Gráinne Egan of Offaly with the PwC GPA Women's Player of the Month in Camogie at Tullamore GAA club in Offaly.
Gráinne Egan of Offaly with the PwC GPA Women's Player of the Month in Camogie at Tullamore GAA club in Offaly.

Egan flourishing despite hectic schedule

By John Harrington

Being busy clearly suits Gráinne Egan.

The Offaly dual star yesterday won the inaugural PWC GPA Women’s Player of the Month awards for Camogie and has been a very prominent performer for the Offaly ladies football team too.

Combining both sports has been a challenge, but Egan has found a way to make it work.

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

“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.”

The debate about specialisation in sport can be a contentious one.

Pressure is increasingly being put on children at a young age to pick one sport to focus on rather than enjoy playing as many as possible.

Egan believes this is a mistake because her own experience as a dual player as well as what she sees with her eyes as a PE teacher has convinced her that playing multiple sports will improve your skill-set.

“Yeah, absolutely,” she says. “I only took up football when I moved up to Tullamore here. I was 21 when I got my first chance to play football. And it wasn't that I was too busy, there was no football at all around South Offaly/North Tipp.

“My camogie game changed massively when I started playing football. The way that I moved, the way that I looked for passes and gave passes changed completely and for the better, I'd like to think.

“I'm a PE teacher as well so I'm a strong proponent of playing everything as much as you can for as long as you can. Look at the kids in school, and it's the ones who are good at all the sports who go the furthest.

“It is obviously challenging and there will come a time when you have to choose. I'm stringing that out a bit longer than most. Hopefully kids will get that chance and will keep going with it. I'd like to think that in Offaly anyway that dual players will be still going and doing relatively okay.

“It might be something positive in future for those kids who are questioning can I keep going with it.”