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28th Aug 2018

Kieran Donaghy’s brilliant story shows how much diets have changed in the Kerry team

Patrick McCarry

‘Yer man’s lost it! He’s finally gone!’

Kieran Donaghy has seen some big changes during his time on the inter-county scene. He enjoys the challenge of keeping up with the young guns but still gets a kick out of the diets some of his old teammates fell back on.

The 35-year-old finished his 14th season with Kerry when they were eliminated from the championship at the Super 8s stage but is not announcing any retirements yet. If Kerry’s new boss wants him, he will aim to answer the call.

The Kingdom star joined Colm Parkinson on The GAA Hour and, sparked by a discussion on Limerick hurling sensation Kyle Hayes [from 15:30 below], recalled some funny stories from lads he came across when he was breaking into the senior panel.

“I’ve had to adapt as it has gone along,” says Donaghy.

“As you’ve noticed, looking in from the outside, the new guys are doing different stuff; doing pool sessions after [training and matches]. The new guys are taking their professionalism to unbelievable levels.”

“They don’t know about William Kirby retiring in 2005 because the craic was gone out of it. He couldn’t go on the lash before league games!”

“These guys, they don’t know none of that,” Donaghy continues. “They’ve been going to the gym for the last five or six years.

“Kyle Hayes was unbelievable the last day. But look at him – the size of him and physique of him around the place. That has come from four or fives years in the gym. That hasn’t come from pucking the ball around in the back garden, off the wall. That is where a lot of us came from.

“I was slagging one of the young lads going in [to the dressing room] the other day. A great wing-back, John Sheehan from Laune Rangers.

“In one of my first sessions in [the Kerry senior panel] he came in with a roll. He was a plasterer by trade and he came in with a roll with cheese and coleslaw, and a bottle of fizzy Lucozade, like.

“I was saying to one of the young lads, ‘If I land in next Tuesday night with a roll and sat down in the corner, and popping open the bottle of Lucozade and eating the roll before training’.

“I’d say the new guys would be looking over at me and saying, ‘Yer man’s lost it! He’s finally gone!’

“But they’re brilliant,” Donaghy adds. “That’s the way they do it and more power to them. Hayes is probably already thinking county championship next week, or the week after with the club. He’s thinking he doesn’t want to be picking up injuries.

“He’s probably thinking that [Limerick] want to go on and dominate like the Dublins of now and the Kilkennys from back in the day. To be honest, we probably all thought Galway were going to go into that period of dominance as they were so good last year, and they were obviously unlucky the last day.

“Limerick are probably saying to themselves now, ‘We’ve a very young profile, a young team. Can we stay sharp and put a back-to-back together?’ I’m sure that’s their goal. That is similar to some of the teams I have been on. We won the All-Ireland and on that Monday, we’d be thinking, ‘We have to improve this’ and ‘This has to be better’‘Yeah, we won this year but we got away with that’. The winners should already be looking at what’s next.

“I’d say Kyle Hayes is a winner and he’s looking at what’s next.”

From one All-Ireland winner to the next, Donaghy has spotted some fine traits in Hayes and he most definitely approves.