Catching Up With Aidan O’Connell
13th October 2011 By Munster Rugby
After completing phase one of the season the squad are currently in the middle of a down load week but it’s not exactly a rest week for everyone.
In his eight season with Munster Rugby and based in Cork, strength and conditioning coach Aidan O’Connell and colleague Tom Comyns in Limerick are responsible for looking after the injured players this week.
“It’s changed enormously since I started here, we’ve come full circle being back based in CIT. We started here working in a converted classroom, then we moved to a facility on Forge Hill and now we’re back here with great facilities and a fantastic set-up.”
“Players who are injured have had to stay around so I’m working with Darragh Hurley (achilles), Peter Borlase (lower back), Ivan Dineen (achilles) and Tomas O’Leary (back), and we’re using this week like any other and training away.”
“It’s obviously a quieter week without the rest of the squad around but we still have six to eight sessions during the week with the same schedule taking place in Limerick. It’s similar to a regular preseason week with four cardio sessions, two leg sessions and two upper body sessions.”
“It’s me and the players here, with Colm Coakley the physio coming in on Tuesday and Thursday, and Tom Comyns is working with new physio David O’Sullivan in Limerick.”
“Everything revolves around the player's injury, for example if someone has a leg injury it’s mainly upper body work with swimming and boxing, and vice versa with an upper body injury you’re doing leg conditioning.”
“Anyone who is injured in Munster Rugby works damn hard. It’s not a nice place to be on two fronts for these guys, one because you’re injured, two because you’re expected to work extremely hard and it’s a pretty uncomfortable place to be.”
“We do our best to accelerate their recovery but we have to give them a focus when they are in here which means training at a high intensity whether you are fit or injured and it certainly asks a lot of your motivation. In saying that there’s a really strong training ethos and the players certainly push themselves whether injured or not.”
“We try and group the sessions as close as possible to each other so the injured players can be in here together as a mini group. They can motivate each other and it creates a competitive environment so the lads enjoy having each around for that very nature. I suppose 8 or 9 years ago you would be just rehabbing the injury and going to a physio, whereas now you’re working the injured limb and everything else.”
“Those lads away on the rest week, whether they are abroad sunning themselves or here, were given a comprehensive training programme for the week which is a maintenance programme with the idea being they won’t lose fitness during the week. So the plan is they come back refreshed and reinvigorated but they won’t have lost any of their fitness. They have to complete two weight sessions and two cardio sessions while they are away, in their own time and in their own facility. The programmes were designed so that the players can do it wherever they are.”
“Some lads who stayed around have come into the gym here, Dougie came in on Monday and Tuesday, Duncan has been in and Tom Gleeson has been in.”
“When the squad return next week we will treat it almost like a pre-season week where we will get a lot of volume in and get a push on with fitness and strength levels. It’s our last opportunity to get a substantial amount of fitness work in before we head into phase two, so we will be preparing for our busiest period with weekly games up to the end of January. It’s uncompromising with no week off and there’s a few “A” games included in there also. So we hope the work we achieve next week sustains us right the way through.”