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Naomh Eoin man links up with Waterford hurlers

When Michael Liddane was appointed to Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford senior hurling management team as one of their fitness trainers, it didn’t take the Naomh Eoin man long to quieten the Deise hurlers.
Michael Liddane, pictured here with his father, also Michael has teamed up with Davy Fitzgerald in the Waterford county hurling  set-up.   Photograph by  John KellyLiddane’s method of silencing the Waterford hurlers owed nothing to killer runs or onerous training.
Asked where in Ennis he lived, the former county footballer had to explain that he lived a bit further west than that. More than 40 miles further in fact. So before he hits Ennis at all, Liddane has an hour’s driving behind him. A round trip adds up to 300 miles and almost seven hours of driving. A few jaws definitely dropped on hearing this, although he regularly travels with Davy Fitzgerald so perhaps the commute isn’t as taxing as it might be.
Appointed before Christmas, the chance to work at inter-county level was an opportunity Liddane couldn’t refuse, even if his sporting background is on the Gaelic football field.
“I’m not going to be showing them how to put it over the bar but I’ll show them how to get there by having a stronger body,” he told The Clare Champion this week.
He will work as part of a fitness team with Waterford and won’t be solely responsible for their level of physical wellbeing. 
“There are a few lads involved. There’s a fitness team of up to three or four. The big thing when I’m doing my own drills, what’s hard to get used to is that there’s guys there willing to put out the bollards and cones. I almost have to tell myself to stop doing it,” he laughed. 
“Somebody else takes over then for another 20 minutes so I’m not taking the whole session or anything like it. Davy is omnipresent, the whole time directing traffic. He is nothing if not professional so there is a designated schedule. We try to keep to that as much as possible. At the moment, we’re training in a couple of different places in Waterford,” the three time Sigerson Cup winner with Tralee IT said.
Although experienced in his fitness profession, Liddane acknowledges that he is learning from the professionalism of the set up in the south-east.
“It’s an eye-opener really. It’s so professional. That was the first thing. Every little minute detail is looked upon as regards their diet, recovery time and the weights programme,” he explained.
“I’ve to tie in with the guy doing the weights and I’ve to tie in with the nutritionist; there’s physios and there’s doctors – you name it. But it’s good to liaise with guys like that and that’s the professionalism that’s going to come across and will hopefully stand to me down through the years,” he said.
Although he hopes to pick up ideas in Waterford, Liddane is confident that he will bring his own methods to Clare’s Munster semi-final opponents.
“Waterford have been there or thereabouts for years. They had a couple of fitness trainers down through the years. Maybe I might bring a fresh approach. It’s a case of trying it out. The guys have very been responsive up to now,” he observed. 
A fitness instructor for more than a decade, Liddane had to consult with his wife before committing to Waterford.
“There were two things disrupting my decision before Christmas. Obviously my family – my wife Chris, our daughter, Leanna, and new baby son, Sam. That was the big thing, leaving them behind a lot. But Chris said, ‘listen go for it. This might never again come up. We’ll manage away’,” he explained.
Another factor he had to weigh up was the likelihood that his football season might be curtailed. If he is going to be in Waterford most weekends, there are bound to be times when the Waterford training schedule clashes with Naomh Eoin fixtures.
“Naomh Eoin was obviously the other side of the coin. I’d consider myself a fairly good clubman in that I’d try to put my heart and soul into it. I knew straight away that there was going to be a lot of Saturdays and Sundays. So it’s going to disrupt things in that regard. There’ll be a lot of Saturday evening matches. I won’t be there for all the Naomh Eoin games but I’ll be there for the ones that matter, hopefully,” he added.
“We’re going to give it another lash this year. We’re up to Division 3 in the league. We’ve lost the Junior A final and semi-final in the last two years so we’ll be trying to get that elusive win this year.”
Naomh Eoin won’t be playing championship football on June 7. That’s the date Waterford play Clare in the Munster semi-final in Thurles.
If Waterford win, it will seem like a shorter drive home for Michael Liddane, even if he might be avoiding making eye contact with his county people when heading West that evening.

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