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O’Malley is back in the game!

Sport

Back in the game
Cormac O'Malley

THERE was one move in the January transfer window that really caught the eye. You know the one I mean of course… Kazuyoshi Miura renewing his contract with Yokohama FC in the Japanese Second Division!
But why, you ask, was it so significant? Well, ‘King Kazu’ as he’s affectionately known to his legions of fans, is now 51 years of age, and the oldest man ever to play professional soccer.
The main takeaway for me though is that at least there is someone older than myself playing sport right now! Last year, at the sprightly age of 34, I decided to try and relive my youth by going back playing GAA with Bonniconlon and soccer with Ballina Town, after almost a decade out of both sports.
Now, being the foolhardy eejit that I am, I presumed that I could get a few training sessions under  my belt and be back in the swing of things fairly quickly.
What I didn’t realise, however, was just how much the games have advanced – I won’t say changed, because the goal is still the same at the end of the day – but boy have things gone up a notch in terms of preparation.
So having survived, to a degree, in my comeback year, I thought I’d throw myself into really committing to the 2018 season in GAA and soccer. How I cope with that will be another issue entirely!
We hear so much about ‘sacrifices’ etc when it comes to playing sport, especially at the top level, but that’s not a word I would use so readily – sacrifice isn’t going out playing the game or games you enjoy and have loved all your life.
It is a hell of a lot of commitment, however.
Once you’re in, you’re in. There’s no half measures at any stage now if you want to progress. That goes for every sport, and every code, men’s and women’s.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 35 or 25, if you’re not going to pull your weight, then, thanks a million, but we haven’t got time for passengers!
Does this make it better or worse than when I was last in the game over a decade ago? It’s hard to know really – for one thing, when most of the friends you grew up playing the game with have retired due to work, family commitments or injury, it certainly changes the dressing-room dynamic somewhat!
But to commit totally this season I’ve decided to get right – and that meant Pilates, a trip to a nutritionist, and a real go at pre-season… Oh, for the days when I could run all day without a care in the world.
But it’s important, as I’ve said, that if you’re going to buy into something, you do it right. And if all else fails at least I’m finding a way to keep fit and out of the house.
Now, I just need to get this sore hamstring looked it…

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