Thursday 14 December 2017

Healy happy to mix it up

Variety spice of life for Blues ace who tunes into winning mentality on and off pitch

SATURDAY, July 9, 2011

It is all right there on YouTube, covered in a snapshot in time from the Oxegen Music Festival at Punchestown last year.

Ireland prop Cian Healy, otherwise known as DJ Church, has just finished playing to a heaving audience. A rambling interview ends with one simple question: What is the one word that would describe your set?

"Winning," says Healy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

It had to be. The Ireland and Leinster loose-head is all about the battle for that one yard at the scrum or either side of the gain line. If you can get momentum, you are on your way to a good day.

In fact, the Irish players were on their way out the dressing-room door at Stade de France when coach Declan Kidney sucked the energy right out of them by announcing the postponement last Saturday night.

"I was getting ready -- jersey on and about to go out. It was fairly deflating when we were told the game was off just as we were walking out the door. I would be well fired-up for it, but I wouldn't be banging my head off a wall," admits Healy.

Every player has his own way of preparing for and recovering from a match. This was an unusual situation, especially at international level.

"You've got to deal with it quickly and get on with it. I look at it as if we have played the French game. That is the way I do it mentally," he says.

"I just package it and put it aside. A few weeks from now I will open the package again and deal with it then. The only difference between playing and not playing is I'm not sore."

Healy plays ball like a bull in a china shop. It has always been that way since he followed a friend to Old Belvedere rugby club to see what all the 'malarkey' was about.

"I just asked one of my mates what he was doing one day. He said he was going to training. I didn't even know what rugby was. I went up for something to do and found out I could run through people.

"It was a match made in heaven. I had too much aggression and nowhere to put it. That is why I loved rugby in the first place. I was eight," he says.

The boy has grown into a man. And this man is part rugby player, part artist, part DJ Church. Rugby is his job. It is what he does, not what he is.

"I wouldn't like to be a complete rugby geek, have it as my whole life. I wouldn't like playing it if it was everything. It is nice to have a completely different getaway. I like my switch-off time.


"I wouldn't be like Johnny Sexton. He is a walking encyclopedia of rugby. He knows everything there is to know about the game," he says.

It is not just his team-mates that catch him off-balance with their knowledge of the game: "I am often out with my mates and they would tell me stuff about players or teams and I would stand there -- 'Really? Yeah? I didn't know about that'."

Healy reserves, at least, as much passion for his painting and music as he does for his rugby. Does he have an ambition to become a working artist when his body gives way?

"I don't know. It is something I like. I would have to build on it, pick up more skills. I wouldn't like to be a rugby player who paints and uses his name for it. I would want the work to stand up on its own merit," he states.

"I would want to believe in it. I wouldn't put out anything I wasn't pleased with. There are a few I have been happy about. I give those to mates.

"There are others I have done which I put a knife through at the end of them. I was always arty in school before I got into rugby. It has always been there."

The news that Italian tight-head Martin Castrogiovanni suffered a broken rib against England is new to Healy. He really does like to get away from it all.

"Really? We have a good old pop off each other. He has a sneaky move or two up his sleeve. It will be a blow alright for what he adds to their scrum and what he does around the park as well," he considers.

"Italy are Italy. They've got resources in that area. They will stick some brute in there in front of us. An Italian prop -- it is like moving a fridge. You can be bloody well guaranteed that every time."

Ireland must plan for four straight weeks of Six Nations combat. It can be a debilitating drain on energy and playing resources because Declan Kidney is not exactly one to rotate his players. It doesn't seem to bother Healy: "I like it. It comes down to personal preference. There is an opportunity to get momentum.


"Granted, if you take a bang, it doesn't leave you with the time you would want to recover. If you stay in good nick, it is a nice way to play your way into the rest of the competition."

There was always the possibility, even probability, that Ireland would have come away from Paris nursing the fallout from two defeats.

Instead, they have the time and space to plan the destruction of Italy in Dublin to give them the momentum to take back to the Stade de France.

Who knows? It could even be a blessing in disguise for this 'Church of Ireland'.

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