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Super Kev’ McLoughlin is still going strong


FRESH Kevin McLoughlin

Ger Flanagan

LAST week in Croke Park, Kevin McLoughlin lined out in his 45th consecutive championship game for Mayo.
Incredibly, the Knockmore clubman started in all but one of those previous matches, with the only exception being in 2011 when he came off the bench to save Mayo from an embarrassing defeat in London with a last-minute point to force that Connacht championship game to extra-time.
And what an important score that turned out to be!
So what does Kevin McLoughlin do differently to ensure such a rich, injury-free run of form and games?
As he says himself, his day job teaching in Rice College, Westport certainly doesn’t do him any harm.
“It just means I am a professional at this stage of the year,” was how he described his school holidays to The Mayo News Football Podcast last Friday, adding that it gives him time for ‘a lot of recovery’.
When the 28 year-old isn’t busy teaching Science, Physics, Maths and Applied Maths in Westport, he can occasionally be found helping out on his family’s dairy farm too.
His father, Kevin Snr, is something of a minor local celebrity due to the fact that his picture appeared in a Connacht Gold promotion on cartons of milk at one time.
“I think he was demoted to the smaller carton,” smiled Kevin. “Maybe they might get him back up to the one litre again… I’m not the biggest farmer in the world and he’ll be the first to admit that.
“But if he ever needs a dig out, I’ll give him that.”
McLoughlin has established himself as one of Stephen Rochford’s most trusted lieutenants in this current Mayo squad; so far this summer he has chalked down 2-5 for his efforts.
He’s also been deployed in the forward line this season after spending championship 2016 operating as a ‘sweeper’.
“One thing you find if you are back there, you probably touch the ball a lot more, because you tend to be a free man,” he reflected.
“I enjoyed it as well at the same time, it has maybe changed my mindset a small bit this year in terms of ways to get on the ball… so maybe it has improved my game. Time will tell.”
It was 2009 when McLoughlin made his championship debut for the Green and Red, rather coincidentally as a corner back in Mayo’s victory over New York in Gaelic Park.
He’s well placed then to address any notions that this Mayo team are beginning to feel the effects of seven consecutive long seasons.
“It’s more people talking about feeling fatigued more so than anything,” he said. “When a team isn’t playing well, it’s very easy to say he looks tired, but it’s just maybe the way it looks on the pitch. And when the teams are going well, they’re fresh.
“I wouldn’t say personally that I’m fatigued. I can’t really speak for everyone else, but I’m pretty sure we’re pretty ok in terms of fitness.”


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