“A typical week leading up to a championship game for your average club footballer looks like...”
By a Mayo Club footbaler
NEXT weekend sees another round of the Mayo Senior, Intermediate and Junior Championships taking place all over the county, a welcome distraction for many of the area’s football followers from the fortunes of the senior inter-county team.
The week leading up to a championship game can be an anxious wait, sometimes seeming longer than any previous week. Club Spy is going to use this column to give you, the loyal reader, an indication of what a typical week leading up to an important championship game can consist of for your average club footballer.
The week before the match, probably on the Sunday morning, all the squad are together to play an ‘A vs. B’ game. The team for next weekend will have most probably been decided down to approximately 13 positions, but this practice match is vital for those players that are battling it out for the last two positions.
With the game a week away and training on early this morning, there was no late Saturday night; whether everyone on the squad follows that practice I don’t know but the majority will have. The game is competitive with the ‘A’ team eventually winning by a few points. Things go well for me up until ten minutes from the end of the session when I feel a slight pull on my left quad muscle and I’m sent to the dressing-room to apply an ice pack to my injury to keep swelling down.
Monday and the early part of the morning is spent trying to get an appointment with the physio so that they can assess my injury and tell me what I need to do so as to be in a position to play next weekend. The injury does feel a lot better and I’m hopeful that the treatment later this evening will be of huge benefit towards my recovery.
I finish work early today (thankfully the boss is a mad GAA head – not every player is in that position) so that I can get to the physio. Treatment goes well and the indication from the physio is that Ill be fine come next Sunday.
Tuesday and my leg is now feeling a lot better. My spirits are lifted with the news from the physio that she expects me to be fine for the game but she has told me to sit out tonight’s training session. I inform our manager that I will not be training tonight as advised by the physio. I hate missing training as some of the other guys that I’m in competition with for a starting place are showing some form. As the saying goes ‘one man’s loss is another man’s gain’ and I don’t want to be that man losing out.
Wednesday. I link in with a few of the lads on the squad and find out what sort of session was had last night. They tell me that it was a short, sharp training session with a lot of emphasis on moving the ball at pace and supporting the man on the ball. This has been our main tactic of play all season and our manager is constantly reinforcing this point to us. I have another physio appointment this evening.
Thursday. Treatment went very well last night and I feel 99% fit, hopefully I’ll be fine to train tomorrow night as this will be our final get together before the game on Sunday. Friday. A busy day at work and I don’t have much time to think about my injury or the game for that matter, but that all changes at 5.30 when I finish up for the weekend. I arrive at training 30 minutes before the start of the session as it’s important that I get well warmed up before we start.
Training is only for 40 minutes tonight and consists mainly of kick-passing and shooting at goal. The team is also named tonight and I’m in the team to start.
Saturday is a very boring day as you are trying to relax and rest before the game the next day. The evening is usually passed by going to the cinema or renting a dvd and relaxing. Sunday is not a morning for sleeping in, so up early and down to the shop for the papers. Breakfast is on the table by the time I’m back. A substantial breakfast is vital this morning as I won’t eat a meal again until after the match this evening. I spend the next hour or two scanning over the papers and watching tv, trying to kill time before I head for the pitch. We have to be in the dressing room an hour before the game. The week has gone well and preparation has been good lets just hope the game goes as well...
the county team successfully negotiated the tricky trip to Carrick-on-Shannon. It was a no win situation for the team, a 10 point or one point win was never going to have the supporters singing their praises but let’s hope that the work done in Portugal will be seen in Castlebar on July 16. It’s going to be a seriously tough battle but one the players, I have no doubt, will rise too.
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