Monday 22 December 2014

'You need to be organised and to have discipline'

Hurler and Gaelic footballer Cian O'Donovan (17). Photo by Clare Keogh

Sports is a crucial part of the daily routine for 17-year-old hurler and Gaelic footballer Cian O'Donovan – he works out up to seven times a week.

A Leaving Certificate student at Clonakilty Community College, Co Cork, O'Donovan plays hurling at minor and junior levels, Gaelic football at minor and senior level and is also an enthusiastic soccer player.

In the GAA off-season he puts in six or seven training sessions every week, mostly in the gym.

Once the season begins, he's out on the pitch training with his clubmates nearly every night of the week.

O'Donovan's been playing sport since he was five or six and like many young athletes, he's learned some useful life skills along the way. Diet and sleep are basic but crucial elements of a strong performance on the pitch.

"When you want to perform at your best you have to look after these things," O'Donovan says.

"You learn to understand your body – you're always preparing for what you have to do tomorrow."

There's also a huge social element to his sports activities: "You have a lot of friends. You're playing a match with lads you've known all your life, and when you win it makes it that much more special.

"Sport also prepares you mentally," he says. "You have to get the homework done in advance so it teaches you discipline about study. You need to be organised and to have discipline and sports teaches you that."

There's friendship and loyalty and the need to recognise your responsibility to others: "It teaches you commitment and the importance of being there for people."

Irish Independent

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