Former Galway hurling captain David Collins is serenading Johnny Glynn. Effusive in praise of this practically unmarkable maroon giant, Collins casually reveals new details of Glynn's ongoing 4,900 kilometre commute.
That the 25-year-old’s home is the Bronx, while retaining constant links to the south Galway village of Ardrahan, shows the impracticalities of modern inter-county living.
“Huge commitment but that’s Johnny Glynn all over,” said Collins at the Fexco Asian Gaelic Games launch in Croke Park.
“I was chatting to him the day after the Clare game and even the Kilkenny game after the Leinster final, when he was going back to the States, the boys were on the beer on the Sunday night and he was flying back on the Monday morning. He would be back on Thursday to go training so the commitment is fantastic.”
Indications last April had Glynn ensconced in the Galway hurling fold for this season’s championship, having made the transatlantic commute during 2017. Not so it seems.
“After the Leinster final he was back over for three days working,” Collins explained. “I was chatting to him saying, ‘How are you feeling?’ and he was, ‘I’m here in the airport flying out.’ I’m going, ‘Where’s Serena?’ That’s the girlfriend and he said, ‘She’s at home’.
"He has a great attitude for such a young fella and that's key in terms of what Micheál [Donoghue] has brought to it. He has got those lads and they have real humility and they are genuine decent fellas that didn't get ahead of themselves. Yeah, they had parties and lived it up when they won the All Ireland. Jesus, I lived it up myself, don't mind them but getting back to your point..."
You want to be there all the time but we got a house and got married and it takes over, it really does take over
The line of questioning was trained on Glynn’s enormous impact during this thrilling hurling summer but Collins had gifted the gathered reporters a fresh line the week of an All-Ireland final. This is an extremely rare happening. More information was needed so the next question gets casually lofted into the square’s edge.
Can Glynn sustain these round trips from New York to Galway?
“No, I don’t think so. He’d love to keep doing it, every player would, but if your career is suffering and you are trying to develop a life for yourself in the States or even in Ireland it’s not going to be sustainable because the demands are too high.
He's got one All-Ireland and is playing fantastic stuff but he's so devoted to his club at home, Ardrahan, and he loves it
“He’ll want to give every bit of blood, sweat and tears to the boys and when you are not able to do that you nearly get to feel bad. It starts to cut you up and you start playing bad hurling because you don’t feel you are doing enough and are not with the lads enough. I did find that myself when I was still there. You want to be there all the time but we got a house and got married and it takes over, it really does take over.”
Glynn is a qualified quantity surveyor.
“Project management,” Collins added. “It’s a great career and I’d hope there is good money in it.”
So he’s based in New York permanently?
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t really be talking to him that much about that sort of stuff. When I talk to him it’s about hurling.... I do think that it is going to be a challenge for him to keep that going, to fly back and forth, whether herself wants that or not it will be a decision he’ll have to make on the basis of ‘Do I build a life out here and leave the hurling behind me?’
“He’s got one All-Ireland and is playing fantastic stuff but he’s so devoted to his club at home, Ardrahan, and he loves it and he has flown home to play club games last year so the dedication is going to be there all the time.”
This leads into the issues presented by the new hurling format and glut of highly entertaining games created by the round-robin format in both Leinster and Munster championships. Collins sees the enormous benefits while highlighting the inevitable demise of thirty-something hurlers.
“My only thing about [the one week recovery periods] is it is going to kill the older players. The likes of your [Patrick] Horgan and Brick Walsh. You can’t put your body on the line on a Sunday and train again on a Monday or Tuesday evening as your body just doesn’t recover quick enough. Look at Gearóid McInerney tearing the calf, minimum three weeks...
You see so many recreational drugs and it's a big bugbear of mine, being in a gym or anywhere; how many lads are juiced up?
Collins expects McInerney to start at centre back on Sunday against Limerick though. “It’s going to be a young lads game. The demands dictate that.”
The 34-year-old, who retired from inter-county hurling in 2016, became the Gaelic Players Association president last year, a position privy to the recent stand off between the anti-doping arm of Sport Ireland and the GAA over the possession of amateur players addresses in order to allow out of competition testing.
“Home drug testing was on the cards anyway. It is no real difference but now the addresses can be requested by Sport Ireland. You have to protect the game but you have to protect the players too. You see so many recreational drugs and it’s a big bugbear of mine, being in a gym or anywhere; how many lads are juiced up? What’s the health issues going to come down the line? And if the GAA can lead the protection of that, I’m all for it.
"They can only request the addresses on the back of information. It is to be used for intelligence purposes only. It was a successful resolution because the GAA, the GPA and Sport Ireland all want clean sport."