Fitness Coach & Physiotherapist
BSc (Hons) Sport and Orthop Rehab, BSc (Hons) Sport Science,
BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, Grad Dip Aroma, SORP, MISCP
A highly qualified chartered physiotherapist and a sport injury and orthopaedic rehabilitation specialist, Feargal’s career has taken him around the globe.
Prior to returning to his native Galway, Feargal worked in Australia during the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and in the USA, where he worked with professional basketballers and ice-hockey players.
Feargal has a wealth of experience working with the international sporting elite and international premiership soccer and rugby players.
A keen sportsman, Feargal has very strong beliefs in accelerating recovery in sportspeople through intensive ‘hands on’ physiotherapy and ‘aggressive’ rehabilitation.
Galway United’s Fitness Coach/Physio is a man on a mission!
That mission is to ensure that this squad will be the fittest in the League of Ireland. Speaking with Feargal Geraghty you become aware very quickly that you are dealing with a total professional who takes immense pride and satisfaction in his work. He leads by example and would not expect any member of the squad to do anything which he does not partake in himself. Whether it is the 8 mile run on a Monday morning, strength building at the gym or the dreaded ‘ice-bath,’ Feargal is there step by step with the players. The 27 year old comes from a great sporting background and when I asked him if you could create an athlete or is it genetic he quoted the old saying “Choose your parents wisely.” In his case he did, his father Brian ran for Ireland and won a National Mile Title in the 1970’s. Feargal’s mother Fionnguala was also an Irish Intervarsity Athletic Champion and it would take too long to go into his sibling’s and uncle’s successes.
However, those of you without such genetic pedigree can take heart as GU’s fitness coach firmly believes that 90% of sporting achievement is down to hard work. There have been too many cases of those oozing with ability not fulfilling their potential! Apart from accumulating degrees in Sports Science, Sports Rehabilitation and Chartered Physiotherapy the Galway man is completing a Masters in Orthopaedic Medicine in Dublin. He is currently looking for a location to set up a physiotherapy clinic in Galway. Feargal has worked all over the world with performance athletes and in the Sydney Olympics was personal trainer to 16 athletes, half of whom won medals, six of which were gold! So you can see that Galway United is in good hands!
Last season Feargal spent a lot of time rehabilitating players and it was obvious to those watching that the higher standard of football took its toll on many, with niggling injuries as well as longer term problems. The new fitness coach at Galway United was quick to pay tribute to the great work on fitness and strength done by his predecessor Tom French, as he assumes his new role. Building up the strength and endurance levels for the coming season through more gym work is a key priority. “When the body is tired the mind switches off, and I want to prepare the players for 120 minutes not just 90, so they will still be strong and alert at the end of matches.” As well as working on strength and agility he has his charges on strict diets involving pasta and basmati rice with the occasional chicken breast. He is cutting out other cooked meats, butter, and mayonnaise and concentrating on durable sustainable carbohydrates. However for a ‘treat,’ “if the lads win three matches in a row, we will stop off for a pizza.”
The players put in a full 6 day week, with fitness training in the mornings and ball work in the afternoons. They play on Friday night, with a cool down on Saturdays. Those not involved in the Friday night match will line out in the reserve match on Saturday. GU’s fitness coach states that “It is vitally important for me to remain objective, concentrating solely on fitness and conditioning, leaving team selection to the Manager. Every 6 weeks the players are tested and “Believe me there are no loop-holes with the battery tests.” Agility, speed, power, strength are all tested rigorously and the squad are all set individual optimum heart rates. “Like the Kenyan runners, if the players are off this optimum rate they do not train on that day.” “An injured player will train twice as hard to get rehabilitated,” and you can see the shining example of Alan Keane, one of the best full-backs in the League. How Pat Fenlon didn’t pick him for the recent u-23 match is a mystery! Keane, John Russell and Derek o Brien have responded extremely well to the battery testing particularly in terms of speed. The U-21’s Paul Synott and Vinnie Faherty have also responded well to it and there is great potential for the future of local football.
Feargal, who worked as an independent physio, at Arsenal and Chelsea (“We were not the most popular people as we looked at players who were having fitness tests prior to transfers and we had to look for any undisclosed injuries,”) maintains that it is vitally important that the young players coming into the game keep up their academic learning as well. He also feels that as well as participating in multi-sports to develop all-round sporting abilities that at a young age too much emphasis is placed on winning as opposed to developing the athlete. As we ended our enlightening and informative conversation Feargal, who holds the Galway Bay 10 mile Championship and the Connacht 800 metre Senior Championship was setting off to Belfast to compete in the National Indoor Championships over 3000 metres. Never a dull moment for Galway United’s Fitness Guru!
*Winner of the 2007 Galway Bay 10, Fergal Geraghty beat all others completing the course in 58:49. www.galwaybay10.com