Saturday 3 December 2016

Flannery expects 'tough' battle

Published 09/07/2016 | 02:30

Siobhan Flannery is hoping Offaly can upset the odds
Siobhan Flannery is hoping Offaly can upset the odds

There's a lot at stake when Limerick and Offaly meet in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland championship in Kilmallock today.

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It's the penultimate round of the group stages and, depending on the result, and those elsewhere, the winners could secure an All-Ireland quarter-final spot.

The odds are against Offaly, who have to travel and had their confidence rattled by a 15-point defeat to Cork last time out.

But their top scorer Siobhan Flannery, 25, is not fazed by going against the grain, either in sport or her career. When she initially 'passed out' in the army, just five of her 43-soldier platoon were females.

The ratio of women to men in her speciality, and also at the Air Corps in Baldonnel where she moved recently, is similarly skewed.

"I did a few years of civil engineering before I joined and have just finished training in electronic engineering," she says. "My rank is pilot but officially my title now is 'airwoman'.

"But we're all treated exactly the same. You're not a man or a woman, you're in the army," she says of a career she heartily recommends.

"There's countless opportunities to do different courses and I will have to go overseas at some point in the future. It's part of our contract but that's a massive opportunity too and one most people wouldn't get through their work. Obviously I'd like not to miss too much camogie when I go."

The last month has been hectic between work, camogie and finishing her three-year course in Carlow IT but she's out the other side of exams now and hoping to drive Offaly on Adrian Clancy, from her home club St Rynagh's, took over as manager this year and her first cousins include former Offaly captain David Kenny.

Flannery is also a star footballer and captained Offaly's ladies to All-Ireland junior glory in 2013. She's also one of almost a dozen current players, led by captain Michaela Morkan, who led Offaly to junior and intermediate camogie All-Irelands in 2009-'10 and detects a new levelling out in the county game.

"Cork are still up there. We thought we might be able to put it up to them until their experience really showed. But I think everyone else has improved. Limerick are going to be tough. They also beat us in last year's championship so we're hoping to get them back for that."

Siobhan Flannery features in the WGPA's 'Be You-Belong' campaign. For more see www.wgpa.ie

Irish Independent

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