Friday 23 June 2017

'If Tony Kelly was shaking the tin they'd be throwing money at him' - Morey

Chloe Morey played in four All-Ireland minor finals in-a-row, including a replay in 2010, but lost them all. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Chloe Morey played in four All-Ireland minor finals in-a-row, including a replay in 2010, but lost them all. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Clare camogie sharp-shooter Chloe Morey started out her sporting career as a Trojan horse for Sixmilebridge's boys. She grew up playing on hurling teams with her brothers Caimin (26) and Alex (21) and first-cousin Seadna, who Is just 10 days older than her.

She grew up playing on hurling teams with her brothers Caimin (26) and Alex (21) and first-cousin Seadna, who’s just 10 days older than her.

“They were great to me, used to stick me in full-back which was a very good tactic because the poor cratur that was marking me probably though ‘Jeez I can’t touch her, she’s a girl!’” she chuckles.

“I didn’t even know there could be a girls’ team until the late stages of primary school when my godfather Flann McInerney set up juvenile camogie in our club.”

Her trademark stars ‘n’ stripes bandana even dates back to those early days.

“I don’t know what kind of a haircut my mother gave me but I had this fringe that was always getting in my way.

“She stuck a bandana on it and it worked. I had a yellow one first, but I was actually born in America and my uncle Fergus started bringing home four or five of them to me at a time.

“It’s not superstition or anything, it’s just way more comfortable but I can’t be wearing it now when I’m  30 or 40,” she laughs. “I’ll look like one of those old bikers!”

Morey’s light-hearted banter gives little inkling of her status in camogie or how seriously she takes it.

She was an Allstar nominee last year and has already won a third-level Allstar this year.

She played in four All-Ireland minor finals in-a-row, including a replay in 2010, but lost all.

In that time she was also ‘water-girl’ for their seniors when they lost the 2007 junior All-Ireland final to Derry and she started against Offaly a year later.

“I only played for the first 22 minutes. I was staring up at the Hogan Stand going ‘my good Lord, what am I doing here?’ and happy to go off if it meant winning, which we did.”

Clare haven’t been back to HQ since. They’re a Division One team who ran Tipp and Dublin close in this year’s league but a trouncing by Galway then underlined the leap they have still to make.

They have yet to match the senior breakthrough made by their hurling counterparts, with whom they are particularly tight.

“We’d be really close,” Morey (23) reveals. “We got to minor All-Irelands in the same year (2010) and we’d be really friendly with those lads especially.”

The hurlers’ start their championship campaign tomorrow (Sun) surrounded by understandable hype but few will notice when her team open against Offaly in a fortnight.

The disparity in their inter-county lives rattles even someone as chirpy as Morey.

She despairs that it’s still largely “family and parents” who go to their games and that they still have to walk the streets cap in hand.

“We still struggle with facilities and support, we’re constantly having to fundraise for basics like that.

“We were going around Ennis recently and people were quite coy about donating. I was there thinking ‘if Tony Kelly was out here with a collection tin they’d be throwing money at him!’

With no dressing rooms on their own pitch at present they train in Newmarket’, home to their manager Trish O’Grady.

Morey wonders why they don’t have access to the pitches at the men’s new training centre in Caherlohan, or even to their old one in Clareabbey, which they’ve requested.

But none of that, or even getting caught up in camogie's bizarre coin-toss debacle last year, can dampen her dedication or optimism.

“We’ve had a massive turnover of players in the last few years. Susan Vaughan and Eimear Considine are now playing rugby Sevens with Ireland and Naomi Carroll is also an Irish hockey player.

“But the younger girls are coming through and are way more skillful than I was at their age," she enthuses. "They’ve got the coaching and training we didn’t."

* *See more on the WGPA's latest #BehindThePlayer campaign, supported by Elverys Intersport, at www.wgpa.ie or on their Facebook page.

Irish Independent

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