At this time of year it’s hard for Aindriú Mac Lochlainn to be away from inter-county football
MISSING THE BUZZ
I miss everything to do with inter-county football. Every week you are being tested, even in training, you are marking somebody who has the potential to turn you over. Kieran (McGeeney) might give you a job to mark somebody in a game, maybe the opposition’s main scoring threat, and you know that if you do your job the team has a great chance of winning. If you can nullify that threat then the team has a great platform to go on and win but if you don’t do that job and he does his job for his team then your team suffers. I miss that pressure – when there are 80,000 people watching you at Croke Park and however many others are watching on television or listening on radio. Everybody knows if you have done your job or if you haven’t. I used to relish being in that battle, that sort of cauldron. It’s almost a gladiator sort of scenario, you and your team mates against the opposition and you are surrounded by this cauldron of people where people are baying for blood so to speak.
BACK TO CLUB LIFE
I have a sports science degree so it’s easier for me to understand what I have to do to keep my body in shape. Training with the club isn’t as taxing but it’s very enjoyable. There is less pressure, it’s not as intense and you can enjoy it a bit more. Time-wise it is better too. If we are training at 8pm, I only live around the corner and if I am running late and get there at quarter to it’s not a problem and I’m home by half nine. With the county, I’d leave the house at half 6, I might have to go the physio first, the backs might get together out on the field before Kieran calls us in and then the official training starts. Depending on what Kieran wants to get done or what time of year it is, it could be half ten or 11 by the time I get home. A match can be a full day thing then at the weekend. It’s good to be surrounded by the lads like that on the day of a game though because they are in the same frame of mind as you. You could still have a laugh and a joke hours before the game but the lads still know what is coming in a few hours which your family might not understand. I liked meeting up early or even when we stayed in the Marriott before a game because there is a lot of work to be done at home with three children!
BUILD-UP TO A BIG GAME
You’d be thinking about it and looking forward to it anyway. Kieran (McGeeney) will be absolutely drilling them in the weeks in between, not a dogging session, just that everything will be done at great intensity. If you are working on a system or how we are going to play against a team, there would be no walking through anything, it would be flat out because that is when you see if you understand the system.
COMBINING TRAINING WITH WORK
There are three variations to training really, when you are in pre-season, league and then championship, there are different scales of training so to speak. A lot of pre-season is done on your own because of the regulations relating to team training. There would be a lot of gym sessions, you have your own program to do there but there is not a lot of on-field work. The toughest time I had time-wise was the year we got to the intermediate county final with Ellistown. I only had ten days off between the final and going back with Kildare.
It’s not always training either. There might be nine sessions that you have a week but it wouldn’t always be on the field. There might be team meetings, psychologist, things like that but you would be gym-ing it a least three times a week. It could be Monday gym, Tuesday pitch, Wednesday gym, Thursday pitch, Friday morning pitch, Friday evening gym, Saturday would be captain’s run and then Sunday match. That would be a basic week and then there would be meetings with Hugh Campbell in between all that.
It can be very taxing. This time of year can be easier because there is a big game like the Dublin match coming up. It’s championship time and you are in the thick of it. The games are huge for the sacrifices you are making but the hardest time is in winter when you are making huge sacrifices and there might be only a very low profile game at the end of it. You are still making the same sacrifices with your family life, that’s the hard bit, people will know all about championship. In the winter, it’s dark when you are you getting up, it’s dark when you are going training. You get home late and then you get up again to do it all over the next day. That’s the hard bit.
Setting up my own business has given me something else to focus on. I received my licence at the start of May and set up Andriú MacLochlainn Personal Financial Advisor. I’m a tied agent with Acorn Life. Mark O’Connor, who played for Cork for years, contacted me through Dermot Earley and approached me. It’s been enjoyable so far. I’m meeting customers all the time and I think they appreciate that personal touch. It’s not done over the phone, it’s done face to face and customers like that, they are not just with Acorn, they are with Andriú MacLochlainn and they can contact me directly if they have a problem. It’s a wide range of things that people need, general things like home and motor, health and commercial insurance, they are the straightforward things. The advice I can offer covers pensions, investments, critical illness, life insurance, all the things that people need advise for.
In conversation with Ger McNally