‘It’s the first time in a long time there’s been a bit of a buzz around Offaly GAA’

GRÁINNE EGAN’S SCHEDULE is currently, as she puts it, ‘hectic’.

The Offaly dual star is coming off the back of a superb month, with her exploits leading her to winning the inaugural PwC GPA Women’s Player of the Month award for camogie. It’s been hard earned. 

“Monday was my only day off for a couple of weeks which was a bit mad, but I was managing it,” Egan explains. 

“I was at training every day but they were sound enough to say that, ‘look, you’re not doing sprints here’ or ‘you should manage it a bit there’.

“Saturday nights were a bit mad. I was going to the local shop and getting bags of ice so I could make a homemade ice-bath that I could get into for a while before a hot shower. I was just trying to do everything I could to try and recover.

“I think it’s just about being smart about it. And, like I said, management are really good and they’re balancing it very well for me so that takes a bit of pressure off. I couldn’t imagine trying to do this if there was any opposition or if people were going, ‘this isn’t a good idea, you shouldn’t be doing this’. That would be very difficult. 

“There are two of us as well, Roisín Egan is doing both too. So that makes it a bit easier as well, that you’re not on your own stepping out of the runs and that. But, yeah, Monday is my day off to sleep for the day.”

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Egan was an obvious choice for May’s player of the month award, hitting the headlines when she scored 3-5 for the Faithful in their win over Dublin – adding 1-8 against Carlow for the footballers 24 hours later.

“It’s funny because the matches which have got attention over the last few weeks, in my mind, wouldn’t have been great matches [for me],” she says.

“Taking the frees and that does help a little bit in terms of the end result. It looks better on paper. I wouldn’t have been too happy with my own game. I was lucky in the Dublin game that I got on the end of some well-worked stuff from the other girls.

“I still want to work more on pin-pointing passes. That’s something we’ve pointed to ourselves in Offaly camogie that we need to work on more. When we come up against the likes of Kilkenny, every pass from them is pinpoint accurate. We’re looking to get to that level, we’re not quite there.”

Egan scored 3-5 in Offaly’s win over Dublin last month.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

While there is plenty of room for improvement for Offaly, it’s been a hugely positive month for the county as a whole, with one memorable weekend seeing all four senior teams – the men’s hurlers and footballers, and the ladies football and camogie teams – winning in the league. 

Egan says that feel-good factor is tangible within the county.

We have the Faithful Fields out the road which is the centre of excellence and for the first time now, all four teams are training in there. So there is that bit of a buzz. You’re walking out and you’re passing Michael Fennelly and all the boys as they’re training, and you’re on the pitch right beside them. The U20s are training there, who have a Leinster final coming up, and then the minor hurlers. There is a bit of a buzz. It’s the first time in a long time there’s been a bit of a buzz around Offaly GAA as a whole.

“You know, the weekend we won both matches, the camogie and the football, the men won as well, (Shane) Lowry was going well, and there was kind of that – Jesus, Offaly are coming back. 

“So hopefully it keeps going. The hurlers are after getting promotion now, the footballers are going well. Camogie, unfortunately we’ve slipped a little bit but if we can pull it back for championship it would be great for us.”

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Speaking shortly after being named the player of the month winner in camogie, Egan said she’d love to see less differentiation between the men’s and women’s games going forward.

It’s funny, a lot of trainers that we would have come in to us are hurling trainers, and they’d often say ‘come on lads’ or ‘we’re going hurling’, and then they’d correct themselves and say ‘sorry, camogie.’ And it’s something that always annoys me, because in my head, and I think for anyone who plays, it is hurling, and we’re going out hurling and it’s great hurling and whatever it is. 

“I don’t think that differentiation comes from the players anyway. I think we all want to be moving in that way.

“The GPA coming together has been massive already. It’s visible and it’s only going in the right direction, so if we can keep it going you would love to see them coming together and get rid of the skorts and start just trying to bring them closer. 

“Changing the rules as well this year, the physicality in camogie has gone right up, which is great. It’s made it more enjoyable to play, it’s more enjoyable to watch. Hurling is nearly going the other way, but that’s a different conversation. 

“But it’s much more enjoyable and hopefully we can keep going, keep making those changes and keep modernising it.”  

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