West Ham United were the welcome guests of University College Cork (UCC) as their pre-season training continued in the Republic of Ireland.

The Hammers visited UCC's Mardyke Arena, where the players made use of the gyms and hydrotherapy suite and met a group of local schoolchildren.

The Arena, which is used by Sunday's pre-season opponents Cork City, the Cork Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and Swim Ireland, has more than 25,000 members drawn from UCC students and the local community.


On Thursday, the West Ham squad joined them, using the treadmills, exercise bikes and cross-trainers before utilising the gym and hydrotherapy pools.

Before the hard work began, though, the players posed for photographs with dozens of children attending a summer holiday sports course and captain Kevin Nolan presented the Hammers' new 2013/14 adidas home shirt to Mardyke Arena general manager Patsy Ryan.

Mardyke Arena

"We used the facilities at UCC for an active recovery session," explained fitness coach Eamon Swift. "The exercises the players did in the gym were all low-impact.

"They then went down to the gym, where the players did a metabolic circuit, which involves each individual doing a circuit containing short bouts of intense work followed by short rest periods, speeding up the burning of calories.

"The players also did some foam roller work to stretch and strengthen their muscles before using the hot and cold pools in the hydrotherapy suite to improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage."

Swift said the visit to UCC also served as a welcome change of scenery after two solid days of work at the Fota Island Resort.

"This is the first week of seven weeks of preparation and, rather than building their fitness quickly, we are going for a gradual progression through our pre-season planning.

"We have had two days on the pitch and this was a day of active recovery ahead of two more days on the pitch and another pitch session on the morning of our game at Cork City on Sunday, so this breaks it up."


Mardyke Arena

Mardyke Arena marketing manager Wayne Falvey said UCC were delighted to welcome the Hammers to use their first-class facilities.

"Since 2001, the Mardyke Arena has been the high-performance sports and fitness facility in Munster," said Falvey. "We have recently set up a partnership with the Fota Island Resort to provide high-quality training facilities for teams like West Ham United.

"We are regularly visited by elite athletes from across Ireland and further afield, but West Ham are the first club to visit since we signed the partnership."

Aside from the facilities used by the Hammers, the Mardyke Arena offers a wide range of services for professional and amateur clubs and individuals, including physiotherapy, performance analysis and a rehabilitation clinic.

For more details about UCC's Mardyke Arena, click here.