Clare begin their Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie campaign this Saturday against Offaly, Aoife Griffin is sick and tired of the talk surrounding the potential of the team.
Speaking to The Clare Herald, Griffin took motivation from the popular 2000 Moloko hit as she declared ‘the time is now’ for Clare to deliver after some below par displays in recent seasons.
“I mean look it, it is very disappointing the last two years and I think everyone’s talking about our potential the whole time and I think now we just know that it doesn’t mean jack to have potential, you have to actually act on it. I think everyone’s sick about hearing what we can do, now we want to actually do it, we want to go out and prove a point, I think that there’s a very different group here now than there were in the last couple of years, I mean really we’ve lost a lot of players who would have been leaders and senior players over the while but there’s a lot of leaders after coming into the mix now and a lot of younger girls and it’s great to have such a youthful team aswell so I think that we just have to act on the potential that everybody knows we have”.
Aoife first joined the panel in 2008 and due to an intense competition for places and a back injury she is fearful she won’t be handed a starting jersey this Saturday.
“Being injured the last few weeks I’m very worried about my place if I’m honest, which is a great thing, it’s brilliant to have that battle going on for places and the girls that have come in have really really impressed, there’s a serious group of young players from not just minor even sixteens and even younger than that, I was involved in the development camps at Easter and the talent that’s coming through there is absolutely phenomenal so I think that in the years to come we’re only going to get stronger and stronger but it is definitely getting very tough to get a place on this team which is brilliant”.
Several people across the country bemoaned the obstacles put in the path of Irish students applying for a J1 visa but not Aoife Griffin who is grateful for the difficulties as it is leaving Clare’s Senior Camogie team in a strong place.
“Well thankfully they made it more difficult to go on a J1 now so we’re not losing as many players” she laughed. “Ah no look at, it’s great to have everyone around, I suppose there’s always a bit of nerves when you hear about J1’s and holidays and things coming up like that, it’s nice this time of the year looking at having championship in the next three weeks and seeing the amount of people you have at training and knowing everyone’s going to be here it is brilliant and it’s rare to find that, that’s a big change from the last few years”.
Patricia O’Grady is in her first year as Clare manager, Griffin feels the former Clare netminder’s relationship with selectors Flan McInerney and Brian Enright is creating a energy and enthusiasm in the setup.
“I think there’s a nice core group there and they do work very well together, I think their personalities mesh very nicely together but with Trish she’s very direct but I think you need that at this level you can’t really mess around or sugar coat anything, if something’s not working you need to know it’s not working and you need to know where to go from there and Trish is very direct and is well able to let you know that. Brian’s is a similarish approach but I suppose far more hands on when it comes to training and then Flan’s very technical with certain things and he’ll really help you improve your game so I think it’s a really combined power that they all have with it, it’s not really one direct person obviously Trish is the manager but it’s very much group work that goes on in terms of management itself”.
A key member of the Newmarket-on-Fergus Senior side, Aoife is the proud holder of four County Championship medals. Winning with her club makes the student teacher more determined to achieve with her County, for the commitment being put in, Griffin is adamant one must be striving for success otherwise they’re wasting their time.
“It’s definitely not nice to lose I’ll say that, I have to say you’re far more bitter when things don’t go your way and it does make you hungrier and I think that’s great, there’s no point in going out to play if you’re not trying to win and that might sound a little bit not cocky but you have to have that attitude, there’s really no point in playing at this level if it’s just for fun and nothing else, obviously it’s fun but you have to be serious about it aswell, you don’t give up your life, your social life and everything if you’re just going out to have the craic, you have to be in it to win it”
With such a big commitment being put in by inter-county players in all codes, Aoife acknowledges the support of her employers but says it is a big sacrifice to make that is made all the worthwhile when you win.
“This year in particular I’m really feeling it, full-time in college, I’m working full-time, we’ve got club and we’ve got county, I’m really feeling the pressure this year, it is very difficult but you just have to prioritise things and make sacrifices, luckily being part of so many teams all your friends play with teams aswell they play camogie so they know what the story they understand the level of commitment it takes, family are very understanding aswell. I’m really lucky that my work are very understanding and then with college camogie is nearly a bonus as someone who’s studying to become a secondary school teacher. It is definitely a sacrifice but you’re happy to make it”.