Kilkenny star Delaney relief at getting back in the work force
More than three months on since it was first revealed in the Irish Independent that he was unemployed, top Kilkenny hurler JJ Delaney is back in the work force.
Delaney has taken up employment in recent weeks as a sales representative with Kingspan Insulation, working with many of the same customers he dealt with in his previous job.
Delaney was made redundant by Tegral in August on the same week that Kilkenny defeated Waterford in the All-Ireland semi-final.
It was a stark reminder at the time of how even the highest-profile names in Gaelic games were being affected by the recession.
"It doesn't matter what you have achieved. One stroke of a pen, boy, and you're gone," admitted Delaney at the time.
It was his first time out of work and he toyed with the idea of going back to college. But despite remaining out of work even as he claimed the Man of the Match award in the All-Ireland final, he has been back in business over the last few weeks.
"I was two months (out of work) altogether. The month coming up to the final I wasn't looking too hard," he said.
"After that I was looking much harder and luckily something came up because there wasn't much out there. I wasn't turning down four or five jobs to take this one. I was very, very lucky."
The GPA has estimated 16pc of their 2,380 players are unemployed or employed on a part-time basis.
Reflecting on the season, Delaney admitted he didn't have to be told by Brian Cody after the Leinster final against Dublin in July -- when he was substituted at half-time -- that he had to make improvements.
"I knew I had to improve myself, improve my fitness, so I put my head down and it came right," he said. "Brian has been around a lot longer than me. I didn't say anything and he didn't mention it. He knew it and I knew it that I had to do a bit myself."