Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

GAA: Training for the love of the game

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

GAA: You don't have to worry about a 14-stone man hitting you a fierce shoulder while you run around a track
GAA: You don't have to worry about a 14-stone man hitting you a fierce shoulder while you run around a track

A slow news day on any sports desk usually coincides with someone, somewhere, putting a call through to Jerry Kiernan.

Yesterday was another such day, with Kiernan, who ran the men's' marathon for Ireland in the LA Olympics of 1984, complaining about the government donation to the redevelopment of Ruislip, the home of London GAA.

In fairness to him, he's been at this a while now. He said something similar last year, implying that inter-county footballers and hurlers spend September to May couch-surfing and existing on junk food.

Even as far back as 1988, writing in The Kerryman newspaper, the Listowel-born Kiernan stated: "A lot of footballers in the country are 15 to 20 pounds overweight and they sustain a lot of injuries, relating to ligaments and tendons principally and to knees as well. Really, they have no concept of what training is all about."

His beef is the shortfall of athletics funding and in order to back up his argument, he details the times in which 1,500 metre runners can cover a mile.

He then claimed that: "You have as many people running races in Ireland over the weekend as you have people playing Gaelic football games." That provided a hearty belly-laugh.

For a Kerryman, he really, really hates football.

But he is also comically mistaken. Gaelic games players train for their sport, not for the sport of running. You also don't have to worry about a 14-stone man hitting you a fierce shoulder while you run around a track. But maybe if you are Jerry, you might want to keep an eye out!

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