Kilkenny hurler Ritchie Hogan has decided to take a break from his teaching career to focus on his hurling career.
Hogan who works at Belgrove NS in Clontarf, Dublin, left his role as a teacher last Easter to focus on his inter-county career. Hogan who has been living off his savings from the previous seven years as well as taking on a part-time job with a teacher-recruitment company.
Hogan follows in the footsteps of Waterford coach, Derek McGrath, who also made the same choice as Hogan has made to temporarily leave his profession. Hogan is also seemingly in no rush to give up his new-found role as a full-time hurler, as stated in a recent interview with the GAA’s official website.
“I kind of flirted with the idea of job-sharing in school so you have a bit of income coming in, but, for or me, it’s not even about money at all,” says Hogan
“There’s some people who need money who like to be able to live that lifestyle and focus on their career and that’s hugely important and the GPA are doing a huge amount of work on that.
“But it’s just not that important to me. I remember saying to one of these life coaches, ‘If I play to the age of 35 and get absolutely everything out of myself I will gladly sweep the streets for the next 50 years.’ It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.
“But I’m lucky in the sense that I’m a teacher, I’m qualified, I can go and get a job whenever I want so it shouldn’t be that difficult if I ever decide to go back.”
Hogan has been suffering from a chronic back injury which was ultimately why he has made this decision. A combination of long days on his feet at work followed by a drive to Kilkenny for training was putting his body under strain leaving him incapable of performing at his best, and ultimately that’s what convinced him to step away from his teaching job.
““Travelling was a big thing as well around that time. It was tough. It would depress you doing it.
“Travelling home, getting out of the car and you’re so broke up after it. I just love training. I can’t do the Michael Fennelly thing of take it easy, get it right at a slow pace.
“For my own head I’m not able to do that. I love to be able to train. I’d walk from Dublin to training I just love it so much. I can’t do that thing that he does. It becomes a bit of a head thing.
“Since I stepped away from it it’s just been absolutely brilliant. I like to be able to do hurling every day. I used to do the gym sessions in the morning so I’d go to DCU and I’d do the gym session at maybe quarter past six and then go to work.
“And I’d do my hurling in the evening and then on a training day I’d travel home.
“Now I’m able to recover properly so I don’t have to go to the gym at six o’clock in the morning, I can go to the gym at nine o’clock and take that break in the afternoon and then do my bit of hurling and then do a bit of yoga, core-work and work like that.
“It just makes a huge difference. And I’m at the age where, look, I’m 28, I have to look after myself properly. That’s my highest priority.”