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Changing Jobs Has Made All The Difference To Colm Callanan's Hurling Career

Changing Jobs Has Made All The Difference To Colm Callanan's Hurling Career
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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At 35, Colm Callanan has reached a point in life where he has picked up the responsibilities which come with age. He has a business and family to manage along with being an inter-county player.

Though, Callanan knows what he's getting himself in for every year that he continues in the game. "It is my decision at the end of the day. I can't be really crying about it if I sign myself up."

Galway manager Micheál Donoghue recognised that his goalkeeper has a more on his plate than the younger players on the panel, allowing him to be a bit more autonomous with his training sessions in recent weeks.

"Micheál has been very good to me, he knew I was looking at a few things as regards business and I've a little girl at home as well, " Callanan told Balls at the Allianz Hurling League launch on Monday. So there was a bit of leeway given where I was doing sessions on my own. Once they were done they were done.

"I'm back in since last week, but the lads were back in before that. In fairness he was helpful in that regard and he didn't put any pressure on me to be going in before Christmas or anything. It was okay to get that little bit of leeway, I suppose.

In the winter of 2011, Callanan got a phone call from then Galway manager Anthony Cunningham telling him that he would not be part of the panel for the following year. Something had to change if he was going to re-establish himself in the group once again.

He took action, recognising that his job - a traffic management safety officer for a civil engineering company - was hindering his hurling career.


"It was tough work, it just wasn't conducive to playing inter-county hurling. I was getting out of work early getting down to Athenry training, getting back at 11.30 at night basically walking into the room, already asleep. Getting up again in the morning at seven."

The Kinvara man enrolled in a course to become a personal trainer. In 2014, he opened a gym in his home village. "Personal training, group coaching, lifestyle stuff," are the areas in which Callanan says he's involved.

The main driver for doing the course I did was that if I was ever to go working with teams I would have qualifications behind me and not just shooting in the dark, telling people to do this, that, and the other, not really having a clue what I was talking about.

It was just doing the course and I liked it so much that I saw an opening in my hometown as well. Kinvara never had a gym before since I came down there with one. A couple of things were driving that, but the change in the work environment was definitely one.

Callanan's story has parallels with another Connacht inter-county star: Andy Moran. Last year's footballer of the year has also benefited from starting his own gym. Moran had been working as a sales rep. Long hours spent in his car made recovery from back and knee injuries difficult. Starting his own business and working in a gym provided him with the space - both in terms of time and facilities - to reach a high point in his career.

The change in job has certainly benefited Callanan's career too.


"There’s a lot of lads in the squad in better shape than I am! It does help obviously. When our fitness coach is telling us certain things, I know what he’s talking about straight away and it’s a little bit easier to grasp what’s going on.

“Recovery is probably the buzz word around any inter-county setup now, and anything that happens at inter-county seems to drip down to club level.

“Clubs are trying to cling on to everything that’s going on at inter-county level, in terms of recovery and how players look after themselves off the field between games. It’s probably good to have an inside track I suppose.


One of the major additions to the Galway panel last year was not a player but strength and conditioning coach Lukasz Kirszenstein. Working with teams, like the Polish trainer does, is a move which Callanan hopes to make in the future.

Probably over the next few years I will look to get more qualified in terms of what Lukasz does with teams and that and I will lean on him a little bit to see what I can learn there, to get more qualifications.

I'm not trying to pigeon hole myself yet as one certain thing, team sports is probably one I'd like to expand a little bit more as we get older.

See Also: Derek McGrath Defends Jamie Barron's Honesty About Future Career Plans



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