'It is very hard to be a full-time farmer and to play at the top level'
Published 08/07/2015 | 02:30
Anyone scanning through their match day programmes this summer will notice that one occupation that is scarce on the list is farming.
With so much time and effort being put into preparing inter-county teams, men working the land by day and playing football in the evenings are becoming a rarity.
The most you'll see of farming references are on the Twitter accounts of players like Meath's Ciaran Lenehan and Paddy O'Rourke. Kilkenny hurlers are also in on the Twitter action as TJ Reid recently showed himself working on the silage pit, while Lester Ryan celebrated his "glorious week for the AI" with no repeats. But these are just flashes in the pan.
"It is very hard nowadays to be a full-time farmer and to play at the top level to be honest. I am farming for research purposes and even at that, time management has to be taken so seriously. I don't think there is much scope for it anymore," admits the Westmeath hero.
"It is very hard to really run it yourself and to get the best out of yourself playing football. That's tough. The only lads doing it are generally the guys helping out during summers. With things like gym sessions three or four times a week combined with the need to rest afterwards, farming is just that bit harder to fit."
A notable exception must be Monaghan's Darren Hughes, who runs a dairy farm while also having time to run the opposition a merry dance.
He will be also be lining out in a provincial final on Sunday week when the Farney men take on Donegal.