Cilléin Groom is an up-and-coming strongman from Galway in western Ireland. He has been the runner-up at Ireland’s Strongest Man in 2021 and 2022 and is best known in the strength community for his prowess in the deadlift, a lift he has been close to setting the national record in, and in which he is truly world class.
Growing up, Cilléin was keen to test his strength and began lifting weights at 14 to help with his rugby. Eddie Hall’s documentary greatly inspired him as did the sight of Terry Hollands pulling a plane at World’s Strongest Man. When he is not training or competing, Cilléin works as a personal trainer.
Like so many other top ranked strongmen, Cilléin is a former rugby player, having played for 10 years at Ballina RFC before switching to lifting. He stopped playing aged 19 and was inspired to begin competing in strongman through his sister, Danielle, herself an Irish champion strongwoman. Cilléin recalls watching her pulling a truck and thinking “if my sister can do this, then so can I!”
Groom entered and placed 3rd in his first contest, aged 20 and from that point onwards was fully committed to strongman. In 2019 he made his first appearance at Ireland’s Strongest Man where he placed 9th, failing to qualify for the second day. A year later he finished 5th, managing an event win in the Sandbag Carry. In both 2021 and 2022, Cilléin was able to place 2nd, behind the 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man runner-up, Pa O’Dwyer and Shaun Diver.
Qualifying for a spot at UK’s Strongest Man in 2022, Cilléin managed to place in a highly creditable 4th. Lying in 2ndcoming into the final event, the Irishman’s feet were slipping during the Flag Hoist, and he lost out narrowly to Louis Jack and Gavin Bilton, who claimed the second and third podium spots behind England’s Paul Smith.
In June 2022, Groom finished 4th at his first international strongman contest – UK’s Strongest Man – held in Milton Keynes. Showing no sign of being over-awed by the occasion, Cilléin performed solidly, taking =2nd place in the Squat for Reps, 3rd in the Sandbag to Shoulder and 4th in the Arm-Over-Arm Pull.
Despite a very satisfactory result in the biggest competition of his career up to that point, it was a case of “what might have been,” for Cilléin, who, if not for some technical issues with his footwear in the Flag Hoist, may have finished the contest in 2nd overall.
Cilléin will be representing Ireland at the 2023 Britain’s Strongest Man contest on 28th January, in Sheffield’s Utilita Arena. Having proven he can mix it in competition with the likes of Gavin Bilton, Groom will be keen to show what he’s capable of in Sheffield.
Less immediate goals include qualifying for World’s Strongest Man and potentially setting a new Irish Record in the deadlift. The current record of 440kg (970lb) is held by James Hickey, which was also a Master’s world record at the time.
In October 2022, Cilléin came close to setting a record of 441kg (972lb), but the bar refused to come past his knees, and he had to be content with a personal best of 410kg (904lb). He will be attempting a lift of 445kg (981lb) in February of 2023.
Cilléin’s performance at Britain’s Strongest Man will be aired on Channel 5 over the Christmas holiday as part of the Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour broadcast.
Fans of Cilléin can keep up with his training, competing, and general comings and goings through his social media accounts, though he confesses to not posting enough. He can be found on Instagram as @cg_strongman and has a YouTube channel – Groom Strength.