Shane Kilkenny does this weeks players corner interview with Galway hurler Cyril Donnellan.
What would you say has been the key to the huge improvements made in Galway this season?
The younger players have come in and bought into the work ethic and commitment that is required to become a top inter County hurler.
Obviously new management came in and their fresh approach has kept existing players on their toes and from early in the year every player was under pressure to perform and improve at each and every training session.
How much time would you spend per week on individual practice and preparation?
Individual practice varies for each player because it is time you use to improve on different areas of weakness that exist in your game. Examples of this would be strength work in the gym, ball alley practice, handball, core work, yoga for flexibility and recovery programmes such as aqua jogging in a swimming pool. I have participated in all of the above to improve but it depends on the time of year and my form and injury status really as to how much time I devote to my individual work. It would often amount to about 10 hours per week.
What has been the most difficult aspect as regards establishing yourself at County level?
The most difficult thing for any player making the breakthrough in today’s game would be the physicality and strength that is needed to absorb tackles and also getting used to the level of work rate now required in the modern game. It is a big step up from the level of physicality encountered at minor and U21 level.
Most difficult opponent over the years?
Ollie Canning. When I first joined the panel I often played in the full forward line in training games. You could do nothing but learn from the frustrating evenings you would spend marking him and ponder how to improve driving home from Athenry or Pearse Stadium.
Any unusual superstitions or rituals on match day?
Any hobbies outside of GAA?
Biggest ladies man in the squad?
There are not too many single men in the squad would you believe, I don’t know what some of the ladies do be looking at!!
What would you say is the strangest thing a manager/coach has said to you over the years?
Being asked before training one evening what my favourite position is and then being named on the bench after training for our game the following weekend, and NO, I didn’t say I wanted to be a sub!
Any advice for young aspiring County hurlers?
You have to be willing to accept criticism and have the ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to improve.
Best of luck to the Galway hurlers against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland hurling final from all the staff in SportsNewsIRELAND
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