Limerick U21 Strength and Conditioning Coach Mikey Kiely – “The best cultures are player driven and that’s what we’re trying to achieve with Limerick.”
Mikey Kiely has the dual role of Strength and Conditioning and hurling coach with the Limerick U21 hurlers and has had high praise from the management team this year.
The former St Clement’s student secured a teaching degree early in his adult life but in the end didn’t feel that it was the right path for him in life.
“I was given a teaching degree but had no real interest in teaching. I then did a Masters in Strength and Conditioning in LIT and during my academia I was always involved in the practical side of things so eventually it evolved naturally.”
“It started off in 2012, I had the chance to intern with the Limerick Football team under Andy O’Neil. After that I got called into Claire under 21’s (hurlers) in 2013, I was working with the now senior hurling management team and they were great to me, fortunately we had a team off All-Stars the same year and we won the Under 21 All Ireland.
From there I went back into the Limerick Footballers as head of Strength and conditioning, it was a huge experience, the first time I controlled a senior team.
I looked after the (Limerick hurling) 14’s to the minor team last year, the pinnacle was getting to an All Ireland final, unfortunately we came up against a good Tipperary team.”
Dealing with young talented athletes will always have its challenges, especially in GAA, with players committed to so many different teams. Kiely says attempting to manage the players workload is the hardest thing about his role.
“This is the most difficult part of the job, particularly in February and March. You’ve players involved with club’s football and hurling, colleges and a lot of our panel play senior hurling.
We have them using monitoring apps, where they detail their sleep, how much training they do, how may games they play and their nutrition every week. We have to make educated decisions based on that information.
The communication in the GAA in general is poor. Once we get the communication between ourselves and John Kiely right and the college coaches, a lot of this overtraining can be avoided.”
The Ballybrown club-man is also hurling coach with the panel, he feels being able to have a more hands on approach and having the chance to implement fitness regimes into actual match training practices is a big bonus.
“I find it much easier having a role in fitness and coaching, it might be more difficult if I was trying to put my thoughts to a hurling coach.”
This Limerick U21’s side is probably as talented a panel as you’re likely to see. Kiely says that they are a self-motivated group and that Limerick are looking to move towards a more player driven culture at Inter-County level.
“They drive behaviour and they drive performance themselves. You see with the best sporting cultures around the world, the likes of the All Blacks. The best cultures are player driven and that’s what we’re trying to achieve with Limerick.”
The Limerick man, who’s currently doing his PHD in WIT, is still in the early stages of his career, and at 28 he feels that there is always room to improve.
“You can always develop your coaching, I’m still early in my coaching career. You’re always looking at the likes of the Munster’s or the soccer to see if you can pick up anything.”
Watch the full interview below.