“I didn’t pick up a hurley for quite a long time, even until the beginning of April.”
Limerick hurler Sean Finn is delighted with the shorter pre-season this year and insisted he and his teammates are refreshed and ready to go ahead of the 2021 inter-county campaign.
Finn revealed that he didn’t pick up a hurley until April this year after enjoying an extended break from the sport.
Sean Finn on shorter pre-season.
Since December’s All-Ireland final, the Limerick corner-back has taken a complete break from hurling, but is feeling re-energised as the Treaty County prepare to take on Tipperary in this weekend’s Allianz National Hurling League opener.
“We were lucky to get to the All-Ireland in mid-December, so for the first couple of months I took a complete break,” Finn said at the Allianz National Leagues launch.
“I didn’t pick up a hurley for quite a long time, even until the beginning of April. I did very little exercise. I just found a break from exercise and the whole training regime was as beneficial as actually going out training myself.
“I really enjoyed the three or four months and I can feel the freshness now.
“That has definitely stood to me over the last couple of weeks when we have turned our attention to going back training. I’m looking forward to going back rather than having laboured the last couple of months.
“I think the days of four or five months training before the first league game are hopefully gone. I don’t think there’s a place for it anymore. To get fit, I think six weeks is plenty long enough if you apply yourself right.
“Of course there are going to be exceptions, if some lad is prone to putting on weight and stuff over the couple of months, but you can tailor programmes. There are S&C coaches who can do that to fit their need.
“For the modern player, I think four to six weeks is plenty. I’m happy with the lead-in to the league.”
Sean Finn on getting away from hurling.
Finn revealed that he spent some time in Doonbeg in Clare over the last few months, which has allowed him to step away from hurling and try out sea swimming instead.
“The nature of fellas that are playing at that level we are at the moment, they are going to do a bit in the gym, for their head as much as for GAA, they’re going to do a bit of running,” Finn continued.
“I spent a bit of time back in Doonbeg. My girlfriend has a house back there so I spent three or four months back there, spent a lot of time in the sea swimming, well away from a hurley and a sliotar.
“I’ve done a bit of that over the last couple of months but did I train with the focus of being ready for now? I didn’t really. I took a complete break and it has really stood to me.
“I’m lucky I have great family and friends around but there are times when you would be low that you can’t get out. Exercise is a good way to release that tension that might have built up over a couple of days.”
Sean Finn on the new GAA rule changes.
Meanwhile, at Congress, the GAA passed a motion introducing a new cynical foul penalty for any foul within the 20m or surrounding circular arc. A penalty will now be awarded, and a sin-bin has also introduced for any offender.
However, many players and coaches have spoken out against the rule – including Finn’s manager John Kiely – calling for it to be phrased in a simpler manner.
“From what I understand, it’s going to be quite hard to manage from a referee’s perspective,” Finn said.
“A lot of forwards can actually play for a free and drop the head and in one sense could be coached to win frees. That can be difficult as a defender to avoid that because you can be sucked into it unintentionally. It’ll be a difficult one but I must actually bring it up and discuss it.
“It might be worth having a discussion with the couple of defenders we have at the moment just to see their approach around it and to be cognizant of it and just to know the rules. We’ll have to see how it goes in the league.
“It’ll certainly be a hot topic of conversation over the next couple of months.”
The long-awaited return of inter-county hurling takes place on May 8th with the commencement of the Allianz Hurling Leagues. Over 70 games will take place across the four divisions in an action packed seven-week festival of hurling. This campaign also marks the 29th year of Allianz’ partnership with the GAA as sponsor of the Allianz Leagues, making it one of the longest-running sponsorships in Irish sport.