Johnny Coen delighted to be back in action
By Cian O’Connell
Johnny Coen has spent more than a decade operating for Loughrea so is well aware that things can change quickly in the competitive environs of the Brooks Group Galway Senior Hurling Championship.
On July 24 in the opening game Corribside Tommy Larkins outfoxed Loughrea, who have responded in impressive fashion stitching a three match winning sequence together.
Ultimately it means Loughrea are now busy preparing for a county semi-final against an emerging Turloughmore.
“I think in the first game it is about getting out of the blocks early; that is key, but unfortunately we didn't get to the tempo of the game at all,” Coen reflects.
“Larkins really threw everything at us and on the day we just weren't up to it. Thankfully we have circled the wagons a small bit, we had two good results in the group and another good result last week so we are happy enough.”
Following four months inactivity Coen is simply thrilled to be involved in fixtures for Loughrea. “Exactly, throughout the lockdown you'd be thinking what way can you keep your mind active, “Coen admits.
“I suppose we've been training and hurling since we were eight or nine years of age. That is all you want to do. Thankfully are still in the Championship, we have lots of games played and we hope to have a few more.
“I think it is great because during the Covid and lockdown period all you wanted to do was play a bit of hurling.
“When it actually started the games came thick and fast. So it has been really good and we have had a run at it for the last while.”
Another source of encouragement is the fact that Coen was able to concentrate on Loughrea duties ahead of the resumption of inter-county fare.
The split season has plenty to offer according to the 2017 All Ireland SHC medal winner. “I think in the previous structure having the two games in April and then having a full break it didn't really work for anyone as such,” Coen remarks.
“You were putting a little bit of emphasis on the club scene and then not putting too much during the summer.
"You were focusing on the inter-county Championship, but I think this time you are fully invested in your clubs. You give everything to the club at that particular time.
“I think it has been a very exciting Championship, the standard has been really high. I think if it was something we could look at going forward, a lot of players and management would appreciate it, I'd say.”
A secondary school teacher in St Brigid’s, Loughrea, Coen acknowledges these are challenging times, but that it is important that educational facilities are open once more.
“It isn't too bad, at the end of the day people's safety is paramount,” Coen comments. “As teachers we are trying to facilitate learning, but also trying to make sure that the student feels safe in the environment we are creating.
“You have certain procedures, we are making sure we are wearing masks, sanitising desks and hands, washing hands regularly, stuff like that.
“I think at this stage it is good for everyone to be back, to have that bit of continuity and regularity in people's lives too. It is only a positive really.”