Max Lally reflects on IMMAF gold medal victory: ‘I was picturing myself on top of the podium’

Lally
Mandatory Credit: IMMA

Recently-minted IMMAF Youth World Championships gold medalist, Max Lally has reflected on his tournament victory against compatriot, Jordan Scully in Bulgaria last weekend — claiming that when he first stepped foot into the venue, he had visualized himself standing atop the podium at the culmination of the event. 

Lally, who celebrated his 18th. birthday this week, earned a gold medal in the men’s welterweight category against Straight Blast Gym Tullamore trainee, Scully — submitting his gym stablemate with an opening round armbar with just over a minute and a half elapsed in the first frame. 

The victory capped off a splendid weekend for the SBG Charlestown and SBG Naas trainee, who had lodged prior successes against Billie Merreighn, Danil Kaputsin, and Hod Maman en route to his finale clash with team Ireland teammate, Scully. 

27 athletes ranging from the ages of 12 to 17 traveled to Sofia to compete in the weekend-long event, with former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, Conor McGregor sponsoring the team Ireland’s travel arrangements, accommodation, and entry fees for each competitor and the accompanying coaches. 

Reflecting on his victory over the weekend, Lally appearing on The Energized Show with Ross Cadwell and Barry Moore, where he explained how he had suffered a broken foot just a month prior to the event.

I went over (to Bulgaria) with the intentions of winning (gold),” Lally said. “I put my expectations up to that level. I feel like I’ve been around the block — I’ve been doing the sport, nearly nine years now, I’ve been doing it since I was a young fella, you know what I mean like? I really fell short, lots and lots of times before this. And I kinda, really put my foot down — training almost, two sessions every day, Monday to Saturday, and I really put my foot — I don’t think I’ve trained as much for anything in my life because I had that expectation of bringing a gold medal back.” 

It felt really good to do that, really good,” Lally explained. “But I did have a few challenges put in front of me. I actually broke my foot in June, and I had to go — I was training on a broken foot for a few weeks, I had to get a cortisone shot put into it and just continue training but it was — the mindset in my head was like, this is my time, you know what I mean? You’ve been at this long enough now, you need to grab this by the scruff of the neck and I feel like that’s what I done (sic).

Upon landing at the venue in Sofia, Lally explained how through the process of visualisation, he pictured himself standing at the top of the podium when the event would be over.

Even when I got there, it was almost like, I was like fascinated, and I was looking at the podium — I was picturing myself on top of the podium. I was almost visualising everything that I was doing and this was like the day — I only got there on the Wednesday and I was fighting on the Sunday. On the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday — all them days, I was just visualising myself on the podium. I was visualising myself submitting people and beating people and walking around the cage.

On the day of the fight, it was like, ‘Okay, at the end of the day, you’re gonna be on top of that podium by the end of the day.’” Lally explained. “And I just believed in myself that much, that I couldn’t even talk — I wasn’t even talking to anyone, everyone was just looking at me like, ‘Who’s this fella?’

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