physiology at Loughborough University, renowned for its focus on sport.

Holohan has had a 20-year career in football, at clubs like West Ham United, Derby and Preston North End, before joining City in 2012, a couple of months after Sergio Aguero's memorable title winning goal.

"It's been a wonderful ten years. It has flown by," said Holohan.

"The physios fix the players and get rid of the pain and all that but then they have to be reconditioned back into a situation where they can train and play again.

"That's one of my key roles. So whoever is injured, that's who you work with.

"They're great. To work with the very best is an amazing privilege."

Very few Irish people have the chance to get up close and personal with City manager Pep Guardiola.

"There's so much written about Pep and everybody wants to know what he's like.

"He's a really authentic man and you know exactly what you'll get from him.

"He works you hard and he expects you to work hard for him, but he doesn't ask you to do anything that he wouldn't do himself and that's all you can ask for from somebody in that position.

"He's incredibly charismatic and incredibly good at his job.

"He works so hard and you'd walk through a wall for him; he just has that ability to get everything out of you and he does it with a smile on his face. He's great."

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

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

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox