Darragh Lohan has hurled with his club Wolfe Tones at all levels since stepping up to the senior grade last year. His sporting dream is to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Gus, who played with Clare in the legendary 1977-78 national league winning team, and his two All-Star uncles Brian and Frank, who achieved All Ireland success with the county in 1995 and 1997.
Darragh was denied a place in this year’s Clare Minor panel after a rule in January change lowered the age for inter-county football and hurling to 17 and he found himself just over the limit.
Unfortunately, it so happened that Darragh sustained a serious injury during a club game. Subsequently, he was diagnosed with three high-grade ligament tears in his ankle.
Many athletes require surgical intervention, in Darragh’s case doctors advised that recovery time would take around 12 weeks, which effectively would have kept him out of hurling for the summer.
However, some sound advice from another Wolfe Tones clubman changed all that. Noel Marshall is the inventor of the Backballer, a revolutionary fitness product that is taking the world of sport by storm.
A keen distance runner and cyclist, Noel has also trained Wolfe Tones U16 hurlers but is perhaps better known as the inventor of the Bricky, a handy tool for DIY brick and block-laying and, more recently the Backballer which he produces and sells from offices in Smithstown Industrial Estate, Shannon.
Since bringing the Backballer to market, Noel has sold more than 20,000 units in his first year of production and the device has been heartily endorsed by many professional athletes and household names.
Among these are Sonia O’Sullivan, Man Utd star Angel Gomez, Liverpool’s Mo Saleh, Jenny Meadows the world and European 800m medallist, Leinster and Ireland rugby star Rob Henshaw, Munster’s Keith Earls, Kerry All Stars Colm Cooper and Kieran Donaghy to name just a few.
Barcelona legend and Argentina world cup star Lionel Messi has a Backballer, so too has the Manchester City football team, Wigan Athletic FC and Olympic athletes including Britain’s Richard Kilty the world 60m champion and Paul Chelimo, silver medallist with the USA.
After learning of Darragh’s injury, Noel approached the young hurler with the offer of a Backballer to help in his recovery. Darragh set out a regular schedule to use the Backballer for 20 minutes a day and stuck to it diligently.
Within a very short time, he began to feel the benefits and it was nothing short of a miracle when he reported back to Wolfe Tones for training after just four weeks despite being told by doctors that recovery could take three months. Commenting on his speedy recovery, Darragh said, “I just can’t recommend the Backballer enough.”
Noel Marshall is all too aware of the extent that many of our young sports stars are falling victim to serious injury. He believes that this may be due to a slight over-emphasis on strength training which leads to a tightening of muscles.
For longevity in top-level hurling, Noel believes that players require core strength and agility. To achieve this, today’s high-intensity training regimes must achieve a balance between strength and conditioning to allow time for the body to repair and rebuild itself. Regular use of the Backballer can help in this regard.
Just this month Noel has introduced a refined and improved version of Backballer with ridged rollers making it even better than ever for whole body treatment.
Don’t just take our word for it. Jo Pavey, the physiotherapist and 5-times Olympian, believes Backballer is a must for every serious athlete while internationally renowned Limerick physical therapist Gerard Hartman, who works with some of the world’s best athletes, thinks it is one of the best products for sports people.