TONY KELLY ENDED 2013 having helped Clare to team accolades with All-Ireland senior and U21 hurling wins.
On a personal level, his blistering form was recognised as he claimed an Allstar as well as both the ‘Hurler of the Year’ and ‘Young Hurler of the Year’ awards.
The level of commitment required to achieve such honours was highlighted in the Clare hurlers ‘Behind The Banner’ DVD.
Footage was shown of Clare’s pre-season training before the 2013 season which included punishing sessions in Broadford Hills and Cratloe Forest in Clare, and the Army camp in Kilworth in Cork. While Kelly is captured doing running sessions at 5am on Christmas Eve.
But the 20 year-old stresses that is par for course at elite inter-county level.
“It was Christmas Eve, you wouldn’t be long warming up running up that hill”, revealed Kelly. “It wasn’t too cold anyway. We ran 17 or 18 miles that morning. I did it earlier because I had to go to work but the other lads were coming in an hour or an hour and a half after me.
“I suppose a lot has been made of it because it came out on the DVD but most inter-county teams are doing early-morning sessions. Even talking to (Dublin footballer) Eoghan O’Gara there, he said he was up this morning at quarter to five so every inter-county team is at it.”
And after Clare returned last Sunday from their team holiday to Cancun, Kelly is relishing the chance to get back into a training regime for the 2014 season.
“Personally I can’t wait to get back into action and from speaking to a few of the lads they’re the same way. Being on a few trips you’re tired of travelling and just want to get back to basics and training and playing matches.
“A few of us tipped away in the gym on holiday but there were no hurleys brought so we were let do our own thing. The real training will start from this week on so it’ll be full throttle training from here on in now.”