A day in the life of Senior Limerick hurling champion, Barry Hennessy

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Barry Hennessy is our Munster area Sales manager. He is a Senior Limerick Hurler, and recently won the All-Ireland final against Cork (2021). Along-side this, the arrival of his new baby girl, Hope, has been keeping him occupied. We did a Q&A with Barry to see what he gets up to on a day-to-day basis, as a Senior hurler, fitness enthusiast, father and husband.

1. What does a typical day look like for you? ⏰

My days are a bit different now since Hope (my new baby girl) arrived! 😊

Prior to her arrival I would wake around 5am/5:15 every morning and head up to my local gym (which I thankfully have a key for and can use at my discretion.) on the mornings I would not have a pitch session with Kilmallock or Limerick and normally do 60-75 mins made up of mobility work and strength training to try keep retirement away for another few years.

Now that Hope is here, I still try to get up at the same time and sneak out the door without waking her because it is the best time of the day for me to get some gym work done and it allows me to be at home in the evening then to help my wife Elaine wherever I can. After the gym it’s normally home to catch up on some emails, have a coffee and spend some time with my two dogs Mollie and Marlee. 🐶

Hope and Elaine are normally still asleep at this stage, so I try shower and get out the door without waking them and start my day as Munster Area Manager for Revive Active where I call to pharmacies and health food stores around Munster on a daily basis. I try to call to a minimum of 5 customers everyday but some days you do more and some days less so everyday is different, every customer is different and I love that no two days are ever the same.

I’m normally home by 4:30 on training days and 6 on non-training days and if I have training it’s home to say hello to Hope and Elaine, grab my gear and then it’s out the door again to training. After training I’d have a quick bite to eat with the lads and would be back in my door around 9:45/10pm to give Hope her bottle and put her to bed.

2. How do you prep for an All-Ireland? 🏑

Barry Hennessy  - All Ireland Hurling Champion
2021 was my 9th year on the Limerick panel so prep and routine are something I have practiced and tried to nail down over the last few years. Our sports psychologist Caroline Currid would have been really strong on us creating routines for game weeks and whether it is the first round of the Munster League or the All Ireland final my routine wouldn’t really change.

I’d make sure I still got my gym work in and that I was happy with how my hurling sessions went from a sports point of view and from a personal element. I’d go to work as normal, Monday to Friday as normal, and the day before the game is switch off day where Elaine and now Hope would get my full attention for the day with nothing hurling related throughout the day. We went to the woodlands house hotel the day before the final in August for lunch and coffee and a walk and it was nice to be able to have that family time. In the past, I would have been brutal for getting nervous and stressed about the game and spend the day hitting a ball off the wall, but I would always be exhausted when the game came around.

3. What is your go to breakfast? 🍳

My go to breakfast has changed over the years. I always start with a Revive Active sachet and some Mastermind while I am prepping. I’ve been taking both products since 2015 and wouldn’t miss a day.
I’d have always been a big breakfast man having everything from steak and eggs to boiled eggs and tuna but recently I have tried to cut down on my meat consumption and switched to more plant- based diet. I tried to go vegan but it wasn’t for me, so I have a more flexitarian approach and try eat plant-based with some fish and eggs thrown in every so often. It will also depend on my schedule if it’s a training day on the pitch I will go for some porridge with some plant protein mixed in with a coffee and on my off days or gym days I tend to keep my calories lower, so I’ll opt for a smoothie with some plant-based protein powder, berries, some greens and yogurt. The big thing for me is to make sure I am getting adequate protein in the morning, so I aim for 40-50g with my breakfast 😊

4. How did you mentally prep for an All-Ireland Final? 🏆

Mental prep for me is slightly different than the lads that are playing. As the sub keeper you are trying to make sure you are ready yourself, but you are also trying to make sure Nickie (Limerick Senior Hurling team goal-keeper) is ready and do what you can to help him. I have been lucky enough to train with a goalie at the level that Nickie is at since we were both 14 and play up along with him.
Barry Hennessy Senior Hurling Champion

I just try focus on one day at a time and make sure I get the best out of myself on that day and not think into the future where you can have no effect on the outcome. So, it could be making sure I have got enough sleep, to eating right, to getting my gym work done to making sure on the Tuesday before the final I have a good training session. All those little things give you the confidence mentally that I have the work done and I am ready. The night before games I’d spend maybe 5 minutes going through some visualization and scenarios where Nickie would get an injury or would have to come off and I am called upon and some game situations then so that if it happened I would have already played the scenario out in my head.

5. Have you always played GAA?

Haha yeah so, my family would be fairly steeped in GAA in my home town of Kilmallock. My father, grand uncles, cousins etc would have all been involved in the club and would have played for limerick so, as soon as I could stand, I had a hurley in my hand. My father played in goal for limerick and Kilmallock so as soon as I went training for the first time I was stuck into goals then as well. My father would have taken over playing in goal from his cousin and then I took over from him after his last year so there has been a member of my family playing in goal for Kilmallock for nearly 40 years.

6. What really motivates you?

Barry Hennessy with daughter Hope
From a personal and professional point of view my family. Just making sure they are protected and never want for anything and from a sporting point of view not letting my team mates down and making sure when they look at me they know I am doing my very best.

7. Is there anything you do to wind down after a tough training session? 🎙

Pat McCafee Show - Barry Hennessy

Winding down after sessions is normally harder during the week because it is very late when your coming home especially at the start of the year when it is dark and miserable. I’d normally stick on Pat Mcafee’s podcast because I love American sports especially NFL and it’s very light hearted. After weekend sessions I’d try watch a bit of Netflix with Elaine or go for a walk with the dogs in the local park in Croom where we live now.

8. What does exercise and sports mean to you? 💪

I’m very appreciative of the opportunity sport and exercise has given me and the experiences it has brought. Firstly, I’m grateful I can get up every morning and be able to exercise and have that choice when so many can’t and then to represent my club and county is a massive honour because you are representing something greater than just yourself and part of a team that only a handful of players out of thousands in your county get to do. Sport has afforded me the opportunity to travel and see places in the world I never thought I would and it has also given me some of the most special moments I’ll cherish forever.

9. What does your average training day look like?

Similar to what I said above in terms of waking and morning routine, my training day would look something like this:
5pm: Arrive at the Gaelic grounds

5:20pm: Video analysis

6:10pm: Goalkeepers start training

7pm: Main squad training

10pm: Home

11:00pm-11:45pm: Try get to sleep somewhere in that time frame

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