Monday 10 December 2018

'I nearly got too bulked up' - Galway's Damien Comer explains why he has cut down on gym work

Damien Comer of Galway
Damien Comer of Galway
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Damien Comer eases his hulking frame into the chair and goes on to explain that his frame has more to do with nature than nurture.

He spent the spring skittling through the best defences in the country but he says he's cut back on the gym work and shaved a few kilos off, focusing instead on his mobility and being able to contribute for a full 70 minutes.

"It's more genetics than anything," Comer says, by way of explanation. "I wouldn't be a huge fan of the gym by any means. I'd rather not go if I had the choice! This year now I have actually taken a backward step, possibly once a week and not always. I try and focus and bit more on cardiovascular and try and get more mobile around the pitch.

"At the end of last year I had a lot of injuries and when I found I couldn't be out running with the lads and I was doing more gym. I nearly got too bulked up and then when it came to heat of championship I felt I was lagging a small bit. So I'm trying to resolve that this year and still do a bit in the gym but not go over the top and focus more on being mobile."

So you're not a gym bunny?

"No, I wouldn't be. One of the lads, if he didn't go to the gym for a week he'd have to drop down weights and he'd nearly lose his form. I could go once and maybe go six weeks later and still have the same form. I'm just one of the lucky ones.

Sufficient

"GAA is a physical game and I seem to be in the thick of the physicality most of the time. But the strength I have at the moment is probably less than last year but it is sufficient for GAA.

"If you went any further you'd be heading for the Sportsground or something like that! It's nice to keep the balance and try and keep it right and get one session week. But mobility is what I'm focused on this year."

All eyes are on Sunday’s Connacht final against Roscommon for Galway’s Damien Comer. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
All eyes are on Sunday’s Connacht final against Roscommon for Galway’s Damien Comer. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Comer will start a full-time teaching job in September but for the moment, he can be seen front of house pulling pints in the well known Taaffes bar in Galway's Shop Street. When he's spotted, people usually want to talk football.

"You'd have a bit of banter, you have to be able to have the craic but you don't read in too much to what people say. Pádraig Lally, who is running it, has been very flexible. I needed a part-time job and with football its not easy to get a job that is so flexible around training.

"But he has been very good and he works around my schedule and gives me a few hours here and there. It's great, it tops up the bank account weekly. It's all needed."

Comer's career hasn't travelled the traditional route. He didn't make the Galway minor squad in 2012 but the following year he started on the county's U-21 side that swept to All-Ireland success. Missing out on minor selection is not something he dwells on. "It varies because you see people who are unbelievable at U-16 and minor and then struggle to make the U-21 squad and then fall off at senior. It all stems around your development and I was obviously a late developer and it suited me at the time . . . maybe I was good enough at minor but I didn't get spotted or whatever. But everyone is different."

He's very much in demand now. When the Galway footballers finished up last year, he played a hurling game for Annaghdown and Micheál Donoghue saw enough to inquire about the possibility of joining the hurlers.

"We had a brief discussion. I played a bit of club hurling at home - we are intermediate. Last year I only played one hurling game because my commitment with Galway. We are in a relegation battle and I play the last game and that was it.

"I'd never forget about the football. If I was to do anything it would be the two (hurling and football) but when you see the likes of Podge Collins, Aidan Walsh, Eoin Cadogan doing it . . . most of them have been sidelined for a few weeks or months with injuries so it's just not feasible. The game is practically professional and if you tried to do both it's not possible."

For now all eyes are on Roscommon and Sunday's Connacht final.

"They area good side, no doubt about it and they play some nice football and in the league final before our game, some of the moves they pulled off and some of the scores they got (were impressive), they have serious forwards."

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