Sport Soccer

Thursday 21 September 2017

Strength coach McGurn will do brilliant job for FAI, insists rugby star Reddan

Mike McGurn
Mike McGurn
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

NEW FAI recruit Mike McGurn can have a positive impact on Irish football, according to rugby international Eoin Reddan.

The Leinster scrum-half worked with the Armagh native when he was the IRFU's strength and conditioning coach for seven years during the 2000s.

McGurn is set to be appointed to the association with a view to implementing a strength and conditioning plan for Irish football at various levels, having also worked with former world boxing champion Bernard Dunne, the Armagh and Louth senior footballers and Eddie O'Sullivan's Ireland team.

And Reddan gave him a ringing endorsement yesterday, pointing to the work being done by former rugby internationals Jerry Flannery and Johnny O'Connor at Premier League leaders Arsenal's academy as an example of successful cross-code initiatives in the field.

"Mikey's great, he's very enthusiastic. He has great knowledge, he was great for the squad. You couldn't say a bad word about him," the Limerick native said.

"I think soccer has openly admitted to being behind rugby, you see Jerry Flannery and Johnny O'Connor in Arsenal now with their academy and they're both doing very well instilling a different type of work ethic into young lads.

"Rugby is definitely about improving players. On Saturday (in the rugby clash with Samoa), every player you watch from Ireland, no matter what age they are, they'll be a kilo or two heavier than last year.

"Probably they'll be fresh and stronger, fresh and faster – and that's just each individual, not just the effect of newer lads coming into the game.

"So to get a glimpse of that into soccer... obviously it's tougher with their season and the amount of games they have, but I do think that kind of idea of improving yourself rather than just maintaining yourself would be very, very helpful in soccer."

Reddan admitted that the impending appointment of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane to the Ireland set-up has been thoroughly discussed within Joe Schmidt's rugby camp this week, and is widely anticipated.

"It is interesting and it is a topic of conversation," he said. "It gives Irish soccer a boost even in terms of people talking about it. You have a combination of one guy who is technical and another who cares deeply about Ireland, so it could be alright."

Irish Independent

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