They are compromising other aspects of their lives to do so

GAA players can spend up to 31 hours a week on their senior inter-county commitments, compromising other aspects of their lives.

That’s just one of the findings of a new report from the ESRI, commissioned by the GAA and Gaelic Players Association, on the realities of being a player.

The report found that players, especially those over 30, compromised on their personal relationships and downtime.

Almost half of players don't get enough sleep - with higher injury rates among those getting 7 hours or less.

The report found that players' mental well-being is poorer than that of the general population, especially when compared to those of a similar age.

Head of the GPA and Limerick hurler, Seamas Hickey, says it’s tough: 'As I've gotten older it's gotten harder. My family has grown and I've found the commitments harder and harder. It's been harder to give all I can to GAA.

But it's not all bad; in spite of the time commitments, very few players cited 'too demanding' as their reason for quitting.

The research shows that the majority of 2016 players were glad they made the choice to play, identifying benefits including the opportunities to build leadership skills, self-confidence and professional connections.