WHEN Kilmallock bid to win the Munster club SHC title this Sunday they will face a Limerick man as part of the Cratloe backroom team.
Twenty five years ago Ballybrown were crowned Munster club hurling champions.
This Sunday one Ballybrown man bids to mark that anniversary with another Munster club SHC title but in the blue and white of Cratloe.
Mikey Kiely is the strength and conditioning coach with the Clare champions.
This week he brings a unique perspective to Cratloe training, having played against Kilmallock in each of the last two Limerick SHC campaigns with his native Ballybrown. Albeit the Clarina men were beaten on both occasions by The Balbec. Many will recall Kiely performing admirably in a man-marking role on none other than Graeme Mulcahy in their 2013 meeting in the Gaelic Grounds.
“This is my first year with Cratloe. At the beginning of the year I took all the strength and conditioning work with the senior hurlers and footballer, the U-21s and the juniors. On match days I just go to the hurling because football manager Colm Collins is comfortable in the role with that team,” outlined 25-year old Kiely of his role with the double Clare champions.
While still a player himself, Kiely is fast making a name for himself on the physical fitness scene. A graduate of IT Tralee, Kiely is also the current Limerick senior football strength and conditioning coach and was previously involved with the 2013 Clare All-Ireland U-21 side. It was take role that saw him get involved with Cratloe for 2014.
“To win the Clare hurling and football was an unbelievable achievement and it comes down so much to the great communication between managers Joe (McGrath) and Colm (Collins), especially with so many players involved in both sides,” explained Kiely.
In recent weeks Kiely’s role has centred around keeping players fresh as they chased dual success.
“I have to say the players are so professional and that makes it easy. After games its straight for a pool session and then on the Monday evening we get physios to give rub downs. Its probably midweek before we do some training work,” outlined Kiely, who is currently studying for his Masters in LIT, with whom he hopes to play Fitzgibbon Cup hurling over the Winter.
“We (management) have been very aware that the players need to be mentally and physically ready for the games week after week,” outlined Kiely, who will take the Cratloe warm-up on Sunday.
Kiely adds: “It’s just a pleasure to work with this Cratloe bunch because they buy into it all. They are a very clever bunch and all the county guys would be very educated in what needs to be done right to prepare in terms of diet and looking after yourself”.
What of Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds?
“I guess I have a pretty unique perspective because I would be so familiar with the Kilmallock players and are friends with a lot of them after playing county underage with and against them with the club. At the same time I don’t have much to offer that the management don’t already know about Kilmallock,” said Kiely, who won a Ryan Cup All-Ireland Third Level hurling championship with IT Tralee in 2011 alongside Kilmallock’s Eoin Ryan.
While in the Kerry, Kiely also played alongside further Kilmallock hurlers in Barry Hennessy and Liam Hurley.