There is a man whose name has started to constantly pop up in Irish sport over the last couple of years. You'll find him in Brian O'Driscoll's autobiography. You'll hear him on Newstalk discussing siege mentality and the like. You'll hear him on Today FM, on RTÉ Radio One and see stories all over the place about his influence. Again today, I happen upon his work in Paul Galvin's autobiography.
Enda McNulty seems to be the man behind a plethora of top Irish sports people these days.
And reading Galvin's book, his story about how McNulty helped him change how he prepares for matches is exactly the sort of stuff we like reading in sports autobiographies. An insight into what makes a champion tick.
Galvin discusses how he felt completely burnt out by June 2009, and almost quit after his sending off against Cork. He decided to keep going but was adamant he needed to not let emotion rule his game. It was here that McNulty came in. The Kerry forward dicusses how McNulty challenged his approach to matches; telling him the ability to relax was most important. Something which Galvin couldn't understand:
Why would you want to switch off from the game? The game was all I thought about.
On McNulty's advice, Galvin started to take up more hobbies; to switch off before a game in order to switch on, 'Finding distraction became my focus. Especially in days leading up to the games.' He credits this change in mindset as a huge factor in him going on to win Footballer of the Year:
When you play with emotion, or your heart, you have no vision, no awareness of outcomes or consequences. You play blind, almost – or at least with a very narrow focus. When you play with your head, you play with vision, all you think about is the outcome and consequences. You see things before they happen.
Given that a byproduct of this approach was Galvin taking a greater interest in music and fashion, it's fair to say that McNulty has had an influence on his life which far surpasses just Gaelic football.