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Thursday 14 December 2017

Blues hoping for a change of fortune

THAT silken silversmith, John Troy, is now managing the Offaly camogie team. The genial centre half-forward won two All-Irelands with the famed Offaly side of the '90s.

He has taken over from another favourite Faithful son, Joachim Kelly, who achieved wonders in his stint in charge. "Joachim was manager for four years and we got to three All-Ireland finals, so that was a pretty good return," remarks Offaly captain, Elaine Dermody.

Kelly's heroes made a rapid rise through the ranks. He made them drink from a bottle called belief. "We won the All-Ireland junior and intermediate titles, so that meant a very sudden progression to senior level. It was a terrific achievement by all concerned.

"Maybe last year we were caught out a bit in our first year at senior grade, but hopefully the experience we gained over the season will stand to us."

Offaly, having lost to Galway last Saturday, visit O'Toole Park next Saturday. "We were lucky enough to beat Dublin in the league in Tullamore. We'll hope for the same result, but it won't be easy against the Dubs."

Outstanding

Having two such Offaly icons giving their time to camogie has been a huge lift to the sport. Growing up, Elaine admired the class of Brian Whelehan and DJ Carey. "You'd go out to try and copy them, but it rarely worked," she smiles. "When I began to watch camogie on the television, Deirdre Hughes and Noelle Kennedy were big favourites of mine. I loved the way they played the game. Today, there are some outstanding players on different teams.

"You only have to look to Wexford and to the likes of the Leacys, Ursula Jacob, Katrina Parrock, players like that. Every team has its stars."

Elaine would love to see more people on the terraces applauding their deeds. "In Offaly, we are getting better support all the time.

"The kids are really keen and they ask their parents to bring them along.

"But, overall, the profile is not what it should be. Team sport for women doesn't in general enjoy a high profile, be it ladies football, hockey or whatever sport. It would be nice to see that change, but over time that may happen."

In the meantime, Elaine is chuffed to be wearing the captain's armband for the second year. "I hope I can do the role justice," she says. Nobody has any doubts on that score for the esteemed Elaine of Troy.

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