Having served as a selector to the past two Clare managements, Trish O’Grady is now in the hotseat as manager of the flagship camogie team in the County, she’s loving her new role.
Speaking to The Clare Herald, O’Grady admitted she’s very fond of the extra responsibility that comes with being the boss. “I’m loving it actually it’s great, I know I’ve been involved for the last four or five years it is that little bit different when you’re manager there is that extra responsibility but I’m enjoying the responsibility and I feel I’m getting a great response from the squad”.
Sixteen members of the Clare squad are teenagers so it’s clear the Newmarket-on-Fergus woman is putting her trust in the youth of the County. She says it’s very important to do so and it has been neglected somewhat in the past. Of the younger members she tips Doireann Murphy, Laura Foley and Roisin Begley to feature in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Championship.
“I think there was a reluctance at times that people think that players are too young and that doesn’t sit well with me, I actually think that if a player shows flair and they’re managed correctly and introduced and blooded and it will be a learning curve for them I think you give them exposure at an early age as to what is the requirements, they’ll learn from the older players and the experience they get outside on the field. Bringing a seventeen year old into a senior squad to me I wouldn’t anyway desist from that, it’ll help them and it’ll help camogie in the long run”.
A former goalkeeper with her County, Trish says that learning is extremely important for managers. “A leopard never changed its spots, if you’re not learning you’re of no benefit to a team so I just think irrespective of what role you take you should be learning all the time whether you’re learning about your own which is most beneficial or learning about the opposition.
“I just think that if you play to your own strengths it’ll bring you a long way towards winning a championship as opposed to focusing on the other teams. I suppose a lot of what I’ve been instrumental in doing this year has been putting a focus on our younger players and bringing on our minors and introducing them into the squad and albeit that it’s probably an introduction there’s a lot of them that are showing form that I do think will put pressure on so-called established players, there’s a lot to be said for going in cold and finding out the hard way and seeing how they’ll respond, there’s an old adage there that sport builds character I actually don’t believe that sport reveals character you either have it or you don’t”.
She feels that Clare have the potential to “go all the way” but quickly adds “We’re only looking at Offaly, we have five championship games in a row but we can’t look beyond Offaly at this stage and if we start doing the maths before we play the games and hoping that we’ll beat this one and mightn’t beat this one or we’ll win all our home games and see what happens with the away games, I don’t believe in doing the maths beforehand, I believe in taking each game as it comes looking for a win in every game. Offaly is what we’re looking for and if we get a win that will probably give us a little momentum going into our second game”.
At senior inter-county level, Trish has worked as a selector alongside John Carmody and Colm Honan. She has been influenced by their style of coaching and player management but is hopeful they would have learned just as much from her.
“Everyone has their own way of training teams, we’ll say John Carmody had huge experience, Colm Honan both as a player and a coach, you take up little bits and pieces and you learn how to deal with people, from my perspective I would have mostly been involved in coaching and Brian Enright has come in to add some freshness and Flan and they have invaluable contributions made to camogie. I suppose I’m sitting back a little bit and being the people person. John and Colm have given great service to Clare Camogie and I’ve learned with them and I’m hoping they learned a bit from me too”.
As someone who played the sport to a very high level, since her retirement O’Grady feels the game has changed and not necessarily for the better.
“I think the pace of the game has got a lot faster, having said that I think it’s a less physical game and I think that we need to bring more physicality into games, there’s technical fouls and then there’s people being fouled for misdemeanours as I’d consider them, it is a contact sport, it is a physical game and I think from watching matches over the last few years they’re taking the physicality out of the game, I’m not saying it should be overly-physical but within reason it would make it more competitive. Align it with hurling is really what I’m saying”.
Clare commence their Liberty Insurance All-Ireland campaign this evening at 17:15 in Sixmilebridge.