A week in the life
Whelan is a qualified teacher but is currently working full-time on the family farm, milking over 60 cows. He rises at 7.0, has an omelette for breakfast with spinach, three eggs, tomatoes, some onion and feta cheese, before starting work half an hour later. Monday is gym day so he eases up on carbs, in favour of a high protein diet.
Around 11.0 he has an apple and a handful of nuts and takes regular swigs from the bottle of water he carries with him throughout the day. He works until dinner at 1.0 where he consumes two chicken breasts, with carrots, broccoli and spinach, which he cooks himself. He returns to work at 2.0 and around 4.0 he takes a banana and Greek yoghurt. He finishes work at 6.30 and has a smoothie containing milk, peanut butter, berries and whey protein.
The gym in Errill is about five minutes away. He starts his programme at 7.30 and is home before 9.0. After the session he has a protein shake. He is in bed by 10.45. Whelan is going into his ninth season as an inter-county player. "I love the game. I make the sacrifices because I have a passion for it."
Tuesday is a training day for Keegan who rises soon after 6.30am to allow time for a "good breakfast". Cereal is followed by two slices of toast, scrambled eggs, a couple of rashers, and some vitamin tablets.
Work, an office job at Synergy Healthcare that's mainly desk-bound, is five minutes away. He arrives by 8am. He breaks at 10.0 for a light snack - usually soup, yoghurt or fruit salad. At 1pm he has baked potato with tuna, side salad and yoghurt, with coffee. Around 3.0 he takes a cereal bar and a banana.
Finishing work at 4.30 he returns home for one last meal before training: pasta, some rasher left-overs from morning, served with pesto, mushrooms and onions. He arrives for training at 6.20 in MacHale Park, 20 minutes away, and spends 25 minutes on warm-up. "We might do some skill work, low-intensity, in small groups and then at 7.30pm the training session begins, it is all out, hell for leather until we finish just after 9pm."
He has a meal at the ground and is home soon after 10pm. He reads a paper, takes a cup of tea, and at 10.45 goes to bed.
Moran, a secondary school teacher in Waterford, gets up at 7.30am and had his "usual" breakfast: two poached eggs, two rashers, an avocado, a smoothie, or Nutri-Bullet as it's known, and some fruit. He leaves for school at 8.30, has a couple of classes and then departs for Kilmallock on the team bus with the De La Salle team playing Nenagh CBS in the Harty Cup. They win and after some soup and sandwiches return to Waterford for a meal at 5.30pm. He gets home at 6.30, feeds the dog and hits the gym.
Waterford senior hurlers are playing in the Munster League in Mallow but he is pardoned, being in partial rehab while nursing a groin strain, although he trained with the squad the night before. He visits the gym nearby at 7.0 and gets home at 8.15, has a quick shower, and half of another smoothie. He winds down watching some soccer on television and checking Waterford's progress on Twitter. He has a cup of tea and relaxes until about 11.0. He then goes to bed, listening to music for half an hour. He lives with his girlfriend and is 28.
Corrigan is a trainee solicitor employed by Arthur Cox on St Stephen's Green, about a 15-minute walk from his apartment off Merrion Road which he shares with a Dutchman. "He wouldn't know an O'Neill's if it came through his window".
He rises at 7.30am, has a hot lemon and water drink, then consumes three scrambled eggs, an avocado and smoked salmon, with some coffee. He leaves for work at 8.20, working through until 11. Mid-morning snack consists of tuna on crackers and green tea. At 12.30 he has lunch, a shepherd's pie his mother made, with vegetables and also a portion of fruit.
He gets up from his desk regularly to stretch. Later in the afternoon he breaks for a coffee and another piece of fruit. If ever hungry he takes a protein shake.
He works late this evening to almost 7.0 and has some chicken and salad and sweet potato. He goes home and then to Sandymount for a gym session at 8.30 for an hour and a half, returning to his apartment at 10.0. He takes more shepherd's pie and some veg and is in bed before 11.30, reading before sleep. He is currently enjoying Dub Sub Confidential.
Boland rises at 5.20am. He gathers his gym gear and heads for work, arriving at 6.0 from his home in Glasnevin. He runs Sports Physio Ireland on Fitzwilliam Square and has his gym session here, finishing at 6.45. He showers, has coffee and a recovery shake and starts work at 7.0.
At 9.40, he breaks for salmon and scrambled eggs, resumes work and then takes lunch with a client at a Thai restaurant at 12.45. After training last night and with a game against Laois on Sunday, he spends five minutes in a cryotherapy chamber at 2.0 in Phibsboro. He regards Friday as a "kind of day off" but after a few more hours working off his laptop in a coffee shop or meeting clients, he finishes at 5.0 and will go for a puck-around and do some stretching.
The evening is more relaxed, and he takes his girlfriend to dinner and the cinema. Boland is in his tenth season. "If you're in work you are going from one high-pressure environment into another," he says of training demands.
Saturday is normally a rest day for Malone, but on this occasion he trains in the gym at White's Hotel at 9am, after getting up at 7.30 and having a breakfast of porridge, protein smoothie and a coffee. He trained the night before and on the next day has a match in the O'Byrne Cup in Bunclody. Malone lives in Castlebridge, just outside Wexford town, with his girlfriend who is a member of the county ladies football team. Field training, at the centre of excellence in Ferns, is half an hour away.
After the gym session, which takes an hour and a half, he joins a few of his team-mates at a nearby cafe for scrambled eggs, brown bread toast and coffee. He goes home and spends the afternoon watching the FA Cup from his sofa. In preparation for his match the next day, he has a high-carb dinner at 7pm. It's the only night he has to himself, so he visits some family.
This is his 11th season. "There is a huge demand on your time. Just training alone takes at least ten hours a week and that is not taking into consideration the time spent driving."
Ewing, a member of the Sligo senior panel since 2008, gets up at 9am. Breakfast is a bowl of porridge with some whey protein through it and berries. He lives in Sligo town and on a match day like this he likes to get out for some fresh air, perhaps even a light jog. Following that he has another bowl of porridge as a mid-morning snack. He irons some shirts for work - he is an employee of AIB - and does some reading and a bit of light stretching.
Sligo are playing GMIT in the FBD League and he leaves at 12.15, driving the 15 minutes to Collooney for a 2.0 throw-in. It is their second game in a week, having lost to Galway by three points in Tuam the Sunday before. They lose this too. Ewing plays wing-forward.
After the game he has dinner with the team and gets home around 4.30. He briefly sees his girlfriend before she heads back to work in Dublin. Between 5.0 and 7pm he is out collecting Christmas trees as part of a club fundraiser.
Back home he prepares food for the week ahead, watches some television and packs his bag for a pool recovery session in the morning. He is in bed by 11.
Sunday Indo Sport