Saturday 20 January 2018

Devane aims to seize Semple chance


Tipperary's Cáit Devane in action. Photo: Dáire Brennan / Sportsfile
Tipperary's Cáit Devane in action. Photo: Dáire Brennan / Sportsfile

Daragh Ó Conchúir

When Tipperary fell to an injury-time point by Wexford's Kate Kelly in last year's Liberty Insurance All-Ireland quarter-final, it was agonising after they had let an eight-point lead slip in the last 10 minutes.

Cáit Devane looked on helplessly, having been sidelined by a torn cruciate knee ligament injury suffered the previous September. It was tough missing out, having been a member of the panel since 2009, when she was a TY student.

"I took a bit of time when it happened to wallow and feel sorry for myself and then I decided not to let it define me," says Devane.

"One of the biggest things when you're out injured, (you miss) the playing but it's the social aspect. You're loving the buzz of playing and getting the best out of yourself with and against some of the best players in the country. But it's the friends you make. You might start out as enemies but the friends you make is massive. That was a real eye-opener to me, missing the dressing room, the camaraderie and I'm loving it being back with club and county."

The 24-year-old PE and Irish teacher at her own alma mater Pres Thurles was able to use tools picked up as one of a handful of elite Gaelic games players invited to participate in the Jim Madden Leadership Programme two years ago, to help her through the rehabilitation process.

"What I used was goal-setting. It gave me the skills to say I need to make short-term, medium-term and long-term goals," she reveals.

"With the injury, if you think of it as nine months all the time, you're going to be down in the dumps when you're learning to walk again, to single-leg hop and all that sort of thing. So setting weekly goals and monthly goals, and keeping them nice and basic and attainable, I felt that was really good.

"You can't dwell on the bigger picture too much. You have to break it down to bite-sized bits."

With the return of the gifted attacker, it was expected that Tipperary would find another level this year but they have yet to find consistency and were beaten by Cork in their championship opener.

"It's not the time to feel sorry for yourself," says Devane. "We're in the middle of the summer, only the first round played and we're conscious of not letting the summer pass us by. There's a lot of hurling to be played and we're hoping we can redeem ourselves in the remaining games."

That starts today against Limerick who have their backs to the wall after two defeats and it is a must-win game for them. In truth, the same would apply if Tipp were to lose. The fact that it is taking place in Semple Stadium sets it up for what could be a cracker.

"For both sides it's do-or-die but the heat of championship, that's what you look forward to as a camogie player. To have it on the big stage in Semple, before the senior hurlers is fantastic too. It's a massive opportunity. We're relishing the chance."

Irish Independent

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