Wednesday 21 March 2018

Kilkenny turn to Arsenal for coaching inspiration

Kilkenny hurling may have enjoyed unparalleled riches over the past decade or so, but the drive for perfection continues.

And as they go gunning for further success, Kilkenny GAA sought inspiration from a most unlikely source -- Arsenal FC.

A Kilkenny delegation visited the Gunners' training grounds recently to run the rule over their training and coaching methods. The group met with Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice and youth-team boss Steve Bould, and they were given a complete rundown on how Arsenal hone up-and-coming talent.

The Cats have been organising hugely successful hurling development squads for young players since the turn of the last decade. With a revamp of operations on the cards, they were anxious to explore all possibilities, so the trip to London was given the green light by the county board.

The observers spent a day with Rice and other training and medical personnel at the club and were given a complete breakdown of all the sessions they observed, plus the relevance of every discipline undertaken.

The group, which included former Leinster Hurling Officer Brendan O'Sullivan (Thomastown) and county coach Brian Ryan (Fenians), were hugely impressed by Arsenal's overall approach, but they also learned that they have been doing things pretty well themselves over the years.

A dossier on the visit will be compiled and discussed in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent

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